Quality sleep deficiency has become more than a nuisance that can be corrected by an extra cup of coffee: it’s become an epidemic. About 30% of Americans report sleeping fewer than six hours per night, and almost 70% of Americans—nearly 245 million people—say that they simply don’t get enough sleep. At the same time, most people put sleep low on their priority list, brushing it off as something they just need to work through while reaching for a second cup of coffee. But studies show that getting fewer than six hours of quality sleep per night raises the chances of developing all kinds of diseases, from heart disease to stroke to diabetes. In addition, failing to get enough healthy sleep lowers quality of life and puts others in danger. Consider, for example, that going 24 hours without sleep renders someone just as impaired as they would be with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%, which is over the legal limit.
Clinical Chief and Medical Director of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham Women’s Hospital, Dr. Stuart Quan, joins the podcast to discuss what he and his team are doing to address this problem. To start, they’ve developed the Sleep Matters Initiative through which they visit organizations and companies to give presentations about sleep health, administer questionnaires designed to identify sleep disorders, and help people get in contact with the healthcare providers who can truly help them achieve better sleep, better physical health, and a higher quality of life.