All of us who have spent a night without sleep know it is
an important bodily function. Sleep disorders are common; insomnia
affects one third of the population1– and half of patients
with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and
heart disease.2 Additionally, obstructive sleep apnea
syndrome may afflict up to 5% of the adult male population.
Because of statistics like these, sleep medicine is a burgeoning field.
It is unique in that it encompasses both physicians and PhDs in a
variety of medical specialties. Pulmonologists pioneered much of the
early research in sleep medicine because of their interest in
sleep-related breathing disorders. Subsequently, many pulmonologists
were involved in developing the standards for accreditation and
certification now available for both sleep laboratories and physicians
in this field.