The Sleep Health Score - a novel composite metric for assessing habitual sleep health

The reality is that sleep is multidimensional in nature and as research in the field of sleep grows, it has become increasingly apparent that relying on just one dimension of sleep to either describe sleep health or understand associations between sleep and physical and mental health is limited. In this context, a composite sleep health score may well have a place. The concept of a sleep health score or index is relatively new, and as such there are no standardised guidelines for how best to assess this. Recently, however, there have been a few publications that have proposed definitions and components of composite scores to assess sleep health.

Sleep and cardiometabolic disease risk in corporate executives

Sleep and cardiometabolic risk

Cardiometabolic risk can be defined as a group of adverse metabolic  and cardiovascular factors, including  obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia  and hyperglycaemia, which predispose  individuals to cardiovascular disease  (CVD) and type 2 diabetes. Previous  research has shown that that both long  sleep (>9h) and short sleep (<7h)3  increases the risk of these diseases  and short sleep may additionally lead  to a number of poor mental health outcomes such as stress, anxiety and  depression.

Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia in a nutshell

The three most common definitions of insomnia include the WHO, the DSM5 and the ICSD-3 criterion. In summary, insomnia is a problem initiating or maintaining sleep or a complaint of non-restorative sleep with a frequency of at least three nights a week, typically not every night. It is associated with daytime sleepiness or impairment. Primary insomnia, according to the DSM-V, is a distinct diagnostic entity, an independent disorder, not a symptom of an underlying condition. Psychophysiologic insomnia, according to the ICSD-3, includes somatic arousal and learned sleep-preventing associations. The duration of poor sleep in the acute phase is longer than a month with a defined precipitator such as stress, pain, substance abuse, trauma etc. The severity of the problem (> 3 months) includes extending sleep opportunities to "make up" for lost sleep, with the initiation of sleep longer than 30 minutes and poor maintenance or waking too early. Insomnia is a subjective complaint with mood change resulting in distress and feeling overwhelmed.

The relationship between sleep and mood/anxiety-related disorders in women living in low-income areas

Mental illness is currently one of the leading health concerns globally and a topic that was brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous studies have shown that prevalence and severity of depression and anxiety symptoms increased during the various “lockdowns”, where people were restricted from leaving their houses, and in subsequent months. In fact, the prevalence of depression and anxiety has been predicted to increase by 25.6% and 27.6%, respectively, because of the pandemic. But the pandemic-related changes didn’t stop there. Various aspects of sleep quality also worsened during the pandemic – most likely related to increased anxiety and depression. Therefore, the relationship between sleep and mental health has never more clinically relevant. Our focus in this article is to better understand this relationship, particularly in the South African context.


Health Professions Councils of South Africa


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Sleep Matters - 2022 Vol 13 No 3

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Level 2