The cost of poor sleep: workplace productivity loss and associated costs

J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Jan;52(1):91-8. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181c78c30.


Objective: To assess the impact of sleep disturbances on work performance/productivity.

Methods: Employees (N = 4188) at four US corporations were surveyed about sleep patterns and completed the Work Limitations Questionnaire. Respondents were classified into four categories: insomnia, insufficient sleep syndrome, at-risk, and good sleep. Employer costs related to productivity changes were estimated through the Work Limitations Questionnaire. Performance/productivity, safety, and treatment measures were compared using a one-way analysis of variance model.

Results: Compared with at-risk and good-sleep groups, insomnia and insufficient sleep syndrome groups had significantly worse productivity, performance, and safety outcomes. The insomnia group had the highest rate of sleep medication use. The other groups were more likely to use nonmedication treatments. Fatigue-related productivity losses were estimated to cost $1967/employee annually.

Conclusions: Sleep disturbances contribute to decreased employee productivity at a high cost to employers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyssomnias / complications*
  • Dyssomnias / epidemiology
  • Efficiency*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology