Prioritizing Sleep Health: Public Health Policy Recommendations

Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015 Nov;10(6):733-7. doi: 10.1177/1745691615598509.


The schedules that Americans live by are not consistent with healthy sleep patterns. In addition, poor access to educational and treatment aids for sleep leaves people engaging in behavior that is harmful to sleep and forgoing treatment for sleep disorders. This has created a sleep crisis that is a public health issue with broad implications for cognitive outcomes, mental health, physical health, work performance, and safety. New public policies should be formulated to address these issues. We draw from the scientific literature to recommend the following: establishing national standards for middle and high school start times that are later in the day, stronger regulation of work hours and schedules, eliminating daylight saving time, educating the public regarding the impact of electronic media on sleep, and improving access to ambulatory in-home diagnostic testing for sleep disorders.

Keywords: daylight savings time; health policy; public health; sleep; sleep health.

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / therapy
  • Sleep*
  • United States