Insomnia is costing U.S. companies more than $63 billion a year, according to a new white paper that examines the toll that insufficient sleep takes on safety and productivity at work.

Entitled Sick, Unsafe, and Unproductive: Poor Employee Sleep Is Bad for Business, the publication from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) notes that sleep is a basic biological need. Getting less than seven hours of it a night (for the average person) can have serious detrimental consequences for an individuals’ long-term health, safety, and performance.

Millions affected

Authors Tori L. Crain, PhD and Larissa K. Barber, PhD note that 70 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have a sleep disorder or experience chronic sleep restriction from work and other lifestyle factors. The federal government has even identified the improvement of sleep health as a primary objective within its 2020 initiative.

Promoting sleep among workers is in the best interest of companies, say Crain and Barber. They outline the factors that contribute to poor sleep and provide actionable, evidence-based suggestions that both employees and employers can implement to address problems with tired workers.

The publication is now available on SIOP’s white paper web page . It was issued through the organization’s Visibility Committee, which is requesting feedback here.

About the authors

Crain, who has a doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Occupational Health Psychology, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University. Her research and applied work examines occupational stress and health, with a specific emphasis on policies and programs that can improve sleep and fatigue in the workplace, work/nonwork stress, and employee wellness.

Barber has a doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology with a minor in Research Methodology. She is Associate Professor of Psychology at Northern Illinois University. Her research and applied work focuses on occupational health topics such as technology and work-life balance, sleep and organizational behavior, and employee wellness.