Now that sleep problems are seen as contributing factors to diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even strokes, providers are paying closer attention to how they can improve patients sleep patterns and, in turn, their well-being.
"One of the underlying reasons that really wasn't addressed for many years and is now addressed much more frequently is the fact that chronic sleeping disorders or deprivation could be part of the reason why a lot of those health concerns exist," Page says. "It's really getting back to identifying what the underlying pathology is for many of the chronic health ailments that we see in the patients that we serve."
Valentine agrees, adding that several societal trends has contributed to sleep disorders, including the obesity epidemic and the "plugged in" lifestyle that creates distractions to a good night's sleep.
He says that while sleep medicine has been around for a number of years, only recently has it received formal recognition by the medical community. Now that it is seen as a trigger for more serious problems more hospitals are taking notice and seeing that a sleep medicine service line can improve quality of care and is good business sense.
"The research has proven, and not necessarily surprisingly, that sleep has a significant impact on our health and our life, but at the same time we are also in an environment where the issues around sleep are growing," Valentine says. "The reality is, especially in the hospitals, many of the people they are dealing with have co-morbidities that are related to sleep as well—so adding it makes sense for their practice."