While it is intuitive that sleep disorders can affect mood and potentially reduce productivity and performance, new research discovers insomnia is directly related to increased health care costs.

Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Now, a research abstract finds that the health care costs of patients with insomnia are higher than for those without insomnia.

Kathleen Foley, PhD, of Thomson Medstat, based this study on a retrospective analysis of health insurance claims data in the United States.

Patients were selected if they were diagnosed with insomnia or received a prescription drug for insomnia in 2002 or 2003. A control group of patients was identified during the same study period.

According to the results, unadjusted annual health plan paid costs for insomnia patients were approximately three times higher ($8,978) compared to controls ($2,790).

Further, adjusted health plan-paid inpatient costs were 48-79 percent higher, outpatient costs 49-74 percent higher and prescription costs 69-100 percent higher for insomnia patients relative to controls.

Unadjusted mental health related costs for patients with insomnia were approximately seven times greater ($461) than those for controls ($64). Out-of-pocket costs for insomnia patients were roughly twice ($1,000) that of the control group ($448).

“Even for controlling for associated comorbidities, health plans and patients paid significantly higher health care costs for patients with insomnia compared to patients without insomnia,” said Foley.

Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. These disorders may also be defined by an overall poor quality of sleep.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. About 30 percent of adults have insomnia. It is more common among elderly people and women. Some medical conditions cause insomnia, or it may be a side effect of a medication.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine