2005 Volume 43 Issue 1 Pages 49-52
In contrast to the fruitful achievements of sleep research, sleep medicine has never been properly defined and recognized in Japan. Therefore, it is difficult for any clinician to have a united view as to what constitutes a sleep specialist. The United States (US) has set up sleep medicine as a comprehensive clinical specialty connected with various medical, psychological, scientific and social fields, having sleep physiology that is methodologically represented by polysomnography as a common language. The US system around a core of sleep disorders centers and sleep specialists armed with a comprehensive knowledge of sleep and sleep disorders can not only diagnose and treat patients with sleep disorders, but are also sensitive to the various sleep-related problems at the work place such as circadian related safety issues and productivity. Daytime sleepiness is dangerous in some situations for the individual as well as society. Although this safety issue is an urgent demand in every workplace, sleep medicine has not matured nor established enough to respond to it in Japan. Together with advancement of sleep research, the sleep medicine community should do everything in its power to establish sleep medicine as a practical patient-based clinical field.