Sleep is fundamental for survival, and it has been unequivocally demonstrated that duration, timing, and quality of sleep critically affect physical and mental health, performance, and safety.
Over the last decades we have seen a rising interest in sleep in several areas of knowledge ranging from biology to social sciences, including Medicine. This increasing scientific evolution has led to the recognition of Sleep Medicine has a medical specialization because has a specific domain of investigation and diagnostic/therapeutic intervention with a high impact in quality of life. Althought, in several European countries, including Portugal, Sleep Medicine is not an independent medical specialty and sleep disorders are approached by different specialists, such as Pulmonologists, Neurologists, Dentists, ENT, Maxillofacial Surgeons, and Psychologists, among others. For that reason, healthcare professionals working in the sleep field have been looking for national and/or international education and certification in this area. The only accreditation entity that exists in Portugal in the sleep field is the Ordem dos Médicos for the medical competency in Medicina do Sono. Recently the Ordem dos Médicos Dentistas, recognized and approved Dental Sleep Medicine, as a dental competency.
In 2021 Católica University (UCP) offered an Advanced Sleep Training Course, (Coordination Professor Amélia Feliciano and Andreia Cardoso) focusing on Medical and Technical aspects of Sleep Medicine, endorsed by European Sleep Research Society, and supported by National Sleep Societies. Considering this educational experience in the Sleep field, now is a great opportunity for Catholic Medical School to create an Advanced Sleep Course gathering the expertise national and international health care professionals, where the collaborative and multidisciplinary of the sleep field may be reflected.
This Advanced Course is specially oriented for those interested to work in the sleep-in clinic or research fields and is oriented for the preparation of the European Somnologist certification for different backgrounds (e.g., medicine, psychology, research, technicians) and also to the dental sleep Accreditation Level.
In Portugal and others countries, the interest in Sleep is rising and is a growing interest not only by the scientific community but also for people searching for help. One of the main pillars of the Portuguese Catholic University is the internationalization of pre- and post-graduate courses and, being sleep a worldwide increasing problem, this international program is an excellent opportunity to put the Catholic University as an option for Sleep education in Portugal and in the world. This is a unique initiative in the Portuguese university level at the international level that can come to answer to a specific need to educate professionals to work in the field of sleep (e.g., clinically, research, education, etc).
The course would be lectured by faculty members of the Catholic University with recognized knowledge in this field as well as invited national and international experts in the different areas of sleep.
The internationalization of this Advanced Course comes at a crucial moment since we have been facing an international growing interest in the sleep field as well as an increased prevalence of sleep and mood problems caused by the actual COVID-19 pandemic situation. If professionals with these skills were needed, now with these recent developments they are more needed than ever. Additionally, in all Europe there are many Sleep Centers and minor Units trying to respond to the real needs in the sleep field. More than ever, there is an unmet need for skilled professionals.