Request for Information (RFI): Input on Revisions for the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan

Notice Number: NOT-HL-16-312

Key Dates
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Response Date: May 8, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
National Institite of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)


This is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input regarding the revisions for the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan. The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (42 USC Sec. 285b-7) calls for the development of a comprehensive plan that identifies priorities with respect to sleep disorders research and the revision of the plan as appropriate. The last Sleep Disorders Research Plan was published in 2011 and is now undergoing revision.


Planning Process Overview
Comments submitted in response to this RFI will inform the National Centers on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) and participating NIH Institutes and Centers on the public perspective and need for biomedical sleep disorders research. A summary of public comments and a preliminary planning document will be presented for discussion to the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB), and then disseminated for public comment on the NCSDR website ( The plan will undergo further revision at subsequent public SDRAB meetings during 2016. NCSDR coordinates the revision process with a Trans-NIH Sleep Research Coordinating Committee.

The strategic planning process aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • To identify potential scientific and programmatic goals and priorities for participating NIH sleep and circadian research programs during the next five years.
  • To enhance research translation, community engagement, and commitments toward improving sleep health.
  • To identify implementable strategies that support specific scientific goals.

Sleep disorders research, for the purposes of this Request for Information, is defined as the basic science of sleep and circadian biology as it applies to all tissues and organs; the function(s) of sleep and circadian biology in development, across all levels of biological organization and across the lifespan; the basic behavioral and pathophysiological implications of sleep loss and untreated sleep disorders; societal and social science relationships between sleep and health including socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and gender disparities; safety and performance; the role of sleep in psychiatric, alcohol, and substance abuse disorders; sleep in chronic disease conditions; the need for training researchers and health care providers; and the need to educate patients, communities, and the general public about sleep and sleep disorders.

Information Requested

Members of the health and scientific community at large, state and local government officials, patient advocates, public interest organizations, community-based organizations, industry stakeholders, and the general public are invited to respond to any or all of the items listed below. Facts or opinions linking circadian and sleep disorders sciences to opportunities for improved public health and broadly relevant to the mission of individual NIH Institutes and Centers participating in this RFI are also welcomed.

1. Ideas for the highest impact biomedical sciences and public health research research opportunities can be at any level of scientific inquiry including: knowledge acquisition (basic, discovery, and applied research), knowledge validation (clinical trials and comparative effective research), knowledge transfer (education and dissemination research), and new technology development. Transformative directions may include advancing personalized medicine by elucidating the biological basis for individual differences in vulnerabilities to sleep deprivation, and the psychosocial and cognitive determinants increasing vulnerability to sleep health risks.

2. Major impediments to critical scientific advances in basic research, clinical research and sleep medicine, and translational research. Describe emerging research opportunities that are not well served by existing programs and offer the highest value for transformative scientific advances.

3. Describe studies that would promote the uptake of research findings into sustainable and scalable routine health care practices.

4. Other comments, suggestions, or considerations relevant to this RFI.


Comments in response to this notice may be submitted by email no later than May 8, 2016 to: Please mark your responses with this RFI identifier NOT-HL-16-312 on the subject line of the email. For each suggested high priority area of adherence research, please provide brief background information, define the challenge and outline the potential solution. Reponses are expected to be less than 1,000 words.

Respondents will receive an automated email confirmation acknowledging receipt of their response, but will not receive individualized feedback.

Significance to Public Health

Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. Adequate sleep is necessary to maintain resistance to infection, support the metabolism of sugar to prevent diabetes, perform our best on the job or in school, and sustain the vigilance necessary for workplace and driving safety. Sleep disorders and sleep restriction due to lifestyle choices are associated with fatigue, psychological disturbances, and decrements in performance and vigilance, compromising the safety of oneself and others. Sleep is also a basic requirement for infant, child, and adolescent health and development and recent evidence points toward long-term trends for decreased sleep during the first two decades. Further, sleep loss and untreated sleep disorders influence basic patterns of behavior that stress family health and interpersonal relationships. Sleep timing and duration is coupled to an array of endocrine, metabolic and neurological functions that are critical for the maintenance of individual health and well-being.

More than 20% of US adults report insufficient sleep or rest at least 15 out of every 30 days. Sleep disorders including insomnia, circadian phase disorder, and restless legs syndrome are relatively common and present challenges for detection, prevention, therapy, and management. Sleep disordered breathing (sleep apnea) affects more than 20 million US adults, and if left untreated is associated with a 2-3 fold increased risk of stroke and mortality from all causes.

Sleep health is also a pervasive challenge for individuals with chronic disabilities and disorders that cause pain and fatigue such as arthritis, kidney disease, HIV, and depression. In elderly populations, medical and mental health consequences of untreated sleep disorders include sharply increase rates of diminished health-related quality of life, to physical and functional limitations, the ability to remain independent, and an increased risk of death from any cause.


Responses to RFI are voluntary and may be anonymous. Any identifiers (e.g., names, institutions, e-mail addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. Only the processed, anonymized results will be shared internally with scientific working groups convened by the NIH, as appropriate. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH does not intend to award a grant or contract to pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the NIH’s use of such information. Respondents will not be notified of the NIH evaluation of the information received. No basis for claims against the NIH shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or the NIH’s use of such information as either part of our evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent announcement. Responses will be held confidential. Proprietary information should not be sent.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Michael Twery, PhD
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-435-0199