40 PERCENT OF AMERICAN ADULTS AND 70 PERCENT OF
ADOLESCENTS ARE SLEEP DEPRIVED
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL WILL GO UNDER THE COVERS ON THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP IN TELEVISION EVENT "SLEEPLESS IN AMERICA" PREMIERING SUNDAY, NOV. 30, AT 8 PM ET/PT
NGC, in an Unprecedented Partnership with Critically Acclaimed Producer John Hoffman,
The Public Good Projects and the National Institutes of Health, Exposes the
Hidden Epidemic of Sleep Deprivation Keeping Americans Awake at Night and
Its Serious Public Health Consequences
(WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 30, 2014) Millions of Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder - and more than two-thirds of American men and just under half of women wish they slept more. In modern society, Americans are staying awake later and getting up earlier than ever before, depriving their bodies of the fundamental need for sleep. A growing body of evidence reveals this pervasive lack of sleep as a public health issue, increasing the rates of serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease and depression. Scientists are beginning to find answers to the eternal question of why we sleep.
In an unprecedented partnership, National Geographic Channel (NGC) along with The Public Good Projects and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America's foremost scientific authority, will draw the nation's attention to the science of sleep - a topic fundamental to our collective well-being. Sleepless in America premieres Sunday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NGC. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com and follow us on Twitter at @NGC_PR.
Sleepless in America spotlights our nation's sleep-loss epidemic, revealing the serious consequences of not sleeping enough and explaining how we became a society that fails to prioritize sleep. The film examines the scope of the epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of sleeping too little, taking viewers to our nation's leading researchers, including:
· Dr. David Gozal at the University of Chicago, who recently published groundbreaking research showing that poor sleep may double the speed of cancer growth; and
· Dr. Jeffrey Iliff of Oregon Health and Science University, whose research has drawn new connections between poor sleep and Alzheimer's disease, to reveal what science has discovered about the effects of poor sleep and what people can do to sleep better.
The special also brings viewers into the lives of people who have been profoundly affected by our society's failure to prioritize sleep. Finally, the film explores the larger societal forces behind America's sleeplessness, from the lightbulb to our work schedules.
Drowsy driving causes up to 1,000 fatal car crashes each year. And the costs of too little sleep harm more than our health. American businesses lose an estimated $100 billion a year due to employees' lack of sleep. Through its portrayal of the latest cutting-edge research and compelling stories, Sleepless in America will illustrate what happens when we don't get enough sleep or when our sleep is disturbed, reveal the emerging explanations for why we sleep, illuminate an array of sleep disorders and explain what we all can do to get a better night's sleep.
"We knew we found the perfect partner in John Hoffman and The Public Good Projects. John has a proven track record in shedding a light on the most complex health issues affecting Americans today," said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Channels. "Sleep deprivation is becoming widespread and is being more recognized as a growing epidemic in the U.S. By partnering with the National Institutes of Health, one of the world's leading medical research centers, together we are bringing issues of importance to the public agenda."
"Chances are you didn't sleep enough last night. Lack of sleep is a surprisingly serious public health issue, and it's essential to enlighten the public before the problem becomes unmanageable," said Hoffman. "National Geographic Channel has a longstanding reputation for its coverage of science and exploration, and I know that together we'll be able to captivate audiences and help them understand the issue and the crucial need to make changes in order to get better sleep, reduce the risk of serious chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, eliminate tragic and fatal drowsy driving crashes on our highways and, ultimately, achieve a healthier lifestyle for people and their families."
"Feeling tired is only one consequence of getting poor quality sleep," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "NIH-funded research has helped illuminate a wide array of health challenges stemming from chronic sleep problems. Researchers have uncovered links between poor sleep and health issues ranging from obesity to cardiovascular disease to mental health disorders."
America's sleep problem has many sources, but most experts agree that the invention of the lightbulb was a central factor, removing what once was inevitable darkness with the flick of a switch. Whereas people used to have little to do after nightfall, Americans now live in a 24-hour society. About 15 million Americans work the night shift, making it difficult to get the sleep they need, and many more have sleep apnea, a serious disorder that prevents normal breathing during sleep, causing people to wake up dozens of times an hour.
Common belief may hold that it gets harder to sleep the older you get, but sleep problems take a great toll on all ages, including young Americans: 70 percent of high school adolescents are sleep deprived, increasing their risk of suicide, mood problems and delinquency. Millions of U.S. adults have sleep apnea, and up to 80 percent don't even know it. Sleep problems can have serious health consequences, such as increasing the odds of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke - all of which are leading causes of death and disability in our society. Recent research has also shown that poor sleep can cause cancer to grow twice as fast, and that sleeping too little might lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Sleepless in America is produced by The Public Good Projects for NGC. For The Public Good Projects, John Hoffman is executive producer and director; Alexandra Moss is executive producer; and Jon Bardin and Tomek Gross are producers. For National Geographic Channel, Michael Kovnat is executive producer; Lynn Sadofsky is vice president of production; Noel Siegel is senior vice president of production and development; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.
National Geographic Channel
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in over 85 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.
National Institutes of Health
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.