Untreated sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss are associated with a significant increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, certain types of cancer, automobile crashes, on-the-job accidents, and total mortality along with impaired work productivity, academic performance, and reduced quality of life.1
More than 133 million Americans live with a chronic disease or disability. The 2006 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem, found the cumulative effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders represent an under-recognized public health problem and have been associated with a wide range of negative health consequences, including hypertension, diabetes, depression, heart attack, stroke, and at-risk behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse – all of which represent long-term targets of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other public health agencies. Moreover, the personal and national economic impact is staggering. The IOM estimates that the direct and indirect costs associated with sleep disorders and sleep deprivation total hundreds of billions of dollars annually.2
Sleep science and federal reports have clearly detailed the importance of sleep to health, safety, productivity and well-being, yet studies continue to show that millions of Americans remain at risk for serious health and safety consequences of untreated sleep disorders and inadequate sleep, due to a lack of awareness, community interventions, and inadequate screening. Unfortunately, despite recommendations in numerous federal reports, there is a lack of epidemiological data, large clinical trials and no on-going national educational programs regarding sleep issues aimed at the general public, health care professionals, underserved communities or major at-risk groups.
Sleeptember Members believe that every person needs to understand that good health includes healthy sleep, just as it includes regular exercise and balanced nutrition. Sleep must be elevated to the top of the national health agenda in order to adequately address other national public health problems mentioned above. We need your help to make this happen.
Sleep health is a particular concern for individuals with chronic conditions such as:
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Cancer (breast, pancreatic, colorectal)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Spinal cord injury
Additionally, there are a number of significant pain conditions that affect the sleep quality of individuals; these include: restless legs syndrome, irritable bowel, gastric ulcer, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, dental and orofacial pain, spinal cord damage, burns, and other trauma.3 Good sleep helps prevent the development of certain conditions and can help better manage and improve existing conditions. All patients are connected in these concerns.
Proving the connections between sleep health, other medical conditions, and general well-being is the main mission of the Sleeptember community.
_________________ 1National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health Sleep Disorders Research Plan. Last accessed August 5, 2015 http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/201101011NationalSleepDisordersResearchPlanDHHSPublication11-7820.pdf. 2 Institute of Medicine. Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation: An unmet public health problem. Colten HR, Alteveogt BM, editors. ISBN:0-309-66012-2, 1–500. 2006. Washington, D.C., National Academies Press. 3Lavigne GL, McMillan D, Zucconi M. 2005. Pain and sleep. In: Kryger MH, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders. Pp. 1246–1255.