The free course from Michigan Medicine educates individuals on the importance of sleep health, addresses common sleep disorders, and provides strategies for better sleep habits.

Summary: Michigan Medicine has launched a free online course, “From Sleep Disorders to Sleep Health,” to educate individuals on the importance of sleep, the impact of sleep disorders, and strategies for improving sleep habits. Led by Ronald Chervin, MD, and other sleep specialists, the course covers various sleep disorders and highlights the significance of sleep health in overall well-being.

Key Takeaways:

  • The course, “From Sleep Disorders to Sleep Health,” aims to fill the gap in sleep education for both children and adults, emphasizing the importance of good sleep habits for overall health.
  • It addresses common sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy, and explores the impact of sleep issues across different populations and life stages.
  • The course provides practical information on obtaining healthy sleep, overcoming barriers, and understanding how sleep disorders can be evaluated and treated, promoting better patient-doctor conversations.

A new online course from Michigan Medicine aims to educate individuals of all ages on sleep health, sleep disorders, and the importance of good sleep habits.

The average person spends one-third of their life sleeping. But what we actually know about sleep pales in comparison. “So much time is spent teaching our youth about the importance of exercise and nutrition while sleep education is often overlooked in schools,” says Ronald Chervin, MD, a professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Centers at Michigan Medicine, in a release.

This lack of information about sleep health also applies to a surprising number of adults, he says. But Chervin and a team of Michigan Medicine sleep specialists want to change that. 

Course Details and Leadership

They’ve developed a free course focused on raising awareness and understanding of sleep health, sleep disorders, and their consequences, which can range from physical and mental health risks to impaired functioning on a daily basis.

The online course, From Sleep Disorders to Sleep Health, is led by Chevrin along with Michigan Medicine sleep faculty Shelley Hershner, MD, and Megan Acho, MD, and is taught by sleep clinicians and national academic leaders at the University of Michigan with guest experts from several other institutions.

“The course is designed for all ages and professions,” says Chervin in a release. “We realized there was an opportunity to create an educational resource for those eager to learn more about their own sleep, as well as those who might want to teach others about ways to optimize sleep health. As sleep specialists, we’ve discovered there’s a hunger for more information. We believe this course satisfies that hunger.”

Comprehensive Coverage of Sleep Issues

The course covers more common sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy, as well as many other illnesses and factors that hinder good sleep and can negatively impact quality of life and overall wellness.

The course, Sleep Disorders to Sleep Health, addresses:

  • Ways to obtain healthy sleep and the barriers that can prevent it
  • Sleep throughout a person’s lifespan, including specific sleep strategies for children through older adulthood
  • The impact of sleep issues in diverse populations, environmental challenges to sleep and the relationship between sleep and various health conditions
  • Ways in which you can be evaluated and treated for sleep disorders

Addressing the Need for Sleep Education

The need for sleep health education, according to the University of Michigan team, was evident based on a variety of considerations. “First, we realized that people don’t actually have access to a lot of education about sleep,” says Chervin in a release. “Second, many don’t realize that sleep is fundamental to good health and to avoiding many chronic disorders that arise in an individual’s lifespan. And finally, we realized the need to draw attention to how sleep is impacted by disparities, including environmental and socioeconomic.”

Chervin cites two examples of consequences of sleep disorders that are often not addressed. 

“A child may be treated for ADHD with stimulants for years before their sleep disorder is found,” he says in a release. “And once you treat their sleep disorder, our research has shown that a year later, approximately half of those who originally qualified for a diagnosis of ADHD no longer do.” 

He also points out individuals with undiagnosed sleep apnea who might experience high blood pressure, diabetes, or a heart attack yet remain unaware that these conditions may have been exacerbated by their sleep disorder. 

Chervin believes the new course will lead to more productive patient-doctor conversations as well as an understanding of the many types of sleep disorders, their impact and effective methods of treatment.

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