Why is there such a prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders?
Why is there such a prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders? I think it has to do with our attitude towards sleep. Because we in the sleep community, we realize that there are more and more things that can disrupt sleep. But we have this culture, a kind of a macho culture. Men and women, they can get by on five hours of sleep. And this starts early, we somehow rather, we do not recognize the importance of sleep. And our teenagers, teenagers text, they watch TV late at night, they do a lot of homework and they get up early in the morning to go to school. That is a bad attitude about sleep perpetuated through the rest of our lives. So, I think the reason it is under-diagnosed because it is the ostrich putting our head in the sand phenomenon. There are also problems with the appropriate treatment of sleep problems. It is very easy for a generalist to reach for a script pad, give you something for insomnia. Or to say, you are tired, you must be depressed and take an anti-depressant off the shelf and give you a sample. But, it takes a level of investigation and a different level of concern to be able to know when to use those medications. That is the reason I believe there is such a prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders because one, we ignore it in society, we want to put our heads on the sand about it; and two, there is an over prescription of anti-depressants and easy fixes.