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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on January 15th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: January 15, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping fox

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



Kicking, yelling during sleep? Study finds risk factors for violent sleep disorder
December 26, 2018

From the article: “Taking antidepressants for depression, having post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety diagnosed by a doctor are risk factors for a disruptive and sometimes violent sleep disorder called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder, according to a study published in the December 26, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also found men are more likely to have the disorder.”

Takeaway: Here are some clear risk factors for RBD that we can look for in patients coming in for a sleep study based on their nocturnal behaviors. Which begs the question: Should family members or bed partners be asked about these unusual activities as part of the first patient encounter? That would certainly help the clinic to zero in on this distinctive sleep disorder.

Bioidentical Hormone Combo Improves Sleep After Menopause
January 9, 2019

From the article: “Treatment with a capsule containing bioidentical 17-beta-estradiol and progesterone (TX-001HR) improves sleep in postmenopausal women with vasomotor symptoms (VMS), according to a new analysis of industry research.

Takeaway: The challenge will be to see how women respond to this option, given the negative press hormone therapy has had for some time now.


Bacteria Found on EEG Electrodes Poses Infection Risk to Patients, New Study Finds
December 31
, 2018 

From the article: “Sleep technologists might not think twice about cleaning their patients’ skin to hook them up to electrodes that monitor brain waves during an electroencephalogram (EEG). It’s a process that may break the skin, but there is usually no harm done if the equipment is sterile. The problem is that many reusable electrodes, deemed clean and ready for the next patient, could still harbor harmful pathogens, and sleep techs could be unknowingly putting their patients at risk of infection, new research shows.

Takeaway: If your lab changing cleaning protocols in the next few months, this is probably why.


SIESTA project reduces inpatient sleep interruptions
January 9, 2019

From the article: “Selective tinkering with the medical center’s electronic health records (EHR) system, plus a 20-minute presentation to doctors and nurses on the consequences of in-hospital sleep deprivation, was able to change the behavior of caregivers in ways that allowed more patients to sleep undisturbed through the night.” 

Takeaway: The problem of disruptive lighting, noise and activity for patients admitted to hospitals—which has been top of mind for administrators over the last few yearshas uncovered a solution that also raises awareness among nurses and doctors about the importance of uninterrupted sleep for healing.


“Digital Detox” Platform Launches at CES, Sets a Curfew on Mobile Device Use Near Bedtime
January 8, 2019

From the article: “The Seraphin bedside book sets a digital curfew, encasing mobile devices to remove digital temptation, helping users relax with music and light routines, monitoring sleep for better recovery from the day, and delivering a daily digital detox report.

Takeaway: Finally, some technology to use to prevent the effects of using technology...  


On-the-road driving performance the morning after bedtime administration of lemborexant in healthy adult and elderly volunteers
December 31, 2018

From the article: “When assessed starting ~9 h after lemborexant administration at bedtime the previous night, there was no statistically significant or clinically meaningful effect on driving performance in healthy adults and elderly, as assessed by either mean differences in SDLP relative to placebo or symmetry analysis.” 

Takeaway: Patients who express dislike for their current insomnia medications may appreciate knowing this and other drugs to treat sleeplessness are in the pipeline, with potentially fewer side effects than the usual and customary Z drugs.


Mistaken identity: Influenza/narcolepsy autoimmunity link confirmed
January 7, 2019

From the article: “In a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, [a team led by sleep researcher Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD] provides strong evidence confirming a theory Mignot has pursued since the global swine-flu pandemic of 2009-10: namely, that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease, and that a trigger for it is an antigen not only found in swine flu (as well as in other versions of the 'A' strain of influenza), but— alas —also included in the vaccine hastily developed and massively administered during the pandemic to protect people.”

Takeaway: Some amazing research here. Still, probably best to give a nod to the article's last line: "Don't let worries about narcolepsy stop you from getting a flu vaccine."


Shift worker health and safety: Experts say collaboration and innovation key to stemming risks
December 20, 2018

From the article: “[The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] directs shift work employers to:

  • Set at least 10 consecutive hours of protected off-duty time each day. This is intended to help workers sleep seven to eight hours each day.
  • Provide brief breaks every one to two hours during demanding work, and allow for longer meal breaks.
  • Acknowledge that five eight-hour shifts or four 10-hour shifts typically are tolerable. If 12-hour days are required, include more frequent breaks or trend toward “lighter” tasks, such as desk work.
  • Educate employees on the nature of shift work and resources available.” 

Takeaway: Hmmm, I wonder how these recommendations would go over in a sleep clinic environment?

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.