Reawakening Australia


Research reveals sleep disorders cost Australia more than $5 billion per year. An economic report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation reveals sleep disorders cost the Australian economy more than $5.1 billion a year in health care and indirect costs. In addition, the reduction in life quality caused by sleep disorders has a further cost equivalent of $31.4 billion a year. The report, 'Re-awakening Australia – The Economic Cost of Sleep Disorders in Australia' highlights more than 1.5 million Australian adults, 9% of the adult population, now suffer from sleep disorders.

The report looks at the economic impact of major sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome. While around 9% of the adult population is affected by these disorders, the problem of sleep disorders is in fact greater as only individuals diagnosed with these three conditions have been considered. The report notes better diagnosis and detection, which together with increasing obesity, ageing and stress levels, are increasing the prominence of these conditions. The Sleep Health Foundation is concerned by the scale of problems associated with sleep disorders in Australia.

Poor sleep is increasingly common amongst Australians, with one in three people regularly struggling with their sleep. It is vital that sleep disorders receive increased focus as a health priority. Now that we know the economic costs we hope that we can work with the Australian Government, GPs and employers to re-awaken Australia.

The report found that $270 million per year is being spent caring for sleep disorders. However they cost $540 million per year in health care costs for associated conditions and a further $4.3 billion per year through indirect costs. This includes $3.1 billion in lost productivity and $650 million in informal care and other indirect costs resulting from motor vehicle and workplace accidents.

Sleep disorders contribute to other diseases and injuries. The proportion of each condition attributable to a sleep disorder is as follows:

  • 10.1% of depression
  • 5.3% of stroke
  • 4.5% of workplace injuries
  • 4.3% of motor accidents.

The 'Re-Awakening Australia' report, conducted by Deloitte Access Economics, also found that non-financial costs which place a dollar cost on loss of life quality resulting from sleep disorders contributed a further $31.4 billion per year to the total economic cost.

The report 'Re-Awakening Australia' was commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and funded by untied grants from Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, ResMed Asia Pacific Ltd and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare

Executive Summary