While working at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state, Vincent Mysliwiec, MD, FAASM, and his colleagues started to notice a unique phenomenon. Soldiers coming into the sleep lab were experiencing disruptive nocturnal behaviors and nightmares following traumatic experiences associated with their deployment. These symptoms which occurred frequently at home, would at times occur in the sleep lab where the patients would have REM without atonia (RWA) during polysomnography. It was odd — unlike other instances of PTSD-induced nightmares he had seen — and it made Mysliwiec think there was something more there. “It was definitely something distinct,” Mysliwiec said. “Everyone always goes, ‘That’s just PTSD.’ Yes, those with PTSD very frequently have nightmares, but nowhere in the PTSD criteria do they have disruptive nocturnal behaviors or dream reenactment.” Mysliwiec and his colleagues called the phenomenon “Trauma Associated Sleep Disorder” and classified it as a potential parasomnia. Their first paper on it was published in October 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Since then, there are a growing number of clinicians and researchers finding evidence in their own labs that young soldiers, as well as veterans, might be experiencing something more intense than symptoms commonly associated with PTSD. Moreover, they believe further study of this proposed parasomnia could be a major preventative measure for long-term PTSD complications. “If you can actually say to a solider, veteran — or anyone suffering from traumatic exposure — that we have an established diagnostic criteria for the severe sleep disturbances you are experiencing, then you can begin to evaluate treatments for this disorder and prevent longterm adverse outcomes. We could potentially treat them for this potential parasomnia and improve their sleep and that of their bed partner.” he said. “It’s an important question — and we need researchers to develop the criteria.”
Sleep technologists from across the world have been redeployed in the face of COVID-19. They’ve been called on to help COVID-19 patients, to test those coming in and out of the hospital and to help disperse personal protective equipment (PPE) to other departments. For Eduardo Hernandez, BSRC, RPSGT, CCSH who works at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, the experience really opened his eyes to how valuable sleep technologists are during a crisis such as this.
Access tools and resources related to earning your CCSH credential and sign up to receive updates from AAST.
What is a sleep cycle? Most of us know that we have several stages of sleep, but it’s important to have a good understanding of the different stages of sleep and the difference between REM sleep and NREM sleep, as well as the basics of sleep cycles.
Professionalism can mean many things to many people. For some, the thought of being professional conjures up images of business suits, strong handshakes and important meetings. But for those in the medical field—especially those working in sleep medicine—the idea of professionalism can seem a bit more abstract.