Academy statement: “Sleep is a biological necessity…essential to health.”

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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has released a bold new position statement declaring that sleep is a biological necessity, and insufficient sleep and untreated sleep disorders are detrimental for health, well-being and safety. The new statement supports the vison of the AASM that “Sleep is recognized as essential to health.1

The statement emphasizes that there is a significant need for greater emphasis on sleep health in education, clinical practice, inpatient and long-term care, public health promotion and the workplace.1

The AASM statement also references that Healthy People 2030 (an initiative from the federal government’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) includes several sleep-related objectives with the goal to improve health, productivity, well-being, quality of life and safety—by helping people get enough sleep.2 In addition to adequate sleep duration, healthy sleep requires good quality, appropriate timing, regularity and the absence of sleep disorders.2 The statement also suggests that “more sleep and circadian research is needed to further elucidate the importance of sleep for public health and the contributions of insufficient sleep to health disparities.”2

The AASM further believes that “sleep education should have a prominent place in K-12 and college health education, medical school and graduate medical education and graduate programs for other health professionals.2 Clinicians should routinely inquire about sleep habits and symptoms of sleep and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders during patient encounters, and hospitals and long-term care facilities should optimize sleep conditions.2 Healthy sleep should be targeted by public health and workplace interventions to improve health-related outcomes, and behaviors that help people attain healthy sleep should be promoted.”2

Finally, the AASM noted that while “significant resources have been invested in individual and population-level interventions to address health-related lifestyle factors such as nutrition, exercise, and smoking, programs focusing on sleep health have been notably rare.2 To promote public health and safety, widespread support is needed to increase sleep education, improve sleep disorders screening with home sleep apnea testing, optimize sleep conditions for inpatients and residents of long-term care facilities, optimize sleep health through public health and workplace interventions, and expand sleep health research.”2

REFERENCES

1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. {2021} Sleep is essential to health: New position statement. [Press Release]

2. Kannan Ramar, MD;  Raman K. Malhotra, MD;  Kelly A. Carden, MD;  Jennifer L. Martin, PhD;  Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, MD; R. Nisha Aurora, MD, MHS; Vishesh K. Kapur, MD, MPH;  Eric J. Olson, MD; Carol L. Rosen, MD; James A. Rowley, MD; Anita V. Shelgikar, MD, MHPE; Lynn Marie Trotti, MD, MSc. “Sleep is essential to health: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement.” J Clin Sleep Med. (accepted for publication June 2, 2021).