We all know sleep deprivation takes a toll on our health, but what about the economic cost? New research from RAND Corp. shows that lack of sleep costs the U.S. economy $411 billion each year—that’s a 2.28 percent hit to the GDP.

Woman sleeping in a bed in the dark

RAND said this cost is primarily due to productivity losses, an estimated 1.23 million missed working days per year and a 10 percent increased risk of mortality as a result of lost sleep.

For a look at the economic toll sleep deprivation takes on the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Japan, see the full RAND Corp. article: “Americans Don’t Sleep Enough, and It’s Costing Us $411 Billion.”

Simple changes to sleep duration can make a big difference, RAND said, noting that if Americans who sleep less than six hours a night increase their nightly sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy.

How can you encourage employees to get enough sleep?

McKinsey & Co. offered some sleep-management tips in its February report “The Organizational Cost of Insufficient Sleep.” Among them:

  • Allow employees traveling on business to take an earlier plane (rather than a “red eye” flight) to get a good night’s sleep before an important meeting.
  • To keep the business working 24/7, create “tag teams” of employees who seamlessly hand over the reins to other teams in different time zones at the end of their shifts.
  • Impose blackout times on work emails, when practical—perhaps from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Invest in napping rooms or pods. A short nap of 10-30 minutes can improve alertness and performance for up to two and a half hours.