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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on January 2nd, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: January 2, 2017

Sleep Technologist Advice

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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.

CULTURE WATCH

Sleep apnea tied to diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy
REUTERS
December 21, 2016

From the article:Pregnant women who experience certain breathing problems during sleep may be more likely to develop complications like high blood pressure and diabetes, recent U.S. research suggests."

Takeaway: Okay, so this is probably nothing new to us, but if we have pregnant patients, this information should be something we naturally share with them in the event they are struggling with either concern. 

INDUSTRY WATCH

Cedar Park Regional now offers Transoral Robotic SurgeryCedar Park Regional now offers Transoral Robotic Surgery
HILL COUNTRY NEWS
December 7, 2016

From the article: “This new modality has revolutionized surgery through providing improved visualization and access to the excess tissue in the tongue base or epiglottis that causes sleep apnea. The area of obstruction is removed in a precise way, preventing the need for external incisions and allowing for shorter hospital stays.”

Takeaway: While we all know how beneficial CPAP is, for some, it's not a viable treatment option. This new surgical procedure may be just the ticket for those patients who have struggled with all other therapies without success.

TREND WATCH

Are we sleep-deprived or just darkness-deprived?
SLEEP JUNKIES
December 21, 2016

From the article: “...the big difference between sleep in the industrial world and sleep in the preindustrial world is about light and darkness. Electric light can delay or shut down nighttime physiology, whereas light from a wood fire or flame cannot. The researchers did not directly assess the quality of sleep, and this may be the part that matters.”

Takeaway: This is a fascinating new approach to sleep deprivation, looking at sleep from the perspective of circadian zeitgebers. Light pollution happens, and maybe this is a more important area of concern to investigate. After all, communities have recently been fighting the switch to LED streetlights after it was learned these cheaper alternatives were contributing to entire neighborhoods suffering from insomnia. 

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

The Distracted Mind in a Tech World: Potential Solutions?
PSYCHOLOGY TODAY
December 22, 2016

From the article:The authors propose, not that we give up our devices (which is an unrealistic feat in our tech-dependent work environments), but rather that we use our devices in a more balanced and strategic manner.

Takeaway: Let's hope this research also includes an investigation into sleep deprivation as either a cause for distractions or the result of (electronic) distractions (at night). 

PHARMA WATCH

Many Misuse OTC Sleep Aids: Survey
MEDICINENET.COM
December 29, 2016

From the article:"We were shocked to see so many people taking so many over-the-counter sleep aids, and doing so much longer than they were supposed to," said Lisa Gill, deputy content editor of Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs.

Takeaway: Maybe one of our jobs as sleep technologists is to look at sleeping pill usage more closely: how much, how frequently, and for how long. Nobody should be taking non-prescription sleep aids for years.

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

Herbal remedy warning: Woman in life-threatening state after insomnia cure tea mix-up
THE EXPRESS
Dec 2, 2016

From the article: “Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, doctors at King’s College Hospital say the case highlights the need to be aware of accidental ingestion of the foxglove plant in patients who use herbal remedies.

Takeaway: We all have experienced patients using alternative therapies to treat their sleep problems. This is just one more reason for us to educate our patients on the risks of untested therapies as well as inquire into the herbal supplements they are using, so that we can ensure there's a record of their consumption of other products and so we can help prevent dangerous interactions like this one. While we can't prescribe or dispense medication, it is critical that we get as much information as we can from our patients about what they are taking besides prescriptions (that includes OTC meds, illicit drugs, and supplements). 

LEGISLATION WATCH

Switching to daylight saving time may lead to harsher legal sentences
SCIENCE DAILY/Association for Psychological Science
December 14, 2016

From the article:Judges in the United States tend to give defendants longer sentences the day after switching to daylight saving time compared with other days of the year, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Takeaway: Short sleep impacts judgment and decision making, even for judges themselves.

About the author

Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily.  She also recently joined the team at the American Sleep Apnea Association to develop their new blog and contribute to other patient engagement efforts.