Sleep medicine in Africa: Past, present, and future

Komolafe, MA, Sanusi AA, Idowu AO, Balogun SA, Olorunmonteni OE, Adebowale AA, Fawale MB, Mosaku KS.  2021.  Sleep medicine in Africa: Past, present, and future, 2021. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 17(6)


Interest in sleep and sleep disorders in Africa dates back thousands of years, influenced by various cultural and religious beliefs. However, the practice of sleep medicine as a specialty has been inadequate compared to other regions of the world. The objective of this study was to explore the current status of sleep medicine in Africa vis-à-vis education, professional societies, and facilities, and to identify challenges of the specialty in the region. A literature search of major electronic databases (PubMed, Google Scholar) was done. This revealed that there is a high prevalence of sleep disorders in Africa and a significant association with epilepsy, human African trypanosomiasis, human immunodeficiency virus, and other diseases. There are 6 sleep societies in Africa located in 4 countries. Forty-one sleep laboratories were identified located in 4 countries. The challenges hindering development of sleep medicine in Africa include lack of awareness, poor funding, lack of facilities, and inadequate training.