As more Americans come to grips with the serious nature of their sleep problems, the number of medical facilities treating sleep illness is on the rise. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine announced today that it has accredited its 2,500th sleep center, setting an all-time high.
"In general, far too many people accept sleep deprivation and sleepiness as a way of life," said AASM President Sam Fleishman, MD. "They see treatment of sleep illnesses as optional, like elective surgery. Our goal is to change attitudes and make medical treatment available."
As many as 70 million Americans experience sleep problems, says the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research. Insomnia, the most common complaint, is also associated with psychiatric disorders such as severe depression and the associated risk of suicide. Left untreated, insomnia will seriously damage an individual's health and quality of life.
Besides the effects of sleep illness on an individual’s overall health, sleep deprivation presents a threat to safety. Nearly one in five fatal motor vehicle crashes involved a drowsy driver, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
"Countless studies have connected sleep illnesses with severe health consequences," said Dr. Fleishman. "If you're having sleep problems, you don't need to live this way. And ultimately, some patients can't live this way."
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers sleep disorders an illness that has reached epidemic proportions. Board certified sleep medicine physicians in an AASM accredited sleep center can provide effective treatment. AASM encourages patients to talk to their doctors about sleep problems or visit www.sleepeducation.com for a searchable directory of sleep centers.