Sickness absenteeism is associated with sleep problems independent of sleep disorders: results of the 2016 Sleep Health Foundation national survey





1. Summary

Clinical sleep disorders have been consistently associated with absence from the workplace, and consequently pose a significant cost to the individual, and the workplace. However, less is known about how sleep problems more broadly relate to sickness absenteeism in the place. Our study intended to better elucidate whether sleep problems which do not meet criteria for clinical diagnosis contribute to greater sickness absenteeism in Australian workers.

The importance of this research is further highlighted by a report from the Sleep Health Foundation Australia highlighting that 7.4 million Australians did not get the sleep they need last year. There are ripple effects of this sleep insufficiency for the community - to the tune of productivity losses of $17.9 billion dollars in Australia. Australia has a sleep problem, and it is not just a clinical one. By progressing the conversation about inadequate sleep and general sleep problems beyond clinical disorders, we hope to further promote the importance of sufficient sleep. Indeed, it is clear from these findings that sleep behaviours affect absence from work, making the insufficient sleep problem an issue for employers, workplaces, and the broader community.

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Amy is an Early Career Researcher based at the Appleton Institute of CQUniversity Australia. Her passion for research is matched by a desire to ensure research knowledge and skills are translated t...

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