Young woman speaking to doctor over telehealth consult

Making the case for whole person care in sleep disorder treatment

It’s rare to find someone suffering from a sleep disorder who does not have an underlying condition that also needs to be addressed.

Jeffrey Durmer, MD, PhD

Sleep is a biological necessity, interwoven with other natural processes in the body — hunger, immunity, muscle repair. When sleep is disrupted, so are these other biological functions.

Sleep also has a bidirectional relationship with a number of chronic diseases — from obesity and high blood pressure to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can increase risk for these chronic diseases which, in turn, can further disrupt sleep. 

Sleep solutions = medical solution

These are the reasons why a sleep solution needs to be a medical solution. 

It’s rare to find someone suffering from a sleep disorder who does not have an underlying condition that also needs to be addressed. Additionally, it is not uncommon for someone to have concurrent sleep disorders — for example, sleep apnea paired with insomnia or restless legs syndrome as a primary condition with insomnia as a secondary issue. 

Given these complexities, wouldn’t you want a physician — and, specifically, a sleep medicine physician, overseeing your care? A medical sleep program provides the necessary level of expertise.

Additionally, successful treatment of a sleep disorder often requires a behavioral component to help people make lasting changes in behaviors around sleep. Behavioral sleep medicine is a specialty requiring medical and clinical expertise and is an essential part of the SleepCharge program.

According to MetLife’s annual Employee Benefit Trends Study, employees want employers to offer protection for their well-being. More than half of employees in the study reported they are worried about their well-being, defined as mental, financial, social and physical health. As these are all interconnected, a holistic approach is needed.

Integrative care provides better outcomes

The SleepCharge program looks at the whole person and integrates care accordingly. In fact, we are a Center of Expertise in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in people with concurrent physical and mental medical conditions.

Before a patient meets with a SleepCharge physician, our thorough medical intake process casts a wide net to identify underlying physical and mental health issues and lifestyle factors such as alcohol use and practices that unintentionally interfere with sleep. SleepCharge physicians create treatment plans designed with their patients’ unique needs in mind.

Whole person care results in healthier, happier people, as well as a human and financial ROI for employers. It also delivers more consistent long-term results than a program that does not integrate care, especially when a behavioral health component is incorporated into the treatment plan.


Sources (if applicable): Framnes, S et al. (2018) The bidirectional relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and metabolic disease, Front Endocrinol; Imes, C et al. (2021) Bidirectional relationship between sleep and sedentary behavior in adults with overweight or obesity: A secondary analysis, Sleep Adv; Takatoshi, K et al. (2012) Sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease: a bidirectional relationship, Circulation; Employee Benefit Trends Study 2021. MetLife.


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