To estimate health care and productivity costs associated with insomnia symptoms in Canadian adults.
Three pieces of information were needed to calculate estimates based on a prevalence-based approach: (1) the pooled relative risk estimates of health outcomes consistently associated with insomnia symptoms obtained from recent meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies; (2) the direct (health care) and indirect (lost productivity due to premature mortality) costs of these health outcomes using the Economic Burden of Illness in Canada information; and (3) the prevalence of insomnia symptoms in Canadian men (18.1%) and women (29.5%) obtained from a nationally-representative survey.
The direct, indirect, and total costs of insomnia symptoms in Canada in 2021 were $1.9 billion, $12.6 million, and $1.9 billion, respectively. This value represents 1.9% of the overall burden of illness costs for 2021 in Canada. The 2 most expensive chronic diseases attributable to insomnia symptoms were type 2 diabetes ($754 million) and depression ($706 million). The main contributor to the costs for type 2 diabetes and depression was prescription drugs. A 5% decrease in insomnia symptoms (from 23.8% to 18.8%) would result in an estimated $353 million in avoided costs while a 5% increase in insomnia symptoms (from 23.8% to 28.8%) would result in an estimated $333 million in additional expenditures yearly.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute