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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Division of Adult and Community Health (DACH)
4770 Buford Hwy, NE
MS K–46
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717



Sleep and Sleep Disorders: A Public Health Challenge


While we often consider sleep to be a “passive” activity, sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of health promotion and chronic disease prevention in the public health community.

Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome. Moreover, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year. In short, drowsy driving can be as dangerous—and preventable—as driving while intoxicated.

Photo of man sleeping at his desk at work

Notably, more than one-quarter of the U.S. population report occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia. However, new methods for assessing and treating sleep disorders bring hope to the millions suffering from insufficient sleep. Fundamental to the success of all of these efforts is the recognition that sufficient sleep is not a luxury—it is a necessity—and should be thought of as a “vital sign” of good health.


  1. Reite M, Ruddy J, Nagel K. Concise guide to evaluation and management of sleep disorders (3rd ed). American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2002
* Links to non-Federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. Links do not constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. The CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at this link.

Page last reviewed: September 10, 2007
Page last modified: September 25, 2008
Content source: Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Conferences & Events
bullet March 1-8, 2009
National Sleep Awareness Week*
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
National Harbor, MD
bullet May 15-20, 2009
American Thoracic Society*
 Annual Meeting
San Diego Convention Center
111 West Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 525-5000
bullet June 6–11, 2009
Sleep 2009*: 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC
Sheraton Seattle Hotel
1400 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 621-9000
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