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December 20, 2019

A Stimulus Package to Address the Pediatric Sleep Debt Crisis in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Sleep Center, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 5Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4806

More than 50% of US children are crushed with debt—sleep debt. The 2014 National Sleep in America poll1 found that half of youth obtain less sleep than recommended on school nights, meaning approximately 29 million children in the United States are deprived of one of the most important basic needs for optimal health and well-being. This debt is especially salient because insufficient, irregular, and poor-quality sleep is a risk factor for common concerns that dominate pediatric practice, including obesity, mental health problems, and learning difficulties.2,3 However, sleep is rarely effectively addressed in primary care.

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