Feeling sleep-deprived? You’re costing Australia $66 billion because of it

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger – this breaking health study says so.
Doc from Snow White and The Seven Dwarves

Ever felt so tired that you could fall asleep at your desk/wheel of your car/mid-dinner/mid-Bachelor even though you’re far from bed time?

Well, similar to 33 and 45 per cent of Aussies who have poor sleep patterns, there’s a chance you could be suffering from sleep deprivation.

And while being sleep deprived can, in fact, instigate myriad health concerns that can impact your mental and physical wellbeing, new research shows that it is also burning a widening hole in the nation’s economy.

A $$66 billion hole, that is.

As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, a Deloitte Access Economics health survey has found that sleep deprivation cost the Aussie health system $1.8billion ($246 per person) last year alone.

Not only that, but losses attributed to lack of productivity come in at $17.9billion, or $2418 per person.

All and all, the survey calculated that costs to overall wellbeing sit at $40.1billion, and overall, $66.3million.

“The cost of sleep deprivation is utterly alarming and confirms we need to take urgent action to put sleep on the national agenda,” chairwoman of the Sleep Health Foundation Professor Dorothy Bruck explains.

“Sleep – or rather the lack of it – is a substantial burden on our economy and the livelihood of Australians, dampening mood, exacerbating health problems, dulling our productivity and making us a danger on the roads and in workplaces around the country”.

Cause of sleep deprivation

According to Better Health Victoria, sleep deprivation can come as a result of things like:

  • Personal choice (someone doesn’t recognise the need for sleep)

  • Work (those who do shift work or travel for work, inparticular)

  • Illness (or snoring)

  • Medications (some drugs to treat conditions like epilepsy or ADHD can cause insomnia)

  • Poor sleep environment (like if someone’s bedroom is too hot or too cold, or if they sleep next to a noise bed partner)

  • Babies, older babies and toddlers (parents know better than anyone how much sleep you don’t get when raising an infant)

Sleep deprivation cures

While there are a number of ways you can better your sleeping patterns (including visiting the Sleep Health Foundation’s website for more help), what you eat – and don’t eat – can significantly impact your energy levels.

If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, eat your way to Cloud Nine with these delicious sleep-boosting foods, all available from your local supermarket.

Permission to doze…


Fish, specifically varieties like salmon and tuna, are loaded with vitamin B6, which is vital for the production of melatonin – a sleep-provoking hormone that is prompted by the onset of darkness.

This hot smoked salmon and sesame salad is loaded with good-for-sleep nutrients.


This leafy green possesses a substance called lactucarium, a natural sedative-like substance, which is said to have similar effects on the brain to that of opium.

So, next time dinner rolls round, be sure to add sweet chilli pork in lettuce cups to the menu – the tasty pork flavours will taste deliciously refreshing in the iceberg lettuce leaves.


Rich in tryptophan, as well as sleep-friendly folate (a vitamin that helps to control our sleeping patterns) and vitamin B6, chickpeas deserve a spot high on your shopping list.

Enjoy them in a moreish spiced pumpkin hummus or Moroccan chickpea stew.


This fruit is packed with magnesium and potassium, two minerals that promote muscle relaxation.

If you get muscle cramps at night, try eating a banana before bed, or perhaps if you’re feeling cheeky, try these little cinnamon banana tarte tatins.


Armed with calcium, zinc, potassium and magnesium, this is one supernut that packs a healthy punch. These nutrients, in particular, help to regulate activity in the brain, as well as relax muscles and boost the body’s production of melatonin.

Chew on a 30g handful of raw almonds, or be more generous when sprinkling this nut on this lamb with heirloom tomato and almond salad.

If you’re going to change your diet in any way, be sure to have a chat with your local GP or dietitian first.

WATCH how you can boost your metabolism in the video below!

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