EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 12:01 a.m. EDT, May 31, 2012

CONTACT: Thomas Heffron, 630-737-9700, ext. 9327, theffron@aasm.org

DARIEN, IL – A joint white paper by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society (SRS) emphasizing the importance of sleep and directed at the nation’s health stakeholders is being published in the June 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

“Sleep: A Health Imperative” summarizes the scientific evidence showing that sufficient sleep and circadian alignment in adults is as important to health as good nutrition and adequate exercise.   The paper specifically discusses the associations between sleep deficiency, defined as a state of inadequate or mistimed sleep, and major health risks such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.   The paper also emphasizes that sleep deprivation is a threat to public safety because it increases the risk of work-related accidents and motor vehicle crashes.

Conclusions from the paper state that:

  • Sleep deficiency is a growing and underappreciated determinant of health status.
  • The societal consequences of sleep deficiency are enormous.
  • It is a public health imperative to determine the mechanisms underlying the adverse health effects of sleep deficiency.
  • It is critical to assess countermeasures directed at improving sleep and overall health in people suffering from chronic sleep deficiency.
  • Increasing sleep duration may be more achievable than other health-promoting behaviors such as improving nutrition and increasing activity levels.

The paper urges health care personnel, government agencies, educational institutions, employers, community organizations, industry leaders, individuals and families to prioritize sleep for the betterment of personal and societal health.

The authors of “Sleep: A Health Imperative,” writing on behalf of the AASM and SRS boards of directors, are:  Faith S. Luyster, PhD, in the School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh; Patrick J. Strollo Jr., MD, in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD, in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago; and James K. Walsh, PhD, in the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo.

For a copy of the paper, “Sleep: A Health Imperative,” or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson, please contact PR Coordinator Doug Dusik at 630-737-9700, ext. 9364, or ddusik@aasm.org.

The monthly, peer-reviewed, scientific journal SLEEP is published online by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.  The AASM is a professional membership society that is the leader in setting standards and promoting excellence in sleep medicine health care, education and research (www.aasm.org).

Read more about sleep and sleep disorders on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s Sleep Education website at https://sleepeducation.org/. Help for people who have a sleep problem is available at more than 2,400 AASM-accredited sleep disorders centers around the United States.