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AASM Partners with CDC to Address Chronic Sleep Loss Epidemic

DARIEN, Ill., Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a new project to increase awareness of sleep illness and the importance of sufficient sleep. The long-term goal of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project is to promote widespread and measurable public behavior changes leading to improved sleep health. The AASM and CDC both recognize that untreated sleep illness and chronic sleep loss have a cumulative impact on nearly every key public health indicator, increasing the risk of physical and mental health problems, mortality, accidents, injuries and disability.

"Sleep and sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia, are increasingly recognized as vital to a wide variety of public health and chronic disease concerns, including obesity, hypertension and cancer," said Janet B. Croft, PhD, CDC senior chronic disease epidemiologist in the Division of Population Health. "The CDC is collaborating with the AASM to improve the health of people through diagnosis and treatment of sleep illness."

The project addresses the "Healthy People 2020" focus area of sleep health, which includes objectives related to increasing the medical evaluation of people with symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, reducing vehicular crashes due to drowsy driving and ensuring more Americans get sufficient sleep.

The cooperative agreement calls for the project to last five years with an approximate total funding from the CDC of $1 million, which will be used to launch a public awareness campaign and promote health care provider education to improve knowledge of sleep and sleep illness. The project also will generate recommendations to improve current models for nationwide sleep health data collection. 

According to AASM President Dr. M. Safwan Badr, public health policies and wellness programs frequently fail to recognize the substantial body of evidence illustrating that sleep duration and sleep quality are as important to health as good nutrition and adequate exercise.  

"Diagnosis and treatment of sleep illnesses can bring relief to the millions of Americans suffering from poor sleep," said Badr. "However, fundamental to the success of these efforts is the recognition and awareness that healthy sleep is not a luxury; it is a necessity and should be thought of as a vital sign of good health."

Poor sleep health is a common problem, with 30 percent of U.S. adults failing to meet the Healthy People 2020 objective for sufficient sleep. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems, with nearly 60 percent having a chronic illness such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Inadequate sleep in children, particularly among adolescents, negatively affects academic performance and contributes to adverse health risks such as depression, physical inactivity, obesity, substance abuse, inattentive driving, tardiness and school violence.

For more information, or to find a local sleep specialist at an AASM accredited sleep center, visit            

About The American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality patient centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. With nearly 10,000 members, the AASM is the largest professional membership society for physicians, scientists and other health care providers dedicated to sleep medicine. For more information, visit


SOURCE American Academy of Sleep Medicine
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