Special Article 1, Issue 2.1

Health Advisories


National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project


Dental sleep medicine clinicians have an obligation to educate the public regarding healthy sleep practices in addition to providing oral appliance therapy. Healthy sleep practices enhance treatment outcomes as well as general health and public safety.1,2

The first health advisories issued by the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project (NHSAP) follow below. The health advisories on childhood sleep duration, school start times for teens, childhood insomnia and drowsy driving are for public education in any clinical practice.

The primary goals of the NHSAP are to: expand sleep health promotion and sleep prevention awareness; develop partnerships and collaborations to improve education and awareness about sleep hygiene; improve provider knowledge and skills about sleep health promotion; recommend a sleep health data collection model; and identify and disseminate sleep health-related policies.3

NHSAP is a 5 year cooperative project awarded to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is a part of the collaboration that is focusing on the Sleep Health Objectives of Healthy People 2020. These objectives are to increase the proportion of symptomatic people who seek evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea, reduce the rate of vehicular crashes due to drowsy driving and increase the proportion of adults and teens who get sufficient sleep.

Other advisories will follow that are the results of reviews of scientific literature and expert consensus by the multiple partners in the NHSAP. Please use them to educate the public in promoting healthy sleep.


The following health advisories have been developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and endorsed by the Sleep Research Society and other partners in the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, a collaborative project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more at www.projecthealthysleep.org.

Child Sleep Duration

The nightly duration of healthy sleep needed by children varies by age and individual biology. In general the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that school-aged children and pre-teens get about 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night for optimal health, daytime alertness and school performance.

Teen Sleep Duration and School Start Times

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adolescents get a little more than nine hours of nightly sleep for optimal health and daytime alertness during the critical transition from childhood to adulthood. In puberty a natural shift occurs in the timing of the body’s internal “circadian” clock, causing most teens to have a biological preference for a late-night bedtime. It is important that parents and local schoolboards work together to implement high school start times that allow teens to get the healthy sleep they need to meet their full potential.

Insomnia in Children

Behavioral interventions should be the first treatment option for healthy children who struggle with bedtime resistance or nighttime awakenings. For those who fail to respond, or for children with more complex medical problems, evaluation by a sleep physician is recommended.

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is common on U.S. roads and represents a pervasive threat to public health and transportation safety. Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in the way that it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills. The severe driving impairment caused by drowsiness increases the risk of motor-vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that states mandate instruction in drowsy driving education as a requirement for driver’s education programs, provide comprehensive information about drowsy driving in state curricula and driver’s manuals, and include questions related to drowsy driving on driver’s license exams. The AASM also advises transportation companies to promote public safety by adhering to hours-of-service regulations, scheduling work shifts based on sleep need and circadian timing, implementing an evidence-based fatigue management system, and screening drivers for sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.

The AASM encourages every driver to take responsibility for staying “Awake at the Wheel” by making it a daily priority to get sufficient sleep, refusing to drive when sleep-deprived, recognizing the signs of drowsiness, and pulling off the road to a safe location when sleepy.

Figure 1

National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project logo.
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National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. Health advisories. Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine 2015;2(1):21–22.



1. Phillips CL, Grunstein RR, Darendeliler MA, et al. Health outcomes of continuous positive airway pressure versus oral appliance treatment for obstructive sleep apnea: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2013;187:879-87.

2. George CF. Reduction in motor vehicle collisions following treatment of sleep apnoea with nasal CPAP. Thorax 2001;56:508-12.

3. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. National Sleep Awareness Project. [cited 2014 December 28] Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/ sleep/projects_partners.htm


Address correspondence to: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2510 North Frontage Road, Darien, IL 60561-1511; Tel: (630) 737-9700; Fax: (630) 737-9790


The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number 1U50DP004930-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These health advisories are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

Health Advisories copyright © 2014 American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Reprinted with permission.