Sleep medicine and its practice in the United States of America (USA) has grown from the first center focusing on sleep disorders established at Stanford University in 1964 to more than 2,500 American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) accredited sleep centers and numerous professional organizations supporting sleep health professionals including board-certified sleep medicine physicians, behavioral sleep specialists, advance practice registered nurses and/or physician assistants and sleep technologists. As sleep medicine continues to grow in the USA, multiple challenges including widening economic inequality, racial/ethnic inequities, and limited healthcare access directly affects the patient setting. Limited sleep medicine education in medical school restricts the ability to educate patients as well as primary care providers on the importance of identifying sleep disorders early on to improve access. The financial burdens of diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, particularly obstructive sleep apnea is seen in an estimated cost of $16 billion annually. Research and data collection includes surveillance surveys conducted by the Sleep and Sleep Disorders Team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as continuing research in the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Additional studies addressing sleep issues and racial disparities in the US are prudent in highlighting this crucial area. Continued efforts in clinical and research knowledge gaps are necessary to support the growing need for sleep medicine providers and services in the USA.
Keywords: Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Board-certified sleep physicians, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Durable Medical Equipment, Medicare, Positive airway pressure, Sleep disparities, Training programs.