Prioritizing Sleep Health in the Modern World of Sleep Disorders: Ana Krieger, MD, MPH


The medical director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine talked about the importance of sleep health in modern life with the increasing prevalence of sleep disorders such as narcolepsy in the United States. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

“You could have a patient with narcolepsy that has fragmentation of sleep at night. It's not necessarily because of insomnia but they do have difficulty sleeping at night. [Sleep] can get fragmented [for them] even if they're excessively sleepy during the day. It's important for us to try to identify strategies and use all the approaches available to help each individual patient.”

In the modern world, there is a lack of prioritization for sleep among patients in the United States which may have broader implications for their health. According to a review published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, researchers recommended later school start times, stronger regulation of work schedules, elimination of daylight saving time, education on the impact of electronic media on sleep, and improvement of access to ambulatory in-home diagnostic testing for sleep disorders.1 These presented recommendations for sleep suggest that patients, especially those with sleep disorders like narcolepsy, could have improved cognitive outcomes, mental health, physical health, work performance, and safety overall.

Narcolepsy, a neurological sleep disorder, is treated with a combination of lifestyle modifications and therapies that promote wakefulness and suppress cataplexy. Researchers noted in a paper published in Nature and Science of Sleep that the experiences of patients with narcolepsy are playing a more prominent role in the management of the condition as observed in the last decade.2 Authors noted that the continued innovations in pharmacologic therapies, lifestyle adjustments, and behavioral strategies, as well as personalized care for specific populations, have the potential to change the outlook of management for narcolepsy.

Ana Krieger, MD, MPH, medical director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, recently sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to further discuss how modern lifestyles can impact sleep patterns and quality of sleep among patients, particularly those with sleep disorders. Krieger, who also serves as professor of clinical medicine in the departments of medicine, neurology and genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, talked about the current key challenges in sleep medicine and how personalized care can be implemented to effectively treat sleep disorders, like narcolepsy.

1. Barnes CM, Drake CL. Prioritizing Sleep Health: Public Health Policy Recommendations. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015;10(6):733-737. doi:10.1177/1745691615598509
2. Barker EC, Flygare J, Paruthi S, Sharkey KM. Living with Narcolepsy: Current Management Strategies, Future Prospects, and Overlooked Real-Life Concerns. Nat Sci Sleep. 2020;12:453-466. Published 2020 Jul 16. doi:10.2147/NSS.S162762
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