A Global News report explores the booming business of sleep.

Sleep is supposed to be free, but the widespread lack of it has big businesses cashing in, and making tens of billions of dollars a year. One study estimates at least 40 per cent of Canadians are now suffering from a sleep disorder. In this country alone, there were more than 20 million sleep aids prescribed last year.

Ninety sleep disorders have now been identified, ranging from the common, like sleep apnea, to the more bizarre.

“We’re now developing sleep disorders we never ever thought of. And they’re sleep texting. The kids are doing this in a partially awake state. They’re texting each other,” Dr Raymond Gottschalk, who runs a sleep lab in Hamilton, Ont., said.
The cost of sleep

Sleep labs offer patients testing during overnight stays at their clinics. They use electrodes placed all over the body to monitor heart rate, body motion, eye movement, breathing and oxygen levels. In the morning patients get results. And often the treatment can include costly devices to improve their breathing. Some provincial health systems cover most of cost of those devices, others don’t.

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