In November of 2013, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine announced that it was partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a new project titled the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. The goal of the collaboration was to increase overall awareness of sleep illness, as well as to educate the public on the importance of getting enough sleep; the hope was that by spreading the word, measureable public behavior change could be achieved.
When the project was first announced, Janet B. Croft, PhD and CDC senior chronic disease epidemiologist said, “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. The CDC is collaborating with the AASM to improve the health of people through diagnosis and treatment of sleep illness.” The project was slated to last five years, and now that it has almost reached its first year of operation the group has made some important announcements. Perhaps most striking is the overall message that public health and safety are being threatened by the rising number of patients with obstructive sleep apnea, with the number of adult sufferers now estimated to be at least 25 million. The group has assembled a number of studies that show exactly how damaging the condition, which has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2-diabetes and stroke, can be. Continue reading