Insomnia May Cost Less to Treat Than to Ignore
March 29, 2007 -- Untreated insomnia creates a “significant economic burden” through missed work and medical expenditures, according to a new study in the medical journal Sleep. Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. population is estimated to suffer from chronic insomnia.
The study concluded that insomnia costs employers roughly 4.4 days of wages per untreated individual over a period of six months, and this is just from the direct costs. The study did not look at the added impact of indirect costs such as accident rates or lost productivity. However, even taking only the direct costs into account, it appears that it would be cost-effective for businesses to motivate their employees to seek treatment early.
In addition, patients who were eventually diagnosed with insomnia tallied significantly higher medical expenses than people without insomnia, which also supports the argument for early formal treatment, to avoid unnecessary medical expenditures.
The Institute of Medicine report Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem examines a wide variety of sleep disorders and discusses the health consequences of insomnia such as increased tension, depression, and confusion, as well as its economic consequences. The report also draws attention to the fact that there is a general lack of public awareness regarding sleep-related health care and recommends that the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other appropriate organizations to launch a national public education campaign to promote better sleep habits and improved health.