In a world where there are ever-increasing demands placed on our time, it is unsurprising that many people suffer from a lack of sleep and struggle to enjoy the optimum amount of sleep.
However, failing to get enough sleep can have a knock-on effect by negatively impacting a person’s health and wellbeing.
Sleep comprises three main factors – regularity, quantity and quality – all of which provide a platform for you to tackle life’s daily challenges.
While you’re sleeping your body repairs itself, effectively providing a ‘reboot’ that allows you to function properly the following day.
People who don’t get enough sleep struggle to concentrate and thus suffer a drop in productivity – something that can prove extremely to businesses.
Research has shown that the US loses an annual equivalent of approximately 1.2 million working days due to insufficient sleep.
While that is a sorry statistic for most businesses, it is a figure that has helped to drive a massive surge in turnover within the sleep industry.
According to research conducted by Prescient & Strategic (P&S) Intelligence, the sleeping aids market is expected to generate annual revenues in excess of $100 billion by 2023.
Read on as we look at some of the factors surrounding sleep deprivation and how businesses profit from our lack of sleep.
Burnout potentially costs lives
While sleep issues impact many walks of life it is fair to say that the health industry tends to be one of the hardest hit.
Studies have discovered that over half of doctors in the US have reported symptoms of exhaustion, while the health system suffers annual costs in the region of $17bn as a result of burnout.
Medical staff who are tired are much more likely to make mistakes, potential opening the door for costly malpractice claims.
Medical expert, Dr Jonathan A Ripp, believes the health industry needs to do more to ensure its professionals get better quality rest.
“We know we need to tackle the root causes of physician stress and burnout,” he said. “That includes exploring those elements of distress that most contribute to burnout, such as poor work-life integration, inefficient use of or lack of resources, and fatigue, all of which lead to an erosion of meaning from work.
“It means shifting the burden of responsibility to enact change away from overburdened providers. While there are certainly ways physicians can build resiliency, the responsibility to fix larger problems can’t be on them.
“We are beginning to see new ways in which practices can better support doctors so that they can come to work ready to do their jobs.”
Technology driving rise in sleep deprivation
Many people spend time searching for the best mattress for sleeping to help facilitate a more restful night in bed.
Creating a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere has been proven to aid sleep, but people have also found other ways to negatively impact the ambience they’ve established.
An increase in the use of digital devices in the bedroom has sparked a rise in the number of people who struggle to get a good night’s sleep.
The blue light emitted by smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices causes the brain to produce less melatonin – the hormone that regulates sleep.
Ophthalmology expert, Dr Jay Neitz, says that bedrooms should become a device-free zone if people want to get good quality sleep.
“Light sets our internal clock – if your clock tells you it’s time for bed, but you’re still being exposed to a lot of light, your brain decides that it needs to reset your clock to a later time,” he said.
“”This makes it harder to get up in the morning, and increasingly difficult to get good quality sleep if your clock is being constantly unnaturally delayed.”
Businesses cashing in on sleep problems
The increased awareness of the impact of sleep deprivation has sparked a huge upturn in the number of businesses entering the sleeping aids marketplace.
Premium mattresses, pillows, cooling systems, face masks, medication, sleep trackers and apps are amongst a plethora of products flooding the marketplace.
According to a report by leading management consultancy firm, McKinsey & Company, the sleep industry will continue to boom over the next few years.
“The broad range of sleep-health products and services creates a plethora of entry points and investment theses for private-equity firms to consider, ranging from potential roll-up strategies to the creation of a portfolio of sleep-health solutions,” it read.
“When looking at specific players in the space, it is important to assess them on three key dimensions: brand credibility, differentiation, and growth hooks. Brand credibility is table stakes; consumers are not looking for gimmicks but rather demanding products and services with proven results.
“Second, the business needs to have a clear point of differentiation to separate it from competitors in the space. This could be a specialized material, a new delivery mechanism, a unique business model, better customer service, or enhanced health claims.
“Finally, the business needs to prove it has legs beyond one core product or service to ensure there is a pathway to sustain long-term growth. The underlying implication is that sleep health is an attractive place for private-equity investment, but opportunities need to be filtered through these three lenses to ensure there is consumer permission to scale long term.”
What the future holds
With annual revenues expected to crash through the $100bn barrier over the next few years, it is clear that businesses will continue to cash in on sleep problems.
Consumers will continue to look for ways to improve their sleep, meaning the industry is ripe for investment and growth opportunities.
As highlighted by the popularity of Sleep Genius, one of the top health and fitness apps in the Apple store, people are desperate to resolve sleeping issues.
Sleep Genius cofounder, Alex Doman, says the future is undoubtedly rosy for businesses who can unlock the door to a good night’s sleep.
“Sleep awareness is in the global consciousness and there’s no turning back,” he said. “Today’s consumers now look to maintain a proper sleep balance, perhaps with an iPhone by their bedside.
“We now understand that sleep has a real impact on our health, and not just our short-term performance, but our longevity. And people are looking for solutions.”