New research from the RAND Corporation has found that frequent visits to the bathroom at night could cost the U.S. economy $44.4 billion a year. According to researchers at the not-for-profit research organization RAND Europe, waking up more than twice a night due to nocturia, a health condition that affects the lower urinary tract, can have a detrimental effect on a person’s wellbeing and productivity at work, which in turn has an impact on a country’s GDP.
People who wake up at least twice a night to go to the toilet are more likely to be absent from work due to sickness or be less productive at work, as the disrupted night’s sleep affects their ability to function during the day. The study’s findings suggest that a person suffering with nocturia loses on average at least seven more working days a year due to absenteeism and presenteeism (being in suboptimal health while at work) than a person who does not have nocturia.
The number of people in the U.S. workforce estimated to suffer with nocturia is 27.5 million, 12.5 percent of the total working population. In the five other countries included in the economic analysis of the report – the UK, Germany, Spain, Japan and Australia – an additional 53.6 million people could have nocturia, ranging from 13 percent to 17 percent of the population of each country (see Table 1 in Notes to Editors).
People suffering with nocturia also reported lower life satisfaction and work engagement, according to data collected through two large, linked employer-employee surveys. On average, a person with nocturia has a 2 percent lower life satisfaction compared to a person not suffering with nocturia. This association is similar to if the individual suffered from other serious health conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease or asthma.
Furthermore, people suffering with nocturia have a 1.3 percent lower engagement at work compared to people not suffering from the condition. This is similar to people with chronic conditions like kidney disease or hypertension.
Marco Hafner, lead researcher and senior economist says: “Doctors and health practitioners often overlook nocturia as a potential health problem associated with sleep loss, and patients can delay reporting the condition until it becomes unbearable and substantially affects their wellbeing.