National Center On Sleep Disorders Research
Sleep and circadian disturbances and disorders affect millions of Americans across all demographic groups. An estimated 25-30% of the general adult population, and a comparable percentage of children and adolescents, is affected by decrements in sleep health that are proven contributors to disability, morbidity, and mortality. As a result, sleep and circadian disturbances and disorders have been recognized by Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services1,2 as high priority targets for basic and clinical scientific investigation. Three general categories of sleep and circadian disorders and disturbances have been described: 1) disorders of sleep and circadian rhythms; 2) sleep deficiency; and 3) environmental disruption of circadian functions. In addition to clinical sleep and circadian disorders, sleep deficiency and circadian disruption resulting from lifestyle factors are increasingly common societal problems that increase disease risk through complex pathways. Advances sweeping across the spectrum of biomedical inquiry have transformed the sleep and circadian research landscape since the first NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan was developed in 1996. The scientific domain is well-poised today to contribute knowledge advances and emerging technologies to the goals of understanding mechanisms of disease risk, accelerating translation from bench to bedside to community, and developing the evidence based evaluation of intervention effectiveness. Opportunities for research training exist in all areas of sleep and circadian biology and at multiple levels of the educational ladder. Scientific cross-fertilization and the development of an interdisciplinary workforce would stimulate the application of sleep and circadian scientific advances in cross-cutting domains.
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