The picture you will find in this post is a graph where on the vertical axis there’s the number of sleeping hours and on the horizontal axis there’s the GDP of each country. Conclusions are easily drawn: apart from some exceptions, the countries where people sleep more are richer than the countries where people suffer from insomnia or sleep less.

According to the World Economic Forum, not sleeping enough is not only an individual problem, but can be an obstacle to the growth of a country. Rand Corporation has calculated that the US loses the equivalent of around 1,2 million working days per year due to people not getting enough sleep, corresponding to approximately $411 billion a year, or 2,28% of its GDP. Germany and the UK lose around 200.000 working days per year – it equates to $60 billion and 1,56% of GDP for Germany and $50 billion and 1,86% of GDP for UK.

The fact that small improvements in sleep can be amplified into much larger economic gains sounds like a wake-up call, to the point that last year Kazuhiko Moriyama, CEO of Crazy (a japanese wedding company) announced a cash-bonus for employees who were getting at least six hours sleep a night – in Japan the problem of insomnia and of karoshi (death caused by lack of sleep) is widely and sadly acknowledged.

(Image: Matt McLean / Sleep Cycle / IMF / The Economist)