On April 13-14, 2021, members of the AASM Advocacy Committee and Political Action Committee held virtual Capitol Hill visits with 14 congressional offices to advocate for policies that promote sleep health and address the AASM’s legislative and policy agenda.
The AASM delegation focused on several priorities, including:
Recruitment for the Congressional Sleep Health Caucus
In October 2020, the Congressional Sleep Health Caucus was officially established. The caucus will host congressional briefings on issues related to sleep health, such as school start times, daylight saving time, and sleep health disparities. It also will focus on improving sleep health by highlighting the importance of healthy sleep for overall health, mental well-being, and safety. During these meetings, AASM members asked for members of Congress to join the caucus to demonstrate their dedication to sleep and health. Several offices expressed interest in the caucus.
Daylight Saving Time
Recently, bills have been introduced in Congress to make daylight saving time permanent across the United States; however, according to the AASM’s daylight saving time position statement, permanent standard time better aligns with the body’s natural circadian rhythms. Discussion centered around the differences between permanent standard and daylight time as well as the AASM’s recent call for congressional hearings on the issue before a vote on the currently proposed bills. Visit the AASM Action Center to support the AASM’s campaign for congressional daylight saving time hearings.
The AASM advocated for telemedicine provisions from the current public health emergency to be made permanent to ensure people continue to have the ability to use telemedicine services that increase access to care for those who may be unable to see their medical provider in person, whether that be due to physical location, illness, or another barrier. Advocates specifically asked that their members of Congress support the Telemedicine Modernization Act, which would protect telehealth access for rural patients and remove Medicare’s geographic and originating site restrictions.
National Student Sleep Health Week
The AASM held its first Student Sleep Health Week in September 2020, which included introduction of a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to designate the third week of September as National Student Sleep Health Week. Advocates discussed the need for further awareness of the importance of healthy sleep for students and how events held in-district can help to further this message.
Federal Funding for Sleep Programs
Federal funding for sleep-related programs, projects, and research is imperative to continuing to advance the sleep field and increase awareness of the importance of sleep health. Advocates discussed funding for various federal agencies and programs related to sleep, including the CDC chronic disease programs.
Visit the Advocacy page to get more information on the AASM’s advocacy priorities and participate in our current campaigns.