Sleep Disorders Cost Nearly $95 Billion Per Year

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay reporter

TUESDAY, May 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Sleep problems cost the U.S. healthcare system nearly $ 95 billion a year and increase healthcare costs by 60%, according to a new study.

The researchers found that the number of doctor visits and prescriptions was almost doubled in people with sleep problems such as sleep apnea and insomnia, compared to people without these conditions. People with sleep problems were also more likely to go to the emergency room and suffer from more health problems.

“Our estimates are probably low, given that we know that a large number of patients have not yet been diagnosed with a disorder such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and insomnia,” said researcher Dr Neil Bhattacharyya, an ear, nose and throat doctor in Massachusetts. Boston Eye and Ear Hospital.

“If we as a country continue this model, this enormous burden on the health system will increase and affect patient care for all,” he said in a press release from the hospital.


For the study, Bhattacharyya and colleagues looked at differences in healthcare costs among some 22,000 US patients with and without sleep disorder.

They found that nearly 6% of respondents had at least one sleep disorder, or nearly 14 million American adults. But that’s probably an underestimate, as insomnia alone affects 10% to 20% of the population.

These people cost about $ 7,000 more in overall health care expenses per year compared to those without a sleep disorder.

Additionally, patients with sleep disorders have more than 16 office visits and nearly 40 prescriptions per year, compared to nearly nine visits and 22 prescriptions for people without a sleep disorder.

Non-health care costs related to absences from work, school or other social obligations, as well as decreased productivity related to symptoms, only add to the cost to society, noted Researchers.

“The degree to which sleep disturbances increased costs, visits and prescriptions was somewhat surprising and suggests that sleep disturbances and the effects of poor sleep quality may be underestimated,” the researcher said. Dr Phillip Huyett, Director of Sleep Surgery at Mass Eye and Ear.


“The importance of high-quality sleep is strongly associated with daytime functions and long-term health problems, and as our study shows, there are financial ramifications as well,” he said in the communicated.

Getting diagnosed as a sign of sleep problems can lead to effective treatment.

Fortunately, studies have shown that treating certain sleep disorders effectively reduces healthcare use and costs. Therefore, sleep problems should not be ignored. Better recognition of sleep disorders and improved Early referral to a sleep specialist is essential, ”Huyett said. “Your sleep is important, and if there’s a problem with your sleep, get help.”

The report was released on May 10 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

More information

To learn more about sleep issues, check out the Sleep Foundation.

SOURCE: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital, press release, May 10, 2021

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