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About Sleep Equity Project

Vision

Sleep Equity Project envisions a world where the health benefit of high-quality sleep is equally accessible to all individuals, families, and communities regardless of socioeconomic status, gender identity, and geographical location.

Mission

The mission is to eliminate the impact of insufficient sleep and sleep disorders on chronic health conditions through advocacy, community interventions, and participation in the sleep research community.  We seek to address insufficient sleep as a contributing factor to the development of disease morbidity and early mortality in health disparity populations.

History

Sleep Equity Project was launched in November 2022 to fill the gaps seen in advocacy, awareness, education, work on community interventions, and supporting translational research.   Despite a robust and wonderful patient advocacy landscape that serves many specific sleep disorders, no one organization is solely focused on serving those who are underserved at a policy, advocacy, and resource level.  There are many wonderful health equity organizations working hard on the various components that contribute to inequitable outcomes for underserved people.  Sleep Equity Project is an effort to be part of those important conversations among practitioners, fellow patients, caregivers, legislators, federal agencies, insurance companies, and corporations involved in the world of people who are underserved and experiencing insufficient sleep or sleep disorders.

“Notably, insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.." (9)

Centers for Disease Control

"Infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep. So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease." (10)

Mayo Clinic

"Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokeobesity, and depression." (11)

National Institute of Health, National Heart Blood and Lung Institute 

Sleep and Disease

Central Concepts Which Impact Sleep Equity

                                                             There are three key aspects which contribute to sleep inequities:
Social Determinants of Health                                                         Intersectionality                                     Identified Health Disparity Population
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Social Determinants of Health

Quality of Sleep and Social Determinants of Health

There are various aspects of life which have an impact on health outcomes for individuals and groups of people.  The concept of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) according to the World Health Organization are “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age” and “the fundamental drivers of these conditions.”  

"Insufficient sleep was associated with being female, White or Black/African-American, unemployed, without health insurance, and not married; decreased age, income, education, physical activity; worse diet and overall health; and increased household size, alcohol, and smoking." 

Grandner, Jackson, Bilggy, Gallagher, Murry-Bachmann, Williams, Patel, Jean-Louis 2015 Frontiers in Neurology (12)

Image Credit reference citation (13)

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Intersectionality

Intersectionality and How It Relates to Sleep

Coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.

This framework helps provide the basis for the numerous contributing factors which drive sleep disparities and impact the Social Determinants of Health.

The socioeconomic status, the stress of racism, acculturation (a new language or culture) are factors which research has demonstrated has an impact on the quality and quality of a persons sleep.

Populations With Health Disparities

The National Institute of Minority Health Issues and Health Disparities defined specific populations who are at risk based on the available data and research of existing outcomes.

Those populations are:

  • Racial and ethnic minority groups

  • People with lower socioeconomic status (SES).

  • Underserved rural communities.

  • Sexual and gender minority (SGM) groups.

Racial minorities and those with lower socioeconomic status have shown significant differences in the prevalence of sleep related problems at baseline in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. (14)

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Our Approach

Advocacy

Awareness

Education

Community Intervention

Supporting Research

Our work aims to blend advocacy efforts, also with an eye toward community interventions, while supporting research of sleep disparities.  These support our platform of addressing access, affordability, health equity, and patient safety for underserved people with sleep disorders.
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