Lauren Hale, PhD, is the first editor-in-chief of the National Sleep Foundation’s professional journal, Sleep Health.

Hale is associate professor of Preventive Medicine in the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University. She has authored more than 55 published peer-reviewed articles in Sleep, Sleep Medicine Reviews, Journal of Sleep Research, Pediatrics, and numerous other peer-reviewed journals.

Her research focuses on the social determinants of sleep and the role of sleep in health disparities. In particular, her work endeavors to elucidate how disparities in sleep affect health outcomes, like obesity, depression, and cognitive function. She is the principal investigator of a study examining the sleep, physical activity, and screen time patterns of a national sample of nearly 1,000 teenagers who are part of an ongoing birth cohort study. She is also a co-investigator on an analysis of retirement and sleep trajectories in the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort, known as the REST study. As a member of the National Sleep Foundation’s Board of Directors, she also contributes to key NSF studies and programs.

Hale recently did an e-mail interview with Sleep Review to tell us more about the soon-to-launch journal.

Sleep Review: In your own words, how would you describe the new journal?
Lauren Hale, PhD: Our new journal, Sleep Health, will be an outlet for academic and policy-oriented scholarship that seeks to advance the sleep health and well-being of all members of society. We aim to attract socially relevant research from a wide range of disciplines (eg, anthropology, public health, public policy, sociology, education, human development, nutrition, economics) that appeals to audiences within and outside academia.

SR: How will the journal differentiate itself among the several other peer-reviewed journals in the sleep medicine space?
LH: This journal will have a population health perspective on sleep. This means that we are interested in improving the sleep health of the entire population. This also means we are interested in identifying, describing, and addressing disparities in sleep attitudes, lifestyles, and patterns among different population groups, many of which are often determined by social, contextual, and policy factors. Thus, this journal will fill a unique niche that is not addressed by other peer-reviewed journals in sleep medicine, which mainly focus on basic sleep research or clinical aspects of sleep disorders, diagnosis, and/or treatment.

SR: As the inaugural editor, how do you plan to put your personal mark on the journal?
LH: As the journal’s inaugural editor, I bring a public health and social epidemiological perspective to this role. I am interested in addressing the fact that poor sleep health is both an under-recognized public health problem and a matter of social justice.

Specifically, people from more disadvantaged populations are often at the highest risk of having inadequate or nonrestorative sleep. My first job is to establish a dynamic, robust, and international Editorial Board whose members represent the diverse disciplines in and outside of the sleep community and who can cultivate and help recruit groundbreaking sleep research in the policy and social arena. Second, I will ensure the high quality of peer review in our journal, such that all articles published in the journal represent the most current and relevant research in the domain of sleep health. Finally, I plan to encourage and promote media attention to the articles published in the journal. The ultimate goal is to advance sleep health for all members of society.

SR: What research do you feel should be done with regard to sleep health and safety that hasn’t been done yet?
LH: The National Sleep Foundation wants to encourage research that investigates the relevance of the social context of sleep. Contextual factors that are relevant to sleep can include: individual, social, and demographic factors, such as race/ethnicity, marital status, and poverty; behavioral factors, like exposure to screen time and caffeine consumption; and socioenvironmental factors, such as cultural environment and noise or light levels. There are also several areas of sleep research related to public policy and public safety that we would like to further. This journal is one way to initiate and contribute to these crucial sociological conversations.

SR: What are you looking for in articles for publication?
LH: We are looking for socially relevant articles that contribute to our knowledge and promote the benefits of sleep health.

SR: Who can submit articles and how do they submit them?
LH: We are an academic journal and generally seek empirical research and systematic literature reviews from highly qualified sleep health scholars in their respective fields. As typical with scholarly journals, all articles will be peer reviewed by experts. Prospective authors will be able to submit articles through the Elsevier website for Sleep Health that will launch in October.

If you have an article you’d like to submit sooner than the October website launch, please contact me via email ([email protected]) to discuss content. We plan to publish the first Sleep Health issue in early 2015.