AASM’s new position statement: “Sleep is important for health”

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Sleep Health | Sleep Review

A new position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) emphasizes that sleep is a biological necessity and that inadequate sleep and untreated sleep disorders are detrimental to health, wellbeing, and public safety.

The statement, published online in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, states that sleep is vital to the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and adults. While awareness of the value of sleep has increased over the past decade, there is a significant need for a greater emphasis on sleep health in education, clinical practice, inpatient and long-term care, public health promotion, and in the workplace.

“Healthy sleep is just as important to our health and well-being as proper diet and regular exercise, and sleep is critical to performance and safety,” said AASM President Kannan Ramar, MBBS, MD in a press release. “The AASM believes that sleep is critical to health and we urge educators, health professionals, government agencies and employers to make promoting healthy sleep a priority.”

The statement was drafted by the members of the AASM Board 2020-2021, which consists of 11 sleep medics and a clinical psychologist. Recognizing the important and complex links between sleep and health and chronic disease, the authors outline the following positions:

  • Sleep education should have a prominent place in K-12 and university health education, medical school and graduate medical education, and in educational programs for other health professions.
  • Clinicians should routinely inquire about sleep habits and symptoms of sleep and circadian sleep-wake disorders during patient consultations, and hospitals and long-term care facilities should optimize sleep conditions.
  • Healthy sleep should be pursued through public health and workplace interventions to improve health-related outcomes, and behaviors that help people sleep soundly should be actively promoted.
  • More sleep and circadian research is needed to further elucidate the importance of sleep to public health and the contribution of inadequate sleep to health inequalities.

[RECOMMENDED: AASM Position Statement on Physician Burnout Highlights Importance of Sleep as Self-Care]

“There is a lack of education about sleep and sleep disorders in the curricula of medical schools, in medical education and in training programs for other health professions,” says Ramar. “Better education about sleep health will enable our healthcare workers to provide more patient-centered care for people with common sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia.”

Chronic sleep deprivation and untreated sleep disorders are associated with increased health and safety risks such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, occupational accidents and car accidents, according to the authors. Data from surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau show that 34.1% of children, 74.6% of high school students, and 32.5% of adults in the United States do not get enough sleep a regular basis. Therefore, one of the goals of Healthy People 2030 is Getting People to Sleep, which has ten-year measurable public health goals in the United States.

The AASM Position Statement, which states that sleep is essential to health, has been endorsed by more than 25 medical, scientific, patient and safety organizations:

  • Alliance of Sleep Apnea Partners
  • American Academy of Cardiovascular Sleep Medicine
  • American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinology
  • AAST
  • American College for Preventive Medicine
  • American Geriatric Society *
  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
  • American Society for Addiction Medicine
  • American Society of Anaesthesiologists *
  • American Thoracic Society
  • Circadian Sleep Disorder Network
  • International REM Study Group on Sleep Behavior Disorders
  • National Security Council
  • National Sleep Foundation
  • Obesity Action Coalition
  • Project sleep
  • Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
  • Society for Sleep Research
  • Society for the Study of Biological Rhythms
  • Society for Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine
  • Behavioral Sleep Medicine Society
  • Start school later
  • Wake up narcolepsy
  • World sleep society

* The American Geriatrics Society supports the general principles of the document and believes it will be of general benefit to its members. The Board of Directors of the American Society of Anesthesiologists approved endorsement for position statement with qualifications; Since the document has not been submitted to or approved by the ASA Board of Directors or the House of Delegates, it is not an official or approved statement or policy by the Company. Deviations from the recommendations contained in the document may be acceptable in the opinion of the responsible anesthetist.

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