On September 7, Grace Denault provided live testimony to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 on behalf of The Academy of Sleep and Wellness.
This committee is integral in forming the framework and design of Healthy People 2030. In contrast to the Healthy People 2020 initiative, Healthy People 2030 has dropped all objectives and goals related to sleep health. The Academy of Sleep and Wellness is advocating for inclusion of sleep health goals in Healthy People 2030.
We encourage members of the public to submit comments to the committee supportive of keeping sleep health in Healthy People 2030 using this link:
The following is a transcript of the testimony provided by Mrs. Denault:
Oral Testimony Healthy People 2030 Public Meeting
Washington, D.C., September 6 & 7, 2017
Members of the Forum:
Good morning. My name is Grace Denault. I am an instructor at the Academy for Sleep and Wellness in Wilmington, Delaware and have worked in the field of sleep medicine since 1988. Thank you for providing the opportunity to speak to you today about the importance of sleep in our overall health.
Healthy People 2020 indicated 4 objectives in the area of sleep. As we journey toward the end of the 2020 cycle and prepare for the Healthy People 2030 initiatives, there remains much work to be done towards healthy sleep. We have not yet achieved our targets for the number adults with Obstructive sleep apnea who seek medical evaluation. We have not yet met the target to decrease the number of accidents/crashes due to drowsy driving. And we have not met the targets for increasing the number of hours of sleep either for children in grades 9-12 or for adults to get sufficient amounts of sleep.
In light of this and as a representative of the Academy of Sleep and Wellness, I strongly advocate for continued emphasis and inclusion of improved sleep health objectives in the Healthy People 2030 document.
The research evidence is clear that quality and sufficient hours of sleep significantly impact all areas of health including major systems like cardiac, pulmonary, endocrine and mental health. Poor sleep health complicates cardiac disease, respiratory illness, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. It contributes to auto crashes and occupational accidents every day and negatively impacts a child’s ability to learn.
We are in agreement with the need to reduce the overall number of objectives in 2030. However, when reviewing the leading health indicators in the preparation of the 2030 document, sleep health remains a viable, essential inclusion in the set of objectives.
Let’s keep the momentum going in promoting healthy sleep and managing sleep disorders. Let’s remember the recent Metro North and Amtrak tragedies, the Exxon Valdez environmental horror, the long-term effect of the Three Mile Island nuclear event, the fatal USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain accidents this summer; all were found to be sleep related resulting in human error. Sleep deficits and lack of community health efforts to prevent their occurrence, can be deadly. Healthy People 2030 will not be complete without the inclusion of sleep health objectives. Thank you for your time.