Conclusion: Overview, Emerging Trends, and Future Directions in Sleep Research and Practice
Morin CM., Espie CA.
© 2012 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved. This concluding chapter presents a brief retrospective of the main content areas covered in this handbook and outlines some emerging trends and expected developments for future sleep research, clinical practice, and education. Sleep is receiving increasing recognition, both in the public eye and among health-care professionals, as an essential feature of global health and as a significant public health problem. Considerable progress has been made in the short history of sleep research with some major advances in the understanding of basic mechanisms regulating sleep-wake cycles and the impact of sleep loss, and in documenting the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of sleep disorders. There is increasing evidence showing an association between sleep disturbance and sleep loss with mental (depression) and physical health (obesity, diabetes), as well as with public safety (risk of accidents). A natural extension of this work for future research will involve investigations of whether these consequences are reversible with adequate treatment. Despite major advances in basic and clinical research, this new knowledge does not always reach those who need it most-patients, health-care providers, and policy decision makers. To bridge this gap between research and practice, it will be essential in the future to find more efficient strategies to translate new knowledge and provide additional training opportunities to health-care providers, and develop broader community-based public health education about the critical role of sleep for global health.