March 17, 2011

Sleep, Sleep Apnea and the Ides of March.

The month of March has become, officially or unofficially, the month dedicated to sleep. It makes sense. For a long time and coincident with the vernal equinox we collectively (except for Arizona) adjust our clocks forward an hour to allow for an additional "hour" of daylight at the end of the work day. This adjustment occurs when we are, or should be, sleeping.

Our colleagues at the National Sleep Foundation designated the week before the time change National Sleep Awareness Week(r) and use that time to release an annual poll regarding a sleep issue.

This year, unlike previous years, there were several other important information releases during the month that bear mentioning.

On March 1st, the American Thoracic Society released a long awaited report on research priorities for ambulatory management of adults with obstructive sleep apnea. What is significant is that collaborating on the report are three of the principal medical societies responsibility for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, plus the European Respiratory Society. Having everyone rowing in the same direction can only help improve the care of those with sleep apnea - here in the United States and Europe.

On March 7th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in their Morbidity and Mortality Week Report the analysis of data collected as a part of the "sleep module" from 12 states in their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The addition of this set of questions to the BRFSS was due in large measure to lobbying the U.S. Congress to pay attention to sleep.  A portion of the funding granted by Congress was used to pay the expenses of the National Sleep Awareness Roundtable. 2009 was the first time the module was included and as the graphic above indicates that those getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night have a higher likelihood of snoring, unintentionally falling asleep and nodding off (!) while driving.

The watershed event of the month occurred on March 15th, when the Institute of Medicine released their report on the leading health indicators for Healthy People 2020. The IOM, at the request of the US Department of Health and Human Services distilled the nearly 600 objectives included in Healthy People 2020 down to the 24 most important. Included among the 24 was one of the four from the Sleep Health topicIncrease the proportion of adults who get sufficient sleep. It was already significant that sleep now had its own "topic" under Healthy People. On top of that, to be included as one of the leading health indicator is a great leap forward in awareness.

March is about sleep and this year the needle moved on the importance of sleep. Now our job is not to let them forget about it the rest of the year.


REM Runner said...

Great post. Thank you for all the great resources and links. This has certainly been an exciting month for those interested in sleep advocacy. I hope we can keep the momentum going from here! said...

Great post! Thanks for the info.

Seo said...

Two weeks ago I hear something about one doctor who treat sleep apnea. He is Elliott Alpher. Dr. Alpher has been treating craniofacial pain disorders with conservative, non-invasive methods for over 30 years.

Anonymous said...

My husband has sleep apnea....he tried several chin straps...none worked...he developed his own: The Ultimate Chin Strap for Sleep Apnea..and it is the only one that works...what is your experience with open mouths and chin straps...your work sounds fascinating/interesting/fulfilling

Robert said...

Good thing there is an alternative to in lab testing. A home sleep test(done by was way cheaper to my insurance than the lab test would have been. Cheaper deductable as well.