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CAPE TOWN - Terrible traffic and working too hard. Those are among the reasons South Africans say are killing their sleep patterns.

And it’s not only leading to grumpiness and lower productivity, it’s also costing the economy billions.

A study conducted by a Stellenbosch University student traces the amount of money lost to the economy because of a lack of adequate sleep.

Study author Charles King gathered data on the sleeping habits of 658 men and women between the ages of 25 and 40-years-old over a three-month period to reach his conclusions.

The study traces a lack of sleep to serious health conditions that are exacerbated by not getting enough rest. The research found one night of less than six hours sleep negatively impacts cognitive performance as badly as two completely sleepless nights.

And the average South African knows it. One woman shared: "I can work for X amount of hours and then I feel like, oh I'm a zombie I need to go sleep again."

Another says a lack of sleep affects her productivity. "It affects me in a bad way, because of grumpiness, your workload, you’re not fresh in the morning."

King says besides impacting on productivity, if you are getting less than seven hours of sleep you increase your risk of developing depression by 22%, coronary artery disease by 73% and colorectal cancer by 50%.

Sleeplessness is also costing the economy dearly, with one medical aid reporting payouts amounting to R22 billion to sleep-deprived citizens.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

This article first appeared on EWN : Sleep deprivation costs SA economy billions - study

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