This two-day course will address how epidemiologic methods can be used to study determinants and consequences of adverse sleep behaviors and characteristics and sleep disorders, and conversely, what determines/defines sleep health and how sleep health contributes to health and longevity. As defined in the book, The Social Epidemiology of Sleep, sleep epidemiology is “the study of the distribution and determinants of sleep, sleep-related symptoms, and sleep disorders and the application of this study to improve sleep health and sleep-health related conditions, including studies of how sleep influences health and disease”.
This course will provide an overview of the prevalence of sleep problems in the US population and the social and environmental determinants that contribute to sleep health disparities observed at the population level. We will discuss standard and emerging methods to study sleep health, how sleep can measured in humans by self-report and objective assessment, and the advantages and limitations of existing methodological approaches. Importantly, we will discuss multidimensional sleep health definitions and the contribution of sleep health to reducing the chronic disease burden, extending healthspan, and promoting health equity. This will be accomplished by reviewing extant and emerging literature on the role of sleep in chronic disease etiology (e.g., obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and aging outcomes).
Finally, given that sleep is a pillar of health alongside diet and physical activity, the course will also cover the interplay and bidirectional associations between these health behaviors.