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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on August 20th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: August 20, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping wild panzer turtle

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



How a Drowsy Driving Community Health Initiative Made a Difference
August 15, 2019

From the article: “Faculty affiliated with Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management (SHTM) with backgrounds in sleep diagnostics, respiratory care, social work, and public health recognized that drowsy driving was particularly problematic in the local area and throughout New York and that public awareness about the danger was limited. To address the issue of drowsy driving, the authors of this article partnered with the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) to develop an interactive and educational website, stopdrowsydriving.org, and launched a prevention of drowsy driving social media campaign.

Takeaway: Inspired? At the end of the article are myriad other ways to take up this effort in your own communities to expand awareness of drowsy driving.  


Insomnia in elderly patientsvarious ways to manage
August 12, 2019

From the research study: “Effective management of sleep disorders improves the quality of life of patients struggling with this disorder and prevents the occurrence of depression and anxiety, which often coexist with insomnia.

Takeaway: Just because patients are elderly doesn't mean their sleepiness and poor sleep problems are a natural part of aging. In fact, according to this and other research, sleep disorders aren't a natural outcome of aging, but the result of other conditions. Our job in the sleep lab is to help all patients reclaim their daytime energy and nighttime sleep, regardless of age.


Traumatic childhood experiences and multiple dimensions of poor sleep among adult women
August 12, 2019

From the column: “We used a large cohort of US women, 35–74 years old, enrolled in the Sister Study from 2003 to 2009. Self-reports of specific TCEs occurring before the age of 18 years included sexual, physical, and psychological/emotional trauma; natural disasters; major accidents; and household dysfunction.

Takeaway: Paralleling the July 2019 Journal Club topic, continued research into TCEs (traumatic childhood experiencesalso more commonly referred to as ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences) continues to reveal more links between past trauma and present sleep disorders. This topic isn't going to go away any time soon. 


Evaluation and Management of Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome. An Official American Thoracic Society Clinical Practice Guideline
August 1, 2019

From the guideline: “The purpose of this guideline is to improve early recognition of obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) and advise clinicians concerning the management of OHS, with the goal of reducing variability in clinical practice. The guideline should empower clinicians to make appropriate clinical decisions about the management of patients with OHS in the context of individual patient values and preferences. For each recommendation, the reader is strongly encouraged to consider both the summary of the evidence reviewed and discussed by the panel as well as the remarks for each specific question, including the values and preferences. Undoubtedly, no guideline can account for all clinical scenarios.

Takeaway: If you're not yet aware of this updated guideline, now's the time to take a look at it and see how it might influence your policies and procedures in your own sleep clinics. 


How to Get Sleep Apnea Patients into Well-Fitting Interfaces…Remotely
August 15, 2019

From the article: “When people who suspect they have a sleep disorder live far from the nearest sleep medicine clinic, they may turn to telemedicine providers. These days, even patients who do an in-person initial visit may have subsequent visits handled remotely—such as a diagnosis via home sleep test, followed by auto-CPAP titration. But how do you ensure patients are matched properly to their PAP interfaces, when you don’t have the luxury of an in-person fitting?

Takeaway: It's a legit question—thank you, Sleep Review, for asking it!and some or all of the practices outlined here may become a future protocol for sleep technologists working in a telemedicine setting.


First Non-Controlled Substance Treatment for Narcolepsy
August 15, 2019

From the article: “The FDA has approved pitolisant (Wakix, Harmony Biosciences) for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in adult patients with narcolepsy. This is the first treatment for narcolepsy approved by the agency that is not considered a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Takeaway: Progress for people with narcolepsy! 


Asking patients the right questions isn’t as easy as you think
August 19, 2019

From the commentary: “When the patient says, 'Nope, no changes,' he means, 'I’m still not taking that blood pressure medicine I can’t afford that you prescribed a while ago. I’m still taking my cholesterol medicine in the morning because I can’t remember to take it at night, and I’m taking it every other day because I read on the internet that it’s bad for you, but you tell me it’s good for me, so I’ve compromised at taking it every other day. I’ve been doing it that way for months, so that hasn’t changed either.'

Takeaway: This confirms just how important it is for sleep technologists to have thoughtful communication with their patients, especially those already using medical devices like PAP.  


A Reader Sounds the Sleeplessness Alarm on a Public Safety Issue
August 13, 2019

From the blog: “Why isn’t recovery sleep enough to restore full functioning for sleep-deprived air traffic controllers? We’ve seen a growing body of research that demonstrates the limits of recovery sleep, including the weekend catch up sleep that a lot of people rely on.
The problem goes beyond sleep. It’s also about bio time. …For air traffic control workers on rotating day-night shifts, it’s nearly impossible to maintain an in-sync bio clock and healthy biorhythms. Disruptions to circadian rhythms do more than impede and impair sleep. Problems with bio time have a ripple effect that interferes with almost every aspect of the body’s functioning, both physiological and cognitive

Takeaway: This is one of Dr. Breus's better columns of late, and it's also refreshing to know that readers are actively trying to understand the links between poor sleep and public safety.

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.