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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on April 2nd, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: April 2, 2019

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.



World Autism Day: How parents can help kids get a good night's sleep
April 2, 2019

From the article: A new study out of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora has found that all sleep is not created equal — especially for kids on the autism spectrum. The study, published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that young children who have autism are more than twice as likely to have sleep problems than typical kids or those with other developmental delays. With April being National Autism Awareness Month, now is a great time to explore this issue.

Takeaway: We tend to think of autism as only a children's disorder, but the fact is that we should expect an "autism tsunami" among adults with autism in the coming years, as an estimated 20 percent of the 1.5 million people in the US with the spectrum disorder are age 23 or older, with the number climbing as more and more  children with autism will become adults over the next few years (per stats published in 2014 from Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism). This will include patients of all ages with autism, and we should be prepared to manage their challenges in the sleep lab. 

✳️World Autism Day is April 2.


‘Closest thing to death’: Simone Biles reveals how sleep helped her cope with sex abuse
March 28, 2019

From the blog: Internally, [Biles] knew the situation was a problem once she disclosed her experience with her mother. She revealed to [interviewer and actress Priyanka] Chopra that she used sleep to manage her depression. …  'I told one of my lawyers, I said, I sleep all the time because it’s the closest thing to death,' she explained.” 

Takeaway: The depression and PTSD that arise from sexual assault can be active contributors to the sleep problems of many people. Normally we presume insomnia to be the culprit, but depression-related hypersomnia or daytime fatigue is another mechanism for some. 


Missouri Dad Nestles Newborn Daughter on Top of Guitar to Lull Her to Sleep: 'It Works Every Time!'
March 28, 2019

From the feature: “A first-time father in Missouri took lullabies to a whole new level when he sang to his 3-week-old daughter with the baby perched on his guitar. …Cody Comer, 21, of Carthage, said he was playing his guitar when his wife, Chandra Comer, asked him to try putting their new baby, Carrigan, down for a nap. Getting creative, the doting dad used the little girl’s love of music to do the trick. 'I slid her up on the guitar really easily and started playing really softly,' Cody tells PEOPLE. I know she likes music so I figured it would make her fall asleep, and sure enough she went right to sleep.'

Takeaway: 69 million views on Facebook and counting.


Weighted Blankets Can Help with Insomnia
March 26, 2019

From the column: In general, the blankets had a positive effect on sleep for participants with chronic insomnia, especially when they enjoyed using the blanket and if they were already taking sleeping medication.” 

Takeaway: It makes one wonder if each and every sleep lab should have a few of these around, just in case. 


These New High-Tech Gadgets Want to Help You Stop Snoring
March 26, 2019

From the article: Despite the explosion of sleep tech innovation in recent years, relatively few companies have dared to tackle one of the biggest enemies of a good night’s sleep: snoring—the jarring sound produced by vibrations of the upper airway. Some 90 million Americans snore (men more than women), 37 million of them on a regular basis. A healthy subset of those people snore so loudly that they often disturb the sleep of anyone sharing a bed or room with them, all too often to the detriment of relationships. At times, snorers can even wake those in adjacent rooms, if not themselves. Yet, as late as last year, the most innovative anti-snoring solutions all too often involved jamming something up a snorer’s nostrils.  …In January, however, attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show saw three smart, high-tech anti-snoring devices on display.

Takeaway: This could be one specific arena of the consumer sleep technology business which could have obvious practical benefits, not only for snorers, but for those who have to sleep with them.  


Propofol: dangerous 'milk of anesthesia'
April 2, 2019

From the article: “[An unnamed plastic surgeon] said when the drug is injected, brain function is suppressed and it signals sleep by raising the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain. At that time, dopamine levels, associated with feelings of euphoria, also increase, but people don't usually feel the euphoria as they are asleep. …'However, when having only a small dose which is less than that required to put a person to completely asleep, they can feel euphoria caused by the dopamine, and end up becoming addicted,' the doctor said.” 

Takeaway: Yes, this is the same drug that Michael Jackson used and died from due to overdose.


Students educate police officers about health, well-being
March 25, 2019

From the article: Megan Vanderbeek, a senior health, wellness and fitness major from Bloomington, Minn., was in the group that focused on sleep, stress and meditation. 'This was a great way to help out the community and ourselves,' she said. 'Many students in the class are going into health promotions, and this project was a great way to see if this would be something we would like to do in the future. This helped to increase my presentation skills, teamwork skills and how to make sure a topic is directed towards a certain group of people.'” 

Takeaway: There's no good reason why sleep techs couldn't also make these kinds of community-wide efforts. In fact, it might drive more patients to seek out care for their sleep problems. 


‘Sleep is critical to human existence’: Judge orders county jail to stop constantly waking up female inmates
March 28, 2019

From the article: On any night at the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, Calif., in the wing housing female inmates, most of whom have not been convicted of a crime, lights go out at 11 p.m. But not all the lights. Those just outside the cell doors remain on, and inside most cells, the 'night lights' are 'bright enough to permit reading,' as one inmate put it. …Every 30 minutes, jailers must check on the women to make sure they are still alive, sometimes knocking on the bars to rouse them. At 2:30 a.m., there is a 'pill call' as nurses go door to door to deliver meds.
And then at 4 a.m., it is time to eat breakfast. The lights come back on. That’s the non-sleep schedule that a federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday found likely to be an unconstitutional deprivation of basic needs, in violation of the 14th Amendment’s right to due process.

Takeaway: The right to sleep is a civil (and human) right, pure and simple. 

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.