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An introduction and invitation to join our sleep health community

Published:January 13, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2014.12.007
      I am thrilled to introduce Sleep Health to the sleep research and sleep policy landscape. As the official journal of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), we are creating a novel and accessible platform for high-quality and policy-relevant research on sleep, health, and society. We seek to provide a wide-ranging scope that fosters the cross-pollination of ideas and research across multiple disciplines and expands the growing sleep health community. We hope that the enhanced exchange of sleep health knowledge will improve the sleep health of the global population. Our goal is to publish studies that fit into 3 basic areas:
      • 1.)
        Articles that advance our understanding of disparities in sleep across various populations around the world with particular interest in social, contextual, and policy factors.
      • 2.)
        Studies that improve our understanding and documentation of the consequences of sleep patterns and sleep behaviors on health, psychological well-being, cognitive functioning, and safety.
      • 3.)
        Research and editorials that assess the policy implications of sleep behaviors and evaluate interventions and policies that may improve sleep health.
      We aim to distinguish ourselves from the coexisting sleep research journals through our population health perspective. Given my doctoral and postdoctoral training in population studies and as an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Public Health Program at Stony Brook University, I bring a public health and social epidemiologic orientation to the Journal as its Editor-in-Chief. I consider poor sleep health to be both an underrecognized public health issue and a social justice concern.
      • Hale L
      Inadequate sleep duration as a public health and social justice problem: can we truly trade off our daily activities for more sleep?.
      Specifically, more disadvantaged populations are frequently at higher risks for having nonrestorative or inadequate sleep, which creates a feedback loop that perpetuates social disparities in health and well-being.
      • Hale B.
      • Hale L.
      Is justice good for your sleep? (And therefore, good for your health?).
      • Hale L.
      • Hale B.
      Treat the source not the symptoms: why thinking about sleep informs the social determinants of health.
      This personally motivates me to present in this Journal the best, most interesting, and most innovative science that engages and elevates the dialogue about sleep health in our societies. We aspire to be the primary academic outlet for addressing the social science and population health aspects of sleep. The scope of the Journal extends across diverse sleep-related fields, including anthropology, education, health services research, human development, international health, law, mental health, nursing, nutrition, psychology, public health, public policy, social work, transportation studies, fatigue management, and sociology.
      Although this broad interdisciplinary scope may seem comprehensive, it is worth noting what Sleep Health is not about. We are not seeking studies that investigate basic sleep science, nor ones that address the clinical aspects of the diagnosis and/or treatment of sleep disorders. There are other excellent academic sleep journals that cover these important domains. Thus, we see our population health-focused journal as complementary to the existing sleep research journals.
      In our inaugural issue, I am pleased to include several editorials that help set the tone for the Journal. First, NSF Chairman Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, writes about the state of sleep health
      • Czeisler C.
      Duration, timing and quality of sleep are each vital for health, performance and safety.
      and the Presidentially appointed and Senate confirmed Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Mark Rosekind, PhD,
      • Rosekind M.
      Awakening a nation: a call to action.
      writes a call to action about drowsy driving. Grandner and Malhotra
      • Grandner M.A.
      • Malhotra A.
      Sleep as a vital sign: why medical practitioners need to routinely ask their patients about sleep.
      argue that physicians should inquire about sleep as a vital sign. And Hershner
      • Hershner S.
      Is sleep a luxury that college students cannot afford?.
      expresses concerns about sleep deprivation on college campuses. We have divided the rest of the issue into 3 sections—the social patterning of sleep, sleep and health outcomes, and sleep health interventions. Some highlights include the following:
      • Buxton et al
        • Buxton O.M.
        • Chang A.M.
        • Spilsbury J.C.
        • Bos T.
        • Emsellem H.A.
        • Knutson K.
        Sleep in the modern family: protective family routines for child and adolescent sleep.
        present results from the NSF's 2014 Sleep in America Poll about sleep patterns in the modern family. These important recent data provide insight about family bedtime behaviors and the pervasive use of screen-based technology in the bedroom at night and its effects on population sleep.
      • Hirshkowitz et al
        • Hirshkowitz M.
        • Whiton K.
        • Albert S.M.
        • Alessi C.
        • Bruni O.
        • Don Carlos L.
        • et al.
        National Sleep Foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary.
        summarize the methods and results from a consensus panel the NSF convened to update its sleep time recommendations. The NSF conducted a systematic literature review, convened a multidisciplinary expert panel, and used the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method to formulate recommendations regarding sufficient sleep durations across the lifespan.
      • Bagley et al
        • Bagley E.J.
        • Kelly R.
        • El-Sheikh M.
        Longitudinal relations between children's sleep and BMI: the moderating role of socioeconomic risk.
        find a moderating relationship with family status such that the inverse association between sleep duration and weight is stronger among those with socioeconomic disadvantage.
      • Olsen et al
        • Olson R.
        • Crain T.L.
        • Bodner T.E.
        • King R.
        • Hammer L.
        • Cousino Klein L.
        • et al.
        A workplace intervention improves sleep: results from the randomized controlled Work, Family, and Health Study.
        use a cluster-randomized trial to identify causal effects of a workplace intervention on actigraphic measures of sleep duration among adults. These findings remind us that sleep health is intertwined with almost all aspects of daily life and, thus, allow the potential for innovative interventions in home, school, and workplaces.
      • Figueiro
        • Figueiro M.
        Individually tailored light intervention through closed eyelids to promote circadian alignment and sleep health.
        presents the results of a flashing blue-light intervention through closed eyelids to improve circadian alignment. This type of intervention could be extended to improve sleep health of various populations: adults with early awakening insomnia, teenagers who need to adjust to earlier school start times, and travelers in anticipation of crossing multiple time zones.
      These articles represent the types of manuscripts we hope to continue to attract and publish. We have been able to produce our inaugural issue through the active engagement of our editorial board, whose international members represent diverse disciplines inside and outside the sleep community. These board members help us maintain the high quality of peer review in our journal and cultivate and recruit groundbreaking sleep research in the policy and social arena. For this first issue in particular, many members of our editorial board not only submitted some of their own research but also served as reviewers for other authors' work.
      Please share the articles you read here with your colleagues, and we invite you to submit your studies and manuscripts that fit within our scope. Sleep Health needs your involvement to achieve our vision of improving the population's sleep.
      Sincerely,

      Disclosures

      Dr Hale has received or is currently receiving research grant support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute of Aging; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. She also receives an honorarium from the National Sleep Foundation for her role as editor of this Journal.

      References

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        Is justice good for your sleep? (And therefore, good for your health?).
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        Duration, timing and quality of sleep are each vital for health, performance and safety.
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        Awakening a nation: a call to action.
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        Sleep as a vital sign: why medical practitioners need to routinely ask their patients about sleep.
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        • Hershner S.
        Is sleep a luxury that college students cannot afford?.
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        • Spilsbury J.C.
        • Bos T.
        • Emsellem H.A.
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        Sleep in the modern family: protective family routines for child and adolescent sleep.
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        • Hirshkowitz M.
        • Whiton K.
        • Albert S.M.
        • Alessi C.
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        National Sleep Foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary.
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        • Bagley E.J.
        • Kelly R.
        • El-Sheikh M.
        Longitudinal relations between children's sleep and BMI: the moderating role of socioeconomic risk.
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        • Olson R.
        • Crain T.L.
        • Bodner T.E.
        • King R.
        • Hammer L.
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        A workplace intervention improves sleep: results from the randomized controlled Work, Family, and Health Study.
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        Individually tailored light intervention through closed eyelids to promote circadian alignment and sleep health.
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