Among several health variables, the study found that sleep quality was the best predictor of child opportunity in a region, explaining 57.2% of the variation in Child Opportunity Index scores worldwide. Furthermore, by “educateThe Children’s Opportunity Index, composed of scores for ‘, ‘Health and Environment’, and ‘Social and Economic’, showed that sleep health at the community level was the most important predictor of each individual component.
“The most surprising thing we found in this study is that not only was the sleep health of the community a strong predictor of every element that made up the Children’s Opportunity Index, but it was the most important compared to other indicators of community health predictors,” said lead author Suzanne Gorovoy, who holds a PhD in psychology and is a postdoctoral research associate in behavioral sleep medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.
The CDC statistics include population information for each census tract and its projected percentage of people sleeping at least seven hours a night. Other health indicators assessed included the availability of health insurance, frequency of annual physical or dental exams, preventive care for older adults, recreational activities, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and diseases such as arthritis, alcoholism, high blood pressure and smoking and behavioral prevalence.
When all other health variables were taken into account, tooth loss (15.5% additional), health insurance (3.0% additional), and asthma (1.4% additional) were the last three largest contributors to the Childhood Opportunity Index.
The findings suggest that public health efforts targeting sleep health at the community level may have a disproportionately large benefit in helping the healthy development of children in that community. The study also supports the American Academy of Medicine’s position that sleep is critical to health.
“When the percentage of each community getting the recommended amount of sleep and the levels of a range of other indicators were reviewed, sleep outperformed them in its ability to predict the children’s chance index for that community,” Gorovoy said. In fact, sleep alone Health and overall index overlap by more than 50%. This means that a community’s sleep health is an extremely strong indicator of that community’s ability to provide a good educational experience, a healthy and safe environment, and social support.