The National Sleep Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety through public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting public education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.
Established in 1990, NSF is the foremost publicly supported educational organization in the field of sleep. The organization is comprised of many of the nation's leading sleep, medical, and transportation safety experts and has established itself as a well-respected source of information on sleep, sleep disorders, and the consequences of sleep deprivation.
The goals of the organization are:
- To increase public understanding of the importance of sleep to good health and productivity.
- To address health and safety problems related to insufficient sleep and untreated sleep disorders.
- To expand scientific research into sleep and sleep medicine.
- To implement public policy that promotes sleep education, research and treatment.
NSF conducts a wide variety of programs that are designed to alert the public, health-care providers, and policymakers to the life-and-death importance of adequate sleep. These efforts include: Public Education: Each year, NSF organizes and promotes National Sleep Awareness Week, which generates national coverage of issues related to sleep and Americans' sleep habits in major print, broadcast, and electronic media. NSAW takes place during the week leading up to the change of clocks to Daylight Savings Time and the loss of one hour of sleep. NSF also conducts the national "Sleep in America" survey, which provides significant information on America's sleep habits, as well as "Drive Alert...Arrive Alive," a national campaign that focuses on preventing drowsy driving and fall-asleep crashes.
The organization's award-winning news magazine, sleepmatters, is completely devoted to the subject of sleep and includes the latest in scientific research, and the NSF Web site provides extensive information about the nature of sleep, sleep problems, and disorders, research, advocacy, and policy-related issues.
Government Relations and Advocacy: NSF works with Congress and federal agencies to address legislative and regulatory issues related to sleep, alertness, and safety. The organization also advocates for federal funding of education, research, and scientific initiatives.
Support for Research: NSF stimulates scientific research through its Pickwick Postdoctoral Fellowships, which enable young researchers to devote the major portion of their professional efforts to the study of sleep and sleep disorders. NSF also supports genetic research into the cause and cure of narcolepsy and created the National Narcolepsy Registry, housed at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.
Outreach to Health-Care Providers: NSF has developed materials and programs to enhance the understanding of primary care givers of sleep-related problems and treatments. Publications targeted at medical professionals include the Sleep Medicine Alert newsletter and white papers on topics such as insomnia, sleep and travel, sleep and pain, and melatonin. NSF's Community Sleep Awareness Partners currently include more than 400 sleep centers and hospitals throughout the country that help provide education about sleep issues to local communities.
The National Sleep Foundation Web site offers an abundance of information on sleep, sleep disorders, and sleep research, as well as links to other organizations and professional bodies concerned with sleep and sleep disorders.
NSF relies on corporate and individual donations, as well as partnerships with corporations, government agencies, and other organizations, to support its programs.