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Sleep epidemiology

Sleep epidemiology is an emerging branch of the discipline of epidemiology.[1] It is a growing field of scientific enquiry, with the first documented modern epidemiological survey being conducted in 1979.[2]

There is extensive interest in sleep research in the UK, Europe and worldwide. In the UK and US this manifests itself in research centres which often have sleep laboratories where the sleep patterns and conditions of individuals can be observed, as well as the effect of various treatments. Similarly assessment and treatment of sleep disorders is evident in health care and clinical centres, sometimes in partnership with universities.



There is growing recognition of the importance of sleep on our health and wellbeing.[3] The field of research into sleep has been mostly led by the discipline of psychology, focussing for example on rapid eye movement sleep, dreaming and memory consolidation studies. Clinical and medical professionals have taken less interest in the causes and consequences of good and poor sleep. It is often used as a sign of existing disease, such as Depression (mood). More recently Pulmonology has developed methods for identifying sleep-disordered breathing, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

As a consequence the field of sleep medicine has become an increasingly popular sub-specialty of medicine. In order to provide evidence for this medical specialty, sleep epidemiology provides data on the incidence and prevalence of good and poor sleep. This then allows the collection of evidence for the causes and consequences of the quantity and quality of sleep in the population. Studies provide the direction for research into interventions on sleep to improve health and well being. The USA dominates in this field. Sleep epidemiology has provided evidence for the association between sleep and various diseases, particularly metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, such as diabetes [4] and cardiovascular disease.[5] It is also related to known risk factors for disease such as obesity.[6]

Related fieldsEdit

Sleep epidemiology draws upon fields such as: sleep medicine, statistics, psychology, epidemiology, economics, biology, and mathematics


  • Stanford Journal of Sleep Epidemiology [1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jane E Ferrie, Meena Kumari, Paula Salo, Archana Singh-Manoux, and Mika Kivimäki Sleep epidemiology—a rapidly growing field Int. J. Epidemiol. (2011) 40 (6): 1431-1437 doi:10.1093/ije/dyr203
  2. ^ Bixler EO, Kales A, Soldatos CR, Kales JD, Healey S. Prevalence of sleep disorders in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Am J Psychiatry. 1979 Oct;136(10):1257-62
  3. ^ Sleep epidemiology 30 years later: where are we? Ohayon MM, Guilleminault C, Chokroverty S. Sleep Med. 2010 Dec;11(10):961-2
  4. ^ Yaggi HK, Araujo AB, McKinlay JB. Sleep duration as a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes care. 2006 Mar;29(3):657-61
  5. ^ Badran M1, Yassin BA1, Fox N2, Laher I1, Ayas N3. Epidemiology of Sleep Disturbances and Cardiovascular Consequences. Can J Cardiol. 2015 Mar 12. pii: S0828-282X(15)00200-7
  6. ^ Cappuccio FP, Taggart FM, Kandala NB, Currie A, Peile E, Stranges S, et al. Meta-analysis of short sleep duration and obesity in children and adults. Sleep. 2008 May;31(5):619-26

External linksEdit