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Article |

It's Time to Wake Up to the Importance of Sleep Disorders

William C. Dement, MD, PhD; Merrill M. Mitler, PhD
JAMA. 1993;269(12):1548-1550. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500120086032.
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STUDIES indicate that as many as 80 million Americans who have serious, incapacitating sleep problems are being ignored—either because they do not report their symptoms or because physicians do not ask.1,2 Treatment of sleep complaints, such as insomnia, and sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are compromised by this apathy. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, which was charged by a 1988 congressional mandate to evaluate the effect of sleep deprivation on American society, found that 95% of the 5 million to 10 million Americans with sleep apnea do not know they have sleep apnea and consequently face cardiovascular complications and sudden death.1 Even snoring, a phenomenon often thought of by those affected as benign, is associated with poor prognosis in individuals who are at risk for cardiovascular disease3 and also can increase risk of stroke.4 Individuals with chronic insomnia report 2.5 times as many


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