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Notice to Readers: National Sleep Awareness Week, March 3--9, 2008

March 3--9, 2008, is National Sleep Awareness Week. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep 7--9 hours daily. Younger persons need even more sleep. Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of health maintenance (1). Sleep-related complaints are common; 60 million persons in the United States experience them, and 20% of patients consulting a general practitioner report sleep disturbances (2).

Insufficient sleep might result from lifestyles and behaviors, medical conditions, and other factors. Persons experiencing insufficient sleep might be suffering from chronic insomnia, sleep apnea (commonly characterized by periodic gasping or snorting during sleep), narcolepsy (sudden, extreme sleepiness coupled with a loss of muscle tone), or restless legs syndrome (a "crawling" sensation seemingly arising from the lower legs, characteristically relieved by movement, such as walking or kicking) (3). Insufficient sleep has been linked to impaired school and work performance and to the development of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression (4). Increased recognition of the importance of sleep and sleep disorders is pivotal to heightening awareness of adequate sleep as a sign of good health. Additional information about the public health implications of sleep is available at http://www.cdc.gov/sleep. Additional information regarding sufficient sleep is available from the National Sleep Foundation at http://www.sleepfoundation.org/site.

References

  1. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Sleep Disorders Research. 2003 National Sleep Disorders Research Plan. Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/res_plan/sleep-rplan.pdf.
  2. Andreasen NC, Black DW. Introductory textbook of psychiatry. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.; 2001.
  3. Reite M, Ruddy J, Nagel K. Concise guide to evaluation and management of sleep disorders. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2002.
  4. CDC. Sleep and chronic disease. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2007. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/chronic_disease.htm.

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Date last reviewed: 2/27/2008

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