Why is sleep health important?

Poor sleep health is a common problem with 25 percent of U.S. adults reporting insufficient sleep or rest at least 15 out of every 30 days. The public health burden of chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders, coupled with low awareness of poor sleep health among the general population, health care professionals, and policymakers, necessitates a well-coordinated strategy to improve sleep-related health.

Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. Sleep is a basic requirement for infant, child, and adolescent health and development. Sleep loss and untreated sleep disorders influence basic patterns of behavior that negatively affect family health and interpersonal relationships. Fatigue and sleepiness can reduce productivity and increase the chance for mishaps such as medical errors and motor vehicle or industrial accidents.

Adequate sleep is necessary to:

  • Fight off infection
  • Support the metabolism of sugar to prevent diabetes
  • Perform well in school
  • Work effectively and safely

Sleep timing and duration affect a number of endocrine, metabolic, and neurological functions that are critical to the maintenance of individual health. If left untreated, sleep disorders and chronic short sleep are associated with an increased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • All-cause mortality

Sleep health is a particular concern for individuals with chronic disabilities and disorders such as arthritis, kidney disease, pain, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. Among older adults, the cognitive and medical consequences of untreated sleep disorders decrease health-related quality of fake rolex life, contribute to functional limitations and loss of independence, and are associated with an increased risk of death from any cause.