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

Sleep Medicine in Portugal

Author(s): Miguel Meira e Cruz*, Cláudio D’ Elia and Amélia Feliciano

Pp: 317-331 (15)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815049367123010026

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Sleep science and sleep medicine have seen massive growth in the last century in the world, and Portugal is not an exception. In the last 20 years, we have assisted an exponential increase in sleep disorders due to the increase in obesity, lifestyle (24/7 society), massive media utilization, and individual, family, and social commitments. Simultaneously, the scientific community, population, and media have focused on sleep and sleep disorders leading to a progressive need to invest in Sleep Medicine, at the clinical, research, and educational levels.

Despite the increase in diagnostic and treatment capacity of sleep disorders, the National Health Service, and private groups still do not fulfill the real needs. Still, in Portugal, sleep and its disorders are not fully taught in pre-graduated education. Additionally, sleep medicine is not an individual medical specialty and is shared by several medical specialties, such as Pneumology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neurology, Otorhinolaryngology, Maxillofacial surgeons, and Dentistry, among others. Training programs of the different clinical specialties do not offer sleep medicine even as an option being mandatory only in the pulmonology curriculum.

Considering the importance of sleep for physical, mental, and social health, the growth of sleep disorders and their individual, familiar, social, and economic impact, sleep medicine should be one of the focuses of health development and investment in this century.

This chapter focuses on the historical insights and current development of Portuguese Sleep Science and Sleep Medicine fields.

Keywords: Insomnia, Multiple Sleep Latency Test, Polysomnography, Public health system, Sleep therapies, Sleep medicine, Sleep apnea.

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