With 2022 well underway and spring now here, I am eager for what’s to come in the next few months for AAST, its members, and the sleep community and profession.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common type of sleep apnea, can be a serious sleep disorder, as breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Caused by throat muscles intermittently relaxing and blocking the airway, it can impair a patient's ability to reach desired deep and restful phases of sleep.
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Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep and/or return to sleep after waking. Insomnia can be chronic or acute, meaning long-term or short-term, and often comes and goes over time. Depending on its severity, insomnia can lead to health complications and lifestyle disruptions.
As nicotine is a stimulant, it is no surprise that its consumption, especially close to bedtime can disturb sleep. Nicotine attaches to nicotinic cholinergic receptors (NAChRs), which triggers the release of feel-good neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and gamma aminobutyric acid — making it both stimulating and addictive.
It would be an understatement to say that schools, teachers and students have been under immense stress during COVID-19 — turning on a dime to online learning, experiencing isolation and facing a lack of educational support and personal protective equipment (PPE) have only been a few of the challenges. However, recent research shows that increased adolescent sleep duration has proven to be a silver lining thanks to school closures that occurred at the start of the pandemic. Around the world, school closures and schedule changes in response to COVID-19 have also proven that schools are capable of changing their schedules — for the benefit of public health — which means that delaying school start times is possible.
The Certification in Clinical Sleep Health (CCSH), offered through the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT), showcases the knowledge of those who manage patient care as health care providers and educators. In addition to meeting specific educational/clinical eligibility requirements, individuals must hold a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification or its equivalent, adhere to the BRPT Standards of Conduct and pass the CCSH examination.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the general population. It is defined as a persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality that occurs despite adequate opportunity for sleep, and leads to impairment in health and functioning. It may also be a symptom of another medical condition such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Recent findings show that insomnia is on the rise. Factors such as stress and anxiety have contributed to an increase in its prevalence in the United States with diagnosis rising from 33% (pre-pandemic) to 56% (post-pandemic). Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is the first-line recommendation for managing chronic insomnia. The American College of Physicians released recommendations for chronic insomnia in 2016 stating that only after patients fail CBT-I should medication options be considered. Seventy-five percent respond to CBT-I, therefore, why are so many people that are suffering from insomnia still taking sleep medications?
Finding enough time in your day to accomplish everything both personally and professionally is a struggle that many people can relate to. Most of us wish that we could find time to do more, yet many of us finish our days with items still left on our to-do list. If technology could free up half the time your team currently spends scoring studies, what items could you start crossing off your list each day? Could you use that time to take your career in sleep to the next level?
The use of wearable sleep technology (i.e., devices worn on the body to measure aspects of sleep such as sleep/wake cycles) is increasing among consumers. Benefits of wearable sleep technology are that it collects information about a person's sleep in their natural environment and can record information over an extended period of time, compared to having a polysomnographic study in which the “first night effect” and having incomplete data in a sleep diary can negatively impact results. However, little guidance exists regarding how to use these devices effectively in clinical and nonclinical settings (e.g., sleep research, consumer market). In addition, scientists have concerns regarding the devices’ validity, accuracy and reliability in measuring various sleep parameters (e.g., sleep stages, sleep/wake cycles).