The Practice of Sleep Medicine Around The World: Challenges, Knowledge Gaps and Unique Needs


Sleep is an important physiological function that contributes significantly to the health and well-being of people worldwide. In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, sleep problems have been reported across various age groups from childhood to the elderly population. It is therefore noteworthy to access and report the state of sleep medicine practice in Nigeria as well as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the establishment of a successful sleep medicine program in the country.

Sleep problems appear to be on the rise in the Nigerian population. This may be due to an increase in the prevalence of some risk factors for sleep disorders. It can also be attributed to the growing interest in sleep research and clinical sleep medicine practice by a wide range of specialists. However, the practice of sleep medicine in Nigeria appears to be significantly limited by the poor manpower development, lack of sleep societies/organizations, lack of training programs, lack of equipment and sleep laboratories, limited treatment options, inadequate funding, poor national awareness, and political will. The increasing political unrest and brain drain of health professionals constitute a major threat to the availability of human resources.

The practice of sleep medicine in Nigeria is faced with challenges as well as diverse opportunities. Thus, sleep medicine practice in Nigeria has the potential to grow rapidly and contribute significantly to the global picture if given attention. The growing interest of Nigerian researchers in Sleep medicine, especially in the last decade, as well as the large population of Nigerians, many of whom have risk factors for sleep disorders, suggest that Nigeria may be a significant contributor to the global burden of sleep disorders. Therefore, we suggest concerted and coordinated efforts to enhance the strengths and opportunities highlighted while minimising or eliminating the challenges to improve the practice of sleep medicine in Nigeria.

Keywords: Nigeria, Sleep disorders, Sleep medicine program, Sleep practice, Sleep training.

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