The Economic Cost of Inadequate Sleep in Australia

08 Jun The Economic Cost of Inadequate Sleep in Australia

Sleep loss, poor sleep and sleep disorders have a profound effect on health and wellbeing and also affect performance at work.  Poor sleep also burdens the medicare system as medical consultations, investigations and treatments come at a cost to the government and to the patient.

A recent publication in the journal of sleep has estimated the cost (both financial and nonfinancial) of inadequate sleep in Australia for the 2016-2017 financial year.

Analysis was performed on national surveys and databases.

Costs considered included: Nonfinancial costs of wellbeing as well as financial costs associated with healthcare, productivity losses, nonmedical work and vehicle accident costs, deadweight loss through inefficiencies relating to lost taxation revenue and welfare payments.

The estimated overall cost of inadequate sleep in Australia for FY 2016/17 was $45.21 billion.


$17.88 billion was financial cost which represents 1.55% of the Australian GDP and comprised of:

$160 million for sleep disorders and $1.08 billion for associated conditions.

$12.12 billion in productivity losses ($5.22 billion in reduced employment, $1.73 billion in absenteeism, $4.63 billion in presenteeism, 0.61 billion in premature death)

$2.48 billion in nonmedical accident costs.

Informal care costs of $0.41 billion and deadweight loss of $1.56 billion.


A further $27.33 billion estimated in nonfinancial cost of reduced well-being represents 4.6 % of the total Australian burden of disease for the year.


This significant cost to the patient and the healthcare system reinforces the importance of getting adequate sleep and education to help prevent the onset of sleep disorders and ensure good sleep practice.