Canadian Sleep Society

Canadian Sleep Society

March 17, 2011 12:43 ET

Lack of Sleep a Global Epidemic: Doctors Name March 18 World Sleep Day

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 17, 2011) - The health of children and adults is at risk because we're not getting enough sleep, says the international group of doctors behind the 4th annual World Sleep Day on March 18th.

The World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) says sleepiness and sleeplessness are threatening health and quality of life in countries around the globe, and that sleep problems can be prevented or treated. Improving sleep will improve the quality of life of millions of people.

"Not only are adults struggling to cope with an epidemic of sleep disorders, but doctors are also observing alarming rates of sleepiness and sleeplessness in children," says Dr. Reut Gruber. "As many as 40 per cent of our children aren't getting enough sleep, which is not only impairing their ability to function properly, it's hurting their ability to learn."

Doctors suggest teenagers need about nine hours of sleep a night, and adults need at least eight. A recent Canadian poll found 35 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17, and 61 per cent of adults get less than eight hours of sleep a night. The poll showed an alarming 30 per cent of adults are getting fewer than six hours a night. 

"Too often, not getting enough sleep is seen as badge of honour in our society. Some highly successful people boast of only needing a few hours sleep every night, or not having time in their busy lives to sleep properly," says Dr. Charles Samuels. 

"But the reality is you need adequate sleep to function properly, to be able to drive safely and just and be healthy. There is nothing noble about not getting enough sleep."

World Sleep Day is designed to call attention to the global epidemic of sleepiness and sleeplessness, and build awareness that sleep disorders are preventable and treatable medical conditions.

The international annual event is also intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, safety on the roads and in the workplace.

About the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM)

WASM is an international membership based organization comprised of healthcare professionals active in the field of sleep medicine.

It aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. The fundamental mission of the WASM is to advance sleep health worldwide.

For more information about World Sleep Day contact Dr. Charles Samuels or refer to the list of regional contacts and additional information at

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