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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on July 11th, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: July 11, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice


While You Were Sleeping: What Sleep Technologists Need to Know This Week

Your media watchdog for headlines and trends relevant to sleep technology and patient education.


AASM publishes consensus statement for pediatric sleep durations
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
June 23, 2016

From the article: “In the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine published consensus recommendations for the amount of sleep needed to promote optimal health in children and adolescents between the ages of 4 months and 18 years”

“Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine”

Takeaway:  The media has been very good about reporting on the release of this new position statement, with coverage from CBS News, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and TIME.  Likely, the concerted efforts of Start School Later campaigns nationwide helped inspire these more detailed guidelines, as parents, communities, and school systems have become engaged in a rigorous review of answers to questions about what adequate sleep looks like for children of all ages.

If you work with pediatric patients, this is probably old news but helpful to visit and review in relation to workplace protocols and patient education. If you don’t work with pediatric patients, you will still need to be aware of these recommendations, especially if you are studying for your PSG registry or your CCSH.


Drowsy driving and car crashes: How night-shift work contributes to traffic dangers
Journalist’s Resource/Harvard Kennedy School
June 28, 2016

From the article: “To learn more about the causes and consequences of drowsy driving, a group of eight researchers studied the driving habits of night-shift workers. The group, led by Michael L. Lee of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, observed 16 night-shift workers as they completed certain driving tasks on a closed track at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in Massachusetts. The scholars compared the driving performance of workers following a night of at least five hours of sleep and the driving performance of workers who had just completed an overnight shift.”

[Read the study here: “High Risk of Near-Crash Driving Events Following Night-shift Work”]

Takeaway:  Please visit both this article and the study to discover the alarming truth about our drowsy driving risks as sleep technologists.  For instance: “Seven of the 16 drives performed after night-shift work had to be terminated prematurely because the driver could not maintain adequate control of the vehicle. This did not occur after drivers had at least five hours of sleep.”

We may be superheroes when it comes to treating other people’s sleep disorders, but we are not immune to falling asleep at the wheel.


Oral Appliance Therapy Demands Long-Term Follow-Up
Sleep Review
June 1, 2016

From the article: “To avoid suboptimal long-term efficacy, [Marie Marklund, DDS, PhD] believes patients should be subjected to repeated polysomnographic recordings, be fitted with new devices whenever appropriate, and consider treatments other than OAs, including CPAP devices… Although the group did not demonstrate any change in the degree of mandibular advancement, she notes that bite changes also should be closely monitored.”

Takeaway: This news may make some anti-OAT techs happy, but the fact is, with any treatment (including CPAP), follow through and observation is critical to outcome success and patient compliance. This was a small study, but it certainly highlights the value of keeping patients tethered to clinics through post-therapy care to ensure management of their OSA.


DeVilbiss Healthcare Wins Digital Health AwardDeVilbiss Healthcare Wins Digital Health Award
Sleep Review
June 27, 2016

From the article: “DeVilbiss Healthcare partnered with WillowTree, Inc to develop the smartphone app [SmartLink], which interfaces with the IntelliPAP 2 wirelessly over Bluetooth, pulling data daily from users’ devices to keep track of their progress.  SmartLink captures both quantitative data from the device, as well as qualitative data about how they are feeling on therapy.”

Takeaway:  Congratulations to DeVilbiss Healthcare for working on technologies that make patient compliance and tracking easier for everyone involved.


Foot wrap offers alternative to medication for patients with restless legs syndrome
Science Daily
June 27, 2016

From the article: “Authors from Lake Erie Research Institute in Pennsylvania report an adjustable foot wrap used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS) is 1.4 times more effective than the standard pharmaceutical treatment.”

Takeaway:  Most sleep technologists have chronicled the impact of opioid use in sleep studies they’ve performed.  For patients with RLS and OSA as comorbidities, the use of opioids is concerning; not only are there side effects that can leave these patients with daytime sleepiness, but these drugs can dramatically worsen the severity of sleep-breathing disorders. This potential nonpharmaceutical treatment for RLS shows a great deal of promise for skirting the issues of addiction as well.  Let your doctors know about this study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association: “Targeted Pressure on Abductor Hallucis and Flexor Hallucis Brevis Muscles to Manage Moderate to Severe Primary Restless Legs Syndrome” - http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2531565


10 Memes That Perfectly Describe Life as a Medical Professional
Capterra (blog)
June 24, 2016

From the article: “Sometimes, as a medical professional, you just need a good laugh to get through the day.  In honor of all of the face-palm moments and sighs of exacerbation, we want you to know that we are with you.  We salute your efforts to make the world a healthier place. Check out these 10 memes that will make you chuckle at what life throws at you.”

Takeaway:  Sometimes your only good option is to just acknowledge the struggle is real… then laugh.  Each of these memes touches on the impacts of poor health literacy on patient behaviors.


Sleep Study Standard Open for Public Comment
American Academy of Physician’s Assistants
June 2016

From the article: “A proposed standard from Joint Commission would limit sleep study interpretation to physicians who are board certified in sleep medicine, who have completed a fellowship in sleep medicine, or who have demonstrated competence as attested to by a physician who is board certified in sleep medicine.”

Takeaway:  While this discussion is targeted to the interests of physician’s assistants working in the field of sleep medicine, sleep technologists and clinical sleep educators (CCSH) should be aware of these movements within our field to expand or redefine scope of practice.  Also, changes in language defining who can interpret sleep studies will have some effect on sleep center accreditation. 

About the author

Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily.  She generates content for inboundMed and SomnoSure and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and MultipleSclerosis.net, among other places.

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