, which is marked today 19th March, aims to highlight the importance of sleep to overall health and well-being and that people need to prioritise in the same way as healthy eating and regular exercise.
The Sleep Health Foundation (SHF) , a not-for-profit health promotion charity that aims to raise community awareness about the value of sleep, notes that “disturbances may lead to poorer physical and mental health and are known to increase the risk of developing other chronic health issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, cancer and mental health conditions” … with “inadequate sleep … also associated with a reduced lifespan.”
Dr Moira Junge, a Health Psychologist and Board Member of the SHF said, “Regular sleeping patterns are vitally important in ensuring an overall healthy lifestyle.
“Consistency is key, go to sleep at similar times most days to help maintain alertness during the daytime and assist you to sleep during the night. For those that struggle to have a regular sleeping pattern such as new parents, or shift workers that may alternate between day and night shifts, there are strategies available to help reduce the disturbances from these lifestyle factors.”
Sleep also has a direct impact on oral health too, with dentists playing a role in managing snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea and bruxism (hence the ADA’s affiliation with the Australian Sleep Association), which is divided into awake bruxism (AB) and sleep bruxism (SB) with the latter classified as a sleep disorder affecting roughly 3 percent of the adult population.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is also increasingly being recognised as an important public health concern with large studies estimating that as many as 23% of women and 50% of men have OSA and up to 13% of men and 6% of women have moderate-severe OSA. It is thought that up to 75% of people are undiagnosed.
The ADA has a range of resources available to members focused on sleep and oral health available via the ADA’s CPD Portal, including Dental appliance design options in dental sleep medicine, Sleep medicine: efficacy of oral appliance therapy and treatment option, and Understanding the role of sleep studies in dentistry