Research Article
Issue Date: January/February 2018
Published Online: December 01, 2017
Updated: April 30, 2020
Sleep as an Occupational Need
Author Affiliations
  • Nicole J. Tester, PhD, MOT, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, University of Florida Health Rehabilitation, Gainesville;
  • Joanne Jackson Foss, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor Emerita, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Neurologic Conditions / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Columns: The Issue Is . . .
Research Article   |   December 01, 2017
Sleep as an Occupational Need
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2017, Vol. 72, 7201347010.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2017, Vol. 72, 7201347010.

In the same way the human body requires food, hydration, and oxygen, it also requires sleep. Even among healthy people, the amount and quality of sleep substantially influence health and quality of life because sleep helps regulate physiological functioning. Given the impact of sleep on participation, the American Occupational Therapy Association reclassified sleep from an activity of daily living to an occupational domain. Poor sleep is a frequent medical complaint, especially among populations with neurological impairment. Occupational therapy practitioners should consider routinely screening for factors affecting their clients’ sleep. By addressing such factors, as well as related routines and habits, practitioners can enhance the effectiveness of rehabilitation, promote health and well-being, and increase engagement and life quality. Practitioners should acknowledge the importance of sleep in practice, and the study of sleep should be prioritized by researchers in the field to meet client needs and establish evidence for interventions.