The world is facing an epidemic of sleep and motion sickness and obesity are driving it.
Sleep medicine is becoming the new normal for some.
But some sleep experts fear the new generation of doctors are misdiagnosing patients and failing to understand their condition.
The first in a three-part series, the Sleep Medicine Revolution series looks at the latest advances in the field, from the breakthrough in oxygen-carrying bacteria to the breakthroughs in brain-based prosthetics.
In this series, New Scientist looks at why so many doctors are prescribing sleep medicine, and what is at stake for the future of our health.
Sleep doctors are taking notice.
A recent survey by the American Sleep Association found that 60% of sleep specialists surveyed said they were looking at a shift to the sleep medicine field, up from 40% a decade ago.
Many sleep specialists believe the industry is ready to take the reins.
The problem is that there is no clear understanding of what a sleep medicine specialist is.
Dr Robert Riggs, chair of the sleep and sleep medicine committee at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says it is important to understand what sleep medicine is.
He says it takes a lot of time and practice to be able to diagnose and treat sleep disorders effectively.
Dr Riggs has studied the effects of sleep medicine and is now involved in a collaboration with the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to make sleep medicine more accessible and affordable.
In fact, he says, a doctor in the US now has the ability to prescribe a sleep disorder with just a few simple questions, which are answered with a simple Google search.
“In other words, you have the right questions answered,” he says.
The best way to diagnose sleep disorders is to use an automated tool called the sleep quality score, which takes into account your sleep habits and medical history.
It also provides an accurate snapshot of your sleep patterns, according to Dr Rigges.
If your sleep quality scores are lower than the median, you might be sleeping too much, too little or too little.
The better your sleep is, the better your chances of getting a sleep diagnosis, he explains.
“We think the quality score is really the only way to go in terms of getting the best quality of sleep for a particular person,” he explains, noting that the algorithm has been around for years, and that it has been validated in other countries.
“It is also a good test of whether your sleep has been disturbed in the past,” Dr Riggle says.
“If it has, we can treat that by asking you a lot more questions, so that we can detect any potential disturbances.”
The latest breakthrough in the sleep science The sleep quality tool was developed by Dr Riggers and colleagues in 2011.
“When we started doing the tests, we were surprised to find that we were getting different results for the same type of person,” Dr Gavilas says.
Sleep quality tests can tell you how well you sleep, but they can’t tell you whether you are at risk of developing sleep disorders.
Dr Givilas developed the tool in collaboration with Dr Rigo, a sleep specialist in Florida.
The team took a detailed history of the patient and their medical history, and then took a series of tests called a sleep quality scale.
They took the sleep score, the amount of sleep you have, and the amount you can manage to fall asleep.
“This is where you get to know how much sleep you need to be well,” Dr Gabilas explains.
He and his team then used this information to determine the type of sleep disorder that the patient had.
“You can then diagnose it based on the level of sleep impairment you have,” Dr Srinivas says.
Dr Svinivas is a sleep expert and assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
He was inspired by Dr Gibson’s study.
“He wanted to look at sleep in general, and he looked at how much the body was getting in and out of sleep, how much time was being spent in the bed and what the sleep patterns were,” Dr Dias says.
These are things you don’t get to see in a sleep analysis like a sleep score.
Dr Dios has developed an algorithm called the Sleep Quality Score to predict how well a person will sleep and how well they will manage to stay asleep.
He has also developed an automated sleep tool that helps doctors make this diagnosis.
“One of the first things we learned was that the best way for us to predict if someone has a sleep problem was to take a sleep survey,” Dr Vissar says.
It is important for doctors to understand the potential benefits of using this sleep quality test, Dr Sinivas says, adding that the data from this test can be used in other ways, such as predicting a person’s risk of depression, bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions.
“The most important thing that we know is that sleep quality