Sleep Equity for Global Health!

In its Annual Review from 2020, the American Public Health Association signals a profound revelation: “Sleep Health is An Opportunity for Public Health to Address Health Equity.”

Delving into the details of this report, it unveils two pivotal avenues and highlights two pressing sleep-related concerns:

The Crucial Link Between Sleep and Overall Health

Sleep isn’t just a period of rest; it’s a cornerstone of well-being. This report underscores the dual role of sleep, both as a symptom and a driver of mental health issues.

Surprising statistics emerge: individuals reporting short sleep durations (<7 hours/night) face a staggering 45% higher risk of obesity.

Sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnoea and Insomnia aren’t mere inconveniences; they serve as warning factors to cardiovascular diseases, the leading global cause of mortality.

Moreover, disrupted sleep patterns pave a sad path towards Alzheimer’s Disease, as reduced glymphatic clearance becomes a big medical concern.

Even individuals struggling with Parkinson’s Disease find themselves trapped by common sleep symptoms and disorders.

The Global Disparity in Sleep Health

Sleep, it appears, is not a privilege equally given across the globe; it’s a commodity subject to vast disparities.

  • Socio-demographic factors carry considerable influence. Studies underscore shorter sleep durations and poorer sleep health experienced by black populations compared to their white counterparts.
  • Interpersonal dynamics come into play, where supportive relationships offer comfort against troubled sleep, while relationship stress becomes an indicator of restless nights.
  • Community settings, with their array of environmental and workplace influences, dictate the quality of sleep experienced. From ambient noise to night shifts and health care access, each factor weighs heavily on sleep health.
  • Societal constructs, from health care policies to residential segregation, further widen the gap of sleep inequity.

In response to these revelations, the report suggests a multi-faceted approach:

  • Advocating for awareness of socio-demographic sleep disparities to tailor interventions and services accordingly.
  • Supporting family and group-based interventions to foster a collective understanding of sleep’s importance and impact within private households.
  • Advocating for community-level changes, from flexible work hours to rethinking school start times, to enhance sleep health.
  • Proposing societal-level shifts through cultural leadership and policy amendments like elimination of day light saving time, tax incentives for corporate wellness programs to foster a culture that prioritizes sleep health.


Sleep health isn’t merely an individual concern—it’s a collective imperative!

From employers to policymakers, from educators to health care specialists, each of us holds a pivotal role in leading a culture where sleep is respected as a cornerstone of well-being.

As the report concludes, a holistic approach to sleep health is the key to unlocking a healthier, more equitable future for us all.

If you want to get deeper into the issue of sleep health, here is the complete report of APHA.