Public Health Issues

It is estimated that sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, and sleepiness added $16 billion to the U.S. national health care bill in the early 1990's

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, sleepiness is considered to be responsible of about one third of accidents with truck drivers.

Daytime sleepiness has received little attention from epidemiologists though its consequences can be severe: sleepiness is involved in approximately 16% of motor vehicle accidents in England. Moreover, it has been suggested that half the work-related accidents and a quarter of household accidents are caused by sleepiness. Several clinical studies have also pointed out the high occurrence of subjective daytime sleepiness in association with mental disorders, organic disorders and both. This high comorbidity may hide a more complex problem relying in the definition of the concept. Unlike insomnia symptoms, daytime sleepiness is generally not gender-related. Absence of consistent definitions of excessive daytime sleepiness brings an unacceptable variability for proper prevalence related to age. Some of epidemiological surveys have also confirmed that excessive daytime sleepiness can be the primary symptom of idiopathic hypersomnia or narcolepsy. These two disorders registered prevalence rates of only 0.026% to 0.04% in the samples studied.