Celebrating Sleep Awareness Weekby Representative Michael M. Honda
Posted on 2013-03-13
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the millions of
Americans affected by sleep disorders and insufficient sleep and in
observance of National Sleep Awareness Week, which occurred last week
from March 3rd through 10th.
Sleep disorders affect every age group from infants to the elderly and are often an indicator of, or a precursor to other major diseases and disorders, in addition to being a public health and safety issue. According to the Institute of Medicine's report entitled ``Sleep Disorder and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem'' (2006), 50-70 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep or circadian disorders, while 15% of the population suffers from sleep- disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea. Chronic sleep disorders include insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, narcolepsy and other forms of hypersomnia, and circadian disruptions. These disorders negatively affect sleep duration, increasing risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, and substance abuse.
Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation cost $150 billion annually in lost productivity and $48 billion in medical costs related to motor vehicle accidents involving drowsy drivers. Sleep apnea results in excessive daytime somnolence, poor performance, increased frequency of road traffic accidents, and arterial hypertension. Prior to diagnosis, patients with sleep apnea often incur higher costs in their overall health care. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea has significant negative impacts on health, including early mortality. Furthermore, as our troops return home from Afghanistan and Iraq, there will be great need for continuing research concerning the link between sleep apnea and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A study including 725 active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces found that 85% of them had a sleep disorder. The most common was obstructive sleep apnea (51%), followed by insomnia (25%). Through increased federal commitment we can provide the best care to improve the health of those brave Americans who have served in uniform.
New treatment options, enhanced patient care, and future cures will increase the quality of life and productivity of the workforce. Research funding can also spur local economies through discovery of new technologies that can lead to the creation of new jobs. Federal investment in sleep research at the National Institutes of Health National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, are vital to supporting discoveries in the area of sleep disorders and job creation.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting sustained and meaningful improvements in the health and healthcare of the millions of Americans whose health is compromised because of sleep disorders. By increasing awareness of the need for increased research funding, we will be able to continue to examine the links between sleep and health in an effort to improve the health of the population and lower overall healthcare costs.