WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- People know very little about how they spend a third of their lives. Sleeptember® is a new year-round campaign and community designed to create fun and engaging online and community events in order to raise awareness of the public health impact of sleep loss, connect the dots with other common health conditions, raise funds for medical research and change the sleep habits of individuals and society as a whole.
The Sleeptember® campaign is encouraging people to "Go Dark" and take a pledge to turn off the lights and electronic devices a bit earlier this month in order to add 15 minutes of sleep each week or seek other ways to improve their sleep health. Research and national surveys show that the average adult gets about an hour less of sleep on average than they actually need to boost their mood, safety and immune system.1 People who take the Sleeptember Pledge are entered into a sweepstakes to win an Apple Watch. Other contests and challenges will take place during Sleeptember and the rest of the year to encourage people around the world to get involved, improve their health and contribute their ideas to the campaign and patient-centered research studies.
"We are a community of people with chronic health conditions, non-profit organizations, and other partners working together to raise awareness of how sleep impacts our health, safety, well-being, and productivity while raising funds for patient-centered medical research, while making connections between sleep and cancer, mental health, heart disease and pediatric health," said Will Headapohl, chairman of the American Sleep Apnea Association, which sponsors the Sleeptember Campaign.
Good sleep promotes good health. Sleep represents a third of every person's life and it has a tremendous impact on how we live, function and perform during the other two-thirds of our lives. It is indeed as vital as the air we breathe and the food we eat, especially for those with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems.
Untreated sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss are associated with a significant increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, certain types of cancer, automobile crashes, on-the-job accidents, and total mortality along with impaired work productivity, academic performance, and reduced quality of life.2 The Sleeptember community seeks to crowdsource funds to provide support to researchers to confirm connections and find new discoveries to improve outcomes and interventions for the following:
- Sleep and Cancer: There is growing evidence that how well you sleep may be related to the development of certain cancers as well as help you recover and respond to treatment if already diagnosed. Poor sleep affects hormones that influence cancer cells. Hormones released by the brain such as cortisol and melatonin are affected by the amount of sleep you get. Cortisol is related to stress and typically peaks at dawn, after hours of sleep, and declines throughout the day.
- Sleep and Heart Disease: According to large research studies, sleep loss and sleep complaints are associated with heart disease and heart attacks.3 People who sleep less than six hours on average are much more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and be overweight (all of these conditions together are known as metabolic syndrome. People who are sleep deprived have a slower metabolism and trouble losing weight.4
- Sleep and Mental Health: Sleep problems and particular mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder are closely linked. So much so that many researchers believe that they have common biological causes. Sleep problems are more likely to affect patients with psychiatric disorders than people in the general population. Sleep loss is also associated with significant effects on mood and behavior.
- Sleep and Pediatric Health: The sleep patterns of children are very different from adults, therefore deserving special attention and research. Experts estimate that as many as 30% of children have some type of sleep problem5, which vary by age group. These sleep problems interfere with health, safety, school performance and also impacts the family and sets our children up for chronic and serious health problems in the future.
"The majority of people with sleep issues are still undiagnosed and untreated; however, we believe that many are being treated for common associated diseases and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, afib, obesity, mental health, workplace accidents, and motor vehicle crashes. We know that if you improve sleep, you improve your overall health and can control or better manage some of these conditions and lower your risk," said Darrel Drobnich, president of the American Sleep Apnea Association and architect of Sleeptember.
Sleeptember is dedicated to increasing awareness, breaking down barriers between traditional patient communities, medical specialties, and creating a new cadre of "citizen researchers" through the use Web technology and a robust social media campaign including a dynamic community discussion forum, powerful social engagement tools and applications, popular social media engagement and ads (Facebook, Twitter), and mHealth smartphone research applications to educate and engage people to promote crowdsourcing opportunities for research and engagement.
"We are grateful to have great partners in the areas of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, COPD, arthritis and pediatric health and invite new partners to join us and help us make the connections between sleep health and other health conditions, performance and safety issues," said Drobnich. "All people need support, information, hope, and good sleep to give them the energy to help them face daily health challenges head on and seek better research and answers to the questions they have."
Supporters can help make a difference by signing up at www.sleeptember.org. Once registered, participants become part of the global movement, participate in educational opportunities, join patient-centered research studies, get support and utilize their personalized fundraising page to get friends, family, and colleagues to donate to their efforts.
Sleeptember is patient-supported with generous additional unrestricted support from ResMed, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Just by participating, millions of men and women will be helping to raise awareness and save lives. Connect to Sleeptember on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Sleeptember® is a program of the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASSA). Founded in 1990, the ASAA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes awareness of sleep apnea, works for continuing improvements in treatments for this serious disease, and advocates for the interests of sleep apnea patients. The ASAA is certified by the Independent Charities of America and is a Gold Participant of GuideStar as well as a member of the Combined Federal Campaign.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2. National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health Sleep Disorders Research Plan.
3. Eaker ED, Pinsky J, Castelli WP. Myocardial infarction and coronary death among women: psychosocial predictors from a 20-year follow-up of women in the Framingham Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1992 Apr 15;135(8):854-64.
4. Grandner MA, Chakravorty S, Perlis ML , Gurubhagavatula LO. Habitual sleep duration associated with self-reported and objectively determined cardiometabolic risk factors. Sleep Medicine , Volume 15 , Issue 1 , 42 – 50.
5. National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health Sleep Disorders Research Plan.
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SOURCE American Sleep Apnea Association