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By: Tamara Sellman on April 30th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: April 30, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

cat sleeping on rail

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



First maps of two melatonin receptors essential for sleep
DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory via SCIENCE DAILY
April 24, 2019

From the article: An international team of researchers used an X-ray laser to create the first detailed maps of two melatonin receptors that tell our bodies when to go to sleep or wake up and guide other biological processes. A better understanding of how they work could enable researchers to design better drugs to combat sleep disorders, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Takeaway: It's amazing what circadian-specific neuroscience is doing these days. 


Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
April 23, 2019

From the article: Results show that objectively measured snoring was found in 88% of the women (591 of 675), but only 72% reported that they snore (496 of 675). In contrast, objective snoring (92.6%) and self-reported snoring (93.1%) were nearly identical in men. The study also found that women snored as loudly as men, with a mean maximal snoring intensity of 50 decibels among women and 51.7 decibels among men. About 49% of the women had severe or very severe snoring (329 of 675), but only 40% of the women rated their snoring at this level of severity (269 of 675).” 

Takeaway: Probably not news to sleep techs. Female patients do seem to deny they snore at least as much as their male counterparts (at least in my experience). There does seem to be a stigma associated with snoring for women that needs to be addressed. 


Does evidence support “banking/extending sleep” by shift workers to mitigate fatigue, and/or to improve health, safety, or performance? A systematic review
April 26, 2019

From the abstract: “This systematic review identifies gaps in research of shift workers on the efficacy of banking sleep as a fatigue risk management strategy. The available evidence supports banking sleep prior to shiftwork as a strategy for improved patient safety, performance, and reducing acute fatigue.

Takeaway: Workplace safety continues to be a place to watch for progressive policy development related to sleep deprivation and public safety. 


9 Techniques to Clear Hurdles for Home Sleep Testing Preauthorization
April 25, 2019

From the article: Prior authorization isn’t just for in-lab sleep studies. Some third-party payors require advance paperwork for home testing as well.

Takeaway: Some great practical advice here and options for when you still receive a denial after jumping through all of the PA hoops. 


Mark Zuckerberg Made a 'Sleep Box' for His Wife
April 29, 2019

From the article: His wife Priscilla Chan knows that their children usually wake up between 6-7 a.m., so she got into the habit during the night of checking the time on her phone to see whether she needed to get up. The problem is, knowing the time 'stresses her out and she can't fall back asleep.' …The solution, as Zuckerberg viewed it, was to create a new device that indicates when it's the right time to get up for the kids, but isn't a distraction at any other time. The end result is a 'sleep box.'

Takeaway: Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia has already been a solution to this problem. But Zuckerberg could very well clean up if he capitalizes on this invention. Certainly, nightstand smartphone distractions are a common 21st-century sleep hygiene problem.  


What to Know Before Giving Your Child Melatonin Gummies as a Sleep Aid, According to a Doctor
April 24, 2019

From the article: Is synthetic melatonin a quick fix for restless children? Probably not. …In an interview with Parents, Dr. Judith Owens, director of the Sleep Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, advised on what to expect—and what to be cautious of—before adding the sleep aid to your kids’ nighttime routine.” 

Takeaway: It's refreshing to see this discussion in a popular culture magazine. Each little discussion like this helps bring awareness to people in a way they can access, understand, and apply. 


Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep
April 23, 2019

From the article: Fisher-Price just recalled 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play Sleepers due to 32 infant deaths associated with their use since 2011. The deaths were due to infants rolling over while being unrestrained, or being unable to breathe secondary to their positioning in the sleeper. These infants died of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).” 

Takeaway: So much awareness about placing babies on their backs comes from hospitals and doctors engaged in care and counseling with new parents. It seems the infant product manufacturers out there should be far more aware of these risks when designing their products, as keeping a baby supine as they sleep is not a new safety concept. 


Court Rules That If You’re Homeless, Sleeping in Public Is Not a Crime
April 23, 2019

From the article: The 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, which covers nine western US states (California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Montana) has ruled that if there is no room at area shelters, then members of the public must be allowed to sleep without fear of arrest or prosecution.” 

Takeaway: Denying homeless human beings the right to sleep in public is now considered cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth Amendment of the United States. 

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.