MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

March 4, 2011 article

Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention

National Sleep Awareness Week

March 7–13, 2011 March 7–13, 2011, is National Sleep Awareness Week. Sleep impairment is linked as a contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors (1). Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are more likely to have chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, or obesity (2,3). In 2008, approximately 28% of surveyed adults in the United States reported frequent insufficient sleep (≥14 days in the past 30 days) (4), which has been associated with fair/poor general health, frequent mental and physical distress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and pain (3). Sleep insufficiency and poor sleep quality also can result from sleep disorders such as chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy (1). The National Sleep Foundation suggests that healthy adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per day, and school-age children might require 10–11 hours of sleep (5). Additional information regarding the public health importance of sleep is available at Information regarding sleep health and safety is available from the National Sleep Foundation at


Unhealthy Sleep-Related Behaviors

12 States, 2009 An estimated 50–70 million adults in the United States have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders (1). Sleep difficulties, some of which are preventable, are associated with chronic diseases, mental disorders, health-risk behaviors, limitations of daily functioning, injury, and mortality (1,2). The National Sleep Foundation suggests that most adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night, although individual variations exist. To assess the prevalence and distribution of selected sleep difficulties and behaviors, CDC analyzed data from a new sleep module added to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 2009. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which determined that, among 74,571 adult respondents in 12 states, 35.3% reported having <7 hours of sleep on average during a 24-hour period, 48.0% reported snoring, 37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least 1 day in the preceding 30 days, and 4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving in the preceding 30 days. Continued public health surveillance of sleep quality, duration, behaviors, and disorders is needed to understand and address sleep difficulties and their impact on health. As a first step, a multifaceted approach that includes increased public awareness and education and training in sleep medicine for appropriate health-care professionals is needed; however, broad societal factors, including technology use and work policies, also must be considered.

Whole paper here