The sleep epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University discussed the multi-level effort needed to improve sleep issues seen in individuals most impacted by social determinants of health. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]
WATCH TIME: 3 minutes
"The other piece is, how can we modify some of our recommendations to fit disadvantaged communities. For example, we say to sleep in a dark, quiet room, but we know that everyone can’t do that because of safety issues. Adjusting the recommendation to say, put a light on in a hallway or somewhere else in the house."
Sleep is widely recognized as a main pillar to health, with chronic sleep insufficiency linked to many societal problems including motor vehicle accidents, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. Poor sleep is associated with chronic diseases including hypertension, depression, diabetes, and obesity, as well as higher mortality rates. Certain healthy habits and behaviors can improve sleep quality, but these day-to-day behaviors are influenced by big-picture, systems-level factors more than day-to-day choices.
In recent years, there have been an increase in dedicated efforts to understand more about the influence of social determinants of health, and their impact on sleep duration and quality. Some of these are factors are linked to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, neighborhood safety, light exposure, and exposure to media and technology. Dayna Johnson, PhD, MPH, MSW, MS, a sleep expert and researcher of social determinants of health, says focusing on the modifiable factors of sleep health is a multi-level process.
Most recently, at the 2023 SLEEP Annual Meeting, held June 3-7, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Johnson was named the APSS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award winner. She sat down with NeurologyLive® to discuss the ongoing efforts to improve sleep health in underserved communities most impacted by social determinants of health. Johnson, sleep epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, provided perspective on what clinicians can do to alleviate these issues, as well as where these problems may stem from.