The Global Problem of Insufficient Sleep and Its Serious Public Health Implications
Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Department of Nursing, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Majmaah University, Majmaah 11952, Saudi Arabia
School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
Independent Researcher, 652 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M6K 2B4, Canada
Somnogen Canada Inc., College Street, Toronto, ON M1H 1C5, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Healthcare 2019, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7010001
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
Good sleep is necessary for good physical and mental health and a good quality of life. Insufficient sleep is a pervasive and prominent problem in the modern 24-h society. A considerable body of evidence suggests that insufficient sleep causes hosts of adverse medical and mental dysfunctions. An extensive literature search was done in all the major databases for “insufficient sleep” and “public health implications” in this review. Globally, insufficient sleep is prevalent across various age groups, considered to be a public health epidemic that is often unrecognized, under-reported, and that has rather high economic costs. This paper addresses a brief overview on insufficient sleep, causes, and consequences, and how it adds to the existing burden of diseases. Insufficient sleep leads to the derailment of body systems, leading to increased incidences of cardiovascular morbidity, increased chances of diabetes mellitus, obesity, derailment of cognitive functions, vehicular accidents, and increased accidents at workplaces. The increased usage of smart phones and electronic devices is worsening the epidemic. Adolescents with insufficient sleep are likely to be overweight and may suffer from depressive symptoms. The paper concludes by emphasizing sleep quality assessments as an important early risk indicator, thereby reducing the incidence of a wide spectrum of morbidities.