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sleep, health, human rights, litigation, international law


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This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


Recognition of sleep as a human rights issue by governmental and legal entities (as illustrated by recent legal cases in the United States and India) raises the profile of sleep health as a societal concern. Although this recognition may not lead to immediate public policy changes, it infuses the public discourse about the importance of sleep health with loftier ideals about what it means to be human. Such recognition also elevates the work of sleep researchers and practitioners from serving the altruistic purpose of improving human health at the individual and population levels to serving the higher altruistic purpose of promoting human rights for all people. These conditions create an environment in which policy change that values individual and population sleep health can occur gradually over time, particularly in societies with strong democratic traditions.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Comparative and Foreign Law | Health Law and Policy | Human Rights Law | International Law | Law | Law and Society | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy | Sleep Medicine

Recommended Citation

Lee, C. J. (2016). Sleep: a human rights issue. Sleep Health, 2(1), 6-7. Retrieved from