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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on November 27th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: November 27, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping polar bear family

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



The First Responder's Ultimate Guide to Sleep
November 26, 2018

From the article: “One-third of firefighters suffer from a sleep disorder. Poor sleep habits are to blame for a multitude of health conditions. Aside from heart disease, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in U.S. firefighters.”

Takeaway: A great way to help in your community as a sleep tech is through presentations about sleep health you can deliver to fire and police department staff, as well as to EMS workers and other first responders who may be losing nighttime sleep in order to help keep your community safe. 


You Snooze, You Lose: Insurers Make The Old Adage Literally True
PROPUBLICA & NPR (co-publication)
November 19, 2018 

From the feature: “Last March, Tony Schmidt discovered something unsettling about the machine that helps him breathe at night. Without his knowledge, it was spying on him. …From his bedside, the device was tracking when he was using it and sending the information not just to his doctor, but to the maker of the machine, to the medical supply company that provided it and to his health insurer. Schmidt, an information technology specialist from Carrollton, Texas, was shocked. 'I had no idea they were sending my information across the wire.'

Takeaway: This article has become pretty viral and launched a lot of interesting—and equally frustratingdiscussions about the use of digital compliance tracking while using CPAP. What do you think? Does this article tell the whole story? (For what it's worth, the comments section is still open, should you be inspired to share your insider's perspective as a sleep technologist just be wary of who you might be dealing with!) 


BRPT Names President-Elect, Who Will Become President in January 2020
November 13
, 2018 

From the article: “'Steve [Marquis]’s contributions to the BRPT began long before he joined the Board,' says BRPT president Jessica Schmidt, MA, FACHE, RPSGT, CCSH, in a release. 'Steve previously volunteered with the BRPT education program task force and with the exam development committee. As treasurer, Steve transformed our financial planning, management, and reporting system. His instincts and insights are a tremendous asset to the organization.'

Takeaway: Congratulations to the incoming president, who is also an RPSGT and CCSH! 


Geographically Resolved Rhythms in Twitter Use Reveal Social Pressures on Daily Activity Patterns
November 15, 2018

From the research study: “There have been comparatively few studies into how social pressures, such as work and school schedules, affect human activity rhythms day to day and season to season. To address this issue, we analyzed activity on Twitter in >1,500 US counties throughout the 2012–2013 calendar years in 15-min intervals using geographically tagged tweets representing ≈ 0.1% of the total population each day. We find that sustained periods of low Twitter activity are correlated with sufficient sleep as measured by conventional surveys. We show that this nighttime lull in Twitter activity is shifted to later times on weekends relative to weekdays, a phenomenon we term 'Twitter social jet lag.' The magnitude of this social jet lag varies seasonally and geographically—with the West Coast experiencing less Twitter social jet lag compared to the Central and Eastern US—and is correlated with average commuting schedules and disease risk factors such as obesity. Most counties experience the largest amount of Twitter social jet lag in February and the lowest in June or July.” 

Takeaway: 21st-century behaviors will lead to 21st-century sleep problems.


I explored the inside of a human nose and it convinced me that the real business in VR isn't gaming, it's all about training workers
November 12, 2018

From the article: “This simulation is supposed to teach medical students about sleep apnea, guiding students inside a virtual nose to show what happens to patients when they sleep. On this simulation, the inside of a nose looked like a pulsing red cave, with long, thin spikes coming out of the walls—nose hairs, I assume.

Takeaway: Virtual reality isn't just for gamers!


Hikma Launches Generic Version To Halcion Tablets For Insomnia
November 19, 2018

From the article: “Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC said Monday it has launched a generic version of Pfizer Inc's Halcion tablets in the US to treat insomnia, a sleep disorder. The company's unit, Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc has launched Triazolam Tablets, 0.125 milligramme and 0.25mg. The Triazolam tablets are indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia, generally seven to 10 days. …According to US pharmaceutical information company IQVIA, US sales of Triazolam tablets totaled around USD27 million in the 12 months ending September 30.” 

Takeaway: How is triazolam different from zolpidem? Iodine does a simplified comparison here.


Why you’re not prioritizing sleep even when it’s hurting your productivity
November 26, 2018

From the article: “According to research by the Harvard Business Review, 43% of business leaders don’t get enough sleep at least four nights a week. Yes, you read that rightfor the majority of the workweek, you’re probably working with someone who’s running on fumes, metaphorically speaking. …And it’s much more than a few extra yawns throughout the workday. The lack of consistent, quality sleep has a significant impact: Rand study data shows that in the U.S., sleep deprivation causes more than $400 billion in financial losses each year and results in 1.23 million days of work lost. Americans are still not prioritizing sleep—even when it’s hurting their productivity and bottom lines. They have plenty of excuses for itfrom poor boundaries around screen time to non-conducive sleep setups.”

Takeaway: Sleep hygiene continues to be poorly practiced across a large percentage of Americans; as sleep techs, we can reach out to our patients in the lab, or through presentations in our communities, to educate people on better ways to prioritize sleep. 


Pilot Falls Asleep and Flies Plane Past Destination
November 26, 2018
From the article: “The day of the incident 'was the third consecutive day that both pilots started duty at 05:40 a.m.' the incident report said. 'This likely caused the pilots to receive less daily sleep than is needed to sustain optimal alertness and resulted in an accumulation of sleep debt and increased levels of daytime fatigue.'” 

Takeaway: This isn't the first time that a pilot has fallen asleep and overflown the destination.

LEGAL WATCH UPDATE: Follow-up on CBC story posted Nov 15, 2018 ("Woman who was raped worries about man's sexsomnia defence") → 'Awake and aware': Man found guilty of sexual assault in 'sexsomnia' case (Calgary Herald, Nov 19, 2018)

BIO:  Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily. She is also an independent sleep health journalist, writes MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.