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National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting sleep-related education, research, and advocacy.

Established in 1990, NSF relies on voluntary contributions including grants from foundations, corporations, government agencies and other organizations to support its programs.

The goals of the National Sleep Foundation are to ensure that:

a. Americans are aware that their sleep is an important component of their health and safety, and that they make obtaining sufficient sleep a priority.

b. Americans recognize the signs and symptoms of sleep disorders and seek effective treatment for them.

c. Public and private institutions operate in a manner consistent with providing optimal sleep for human health and performance.

d. The incidence of drowsy driving is reduced so that it is rare and an exception.

e. New sleep-related discoveries are made that optimize public health and detection and treatment of sleep disorders.

Programs and activities

  • National Sleep Awareness Week® - A public education, information, and awareness campaign that coincides with the return of Daylight Saving Time, the annual "springing forward" of clocks that can cause Americans to lose an hour of sleep.
  • Sleep in America polls - Polls that focus on different demographics every year the surveys are conducted. For example, the 2006 poll surveyed American adolescents and young adults, and the 2004 poll focused on infants up to school-aged children.
  • Pickwick Research Fellowships - Provides young researchers with funds to carry on full-time research in sleep-related fields. Pickwick Fellows receive funding based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) schedule and years of postdoctoral research experience (from $35,568 to $45,048) plus a benefit allowance up to $6,500.
  • Community Sleep Awareness Partners (CSAPs) - More than 800 sleep centers both nationally and internationally partnered with NSF to raise public awareness about the vital importance of sleep in their communities.
  • Drowsy Driving Prevention Week - A national campaign to save the lives of young drivers by raising awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving and providing resources for advocacy at the state level.
  • Pillow Talk™ - A social networking site that allows visitors to share their experiences with sleep and sleep disorders.

Funding and editorial independence

The National Sleep Foundation is supported by a number of sources, including individual donors, sales of educational materials, advertising, investment income, grants and memberships.

Membership types include individual membership, professional membership, Pickwick Club Membership, Sleep Awareness Cosponsors and Community Sleep Awareness Partner ® (CSAP) Membership.

Grant sources include foundations, corporations and federal agencies.

Grants accepted from corporations, which include companies involved in health care and consumer products and services, are only accepted on an unrestricted basis, meaning that the foundation alone determines the ideas and content published or promoted in the program created by the grant support.

All of the educational resources produced by the National Sleep Foundation are developed and/or reviewed by independent experts selected for their knowledge about a particular subject. They comprise a task force for review of a designated project and their service is generally listed in the project publication.

The foundation's policy ensures that its recommendations are consistent with positions of the National Institutes of Health, findings of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, guidelines of relevant medical societies, and professional consensus statements or best evidence based on scientific research published in peer-reviewed journals.

Source: National Sleep Foundation Accessed on August 11, 2008

Pharmaceutical funding

Some have alleged that the National Sleep Foundation is a front for the pharmaceutical industries to promote their products through indirect advertising and lobbying Washington, D.C. The Foundation's website includes public initiatives for causes that would benefit the industry and consumers, such as increased National Science Foundation funding for research into drugs that can be used to treat sleeping disorders.

Bruno Maddox writes in his column Blinded by Science, "Of the $2,836,088 in “direct public support” the NSF received in 2005 (the most recent IRS disclosure I could find), it seems that $470,000 came from Pfizer, which in 2005 was primping for the debut of the sleep-aid drug Indiplon, which it has since dropped; $299,000 came from GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Sominex..."

Source: Maddox, Bruno. "Blinded By Science Deflating the Bogus Insomnia 'Epidemic' Corporate interests push profitable paranoia." Discover Magazine. Published online Feb 22, 2008, Accessed on Jul 6, 2008

The tax disclosure forms found on the National Sleep Foundation's website lists these contributors:

Source: National Sleep Foundation, Form 990, (Calendar Year Ending Jun 30, 2007) Pages 19 and 20, Accessed on Jul 6, 2008

Sleep centers

A Sleep Laboratory is a clinical facility equipped to diagnose sleep disorders and provide diagnostic sleep tests to facilitate the effective treatment of sleep disorders. Patients are often referred to sleep laboratories to aid in diagnosis of, or to rule out, sleep apnea, narcolepsy and other disorders which can be measured by polysomnography.

In the US, an accredited Sleep Center must have a specialist in Sleep Medicine, board-certified as recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) on staff, qualified in diagnosing and treating all types of sleep disorders.

Both sleep laboratories and sleep centers, whether hospital-based, university-based or "freestanding", are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). AASM maintains a website which lists some of the accredited centers, the ones which are members of the organization, and can verify accreditation of non-member clinics.

The National Sleep Foundation Community Sleep Awareness Partners® Web site provides a list of sleep centers, sleep labs and dental sleep professionals committed to promoting public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders and supporting sleep-related education, research and advocacy to improve public health and safety in their communities.

References

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