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By: Tamara Sellman on January 22nd, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: January 22, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

oriental shorthair cat sleeping

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



Front-loaded to a Fault?
January 14, 2019

From the editorial: “Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition, yet many clinicians and patients focus on the first 90 days. Some stakeholders envision years-long follow-up that considers the dynamic nature of the sleep disorder.”

Takeaway: If patient adherence really matters to you, you can take up the cause for a lengthier, more comprehensive patient follow-up from your lab's DME beyond that 90-day mark, or rally for more direct-to-patient communications after that period expires if your find your DME disappears after that milestone has passed. 

The Problem of Measuring Restorative Sleep
January 11, 2019

From the article: “The relationship between sleep and neurology can be a complicated one; neurological disorders can cause sleep disruption and inadequate sleep can exacerbate neurological disorders and cause neurological problems. While many patients concern themselves with sleep quantity, sleep quality can be just as important. When sleep quantity and sleep quality are impacted, patients may experience a lack of restorative sleep.

Takeaway: Sometimes, it's a chicken-or-egg tossup to determine whether a neurological illness is the root cause of poor sleep or daytime fatigue, or whether the sleep and wakefulness problems are exacerbating or contributing to the neurological illness. If researchers can figure out a way to differentiate the two, that could be very useful for treating insomnia and extreme daytime sleepiness in these patients. 


Part time vs per diem: What should I choose?
January 10, 2019

From the article: “I compiled generalized information, so don’t forget there are some state nuances. I always recommend reviewing your state requirements.

Takeaway: This article is written for nurses, but offers some good insights if you're trying to decide which option to take if you have options at your current or new job, or if you're looking for a change.


Dangerous increases in patients mixing opioids, benzodiazepines or Z-drugs
January 17, 2019

From the article: “The number of Americans taking a dangerous combination of both opioids and benzodiazepines—a group of drugs commonly prescribed for pain, insomnia and anxietyincreased by 250 percent over a 15-year period, while there was an 850 percent increase in patients taking both benzodiazepines and so-called Z-drugs, which act similarly to benzodiazepines, according to a new study published in the journal Sleep… Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include alprazolam, clonazepam and lorazepam while Z-drugs include zaleplon, zolpidem and zopiclone.” 

Takeaway: The more you know


Will Consumer Sleep Technologies Change the Way We Practice Sleep Medicine?
January 18, 2019

From the letter to the editor: “The AASM focus on validation and FDA approval is aspirational and well-reasoned, yet it overlooks the complementary nature of CSTs and traditional sleep testing. CSTs assess aspects of a person's sleep life that heretofore were massive blind spots for the sleep medicine community.

Takeaway: Here's an interesting challenge to the AASM's recent position on the use of consumer sleep technology (CST) from Drs. Nathaniel F. Watson, Colin Lawlor and Roy J.E.M. Raymann.


3 Amazing Benefits of GABA: What you should know about a popular supplement for sleep, stress and anxiety
January 3, 2019

From the column: “GABA is one of the supplements I get asked about a lot by patients, often with looks of confusion on their faces. I think the confusion comes from the fact that GABA is both a chemical produced within the body AND a supplement that’s made for ingestion. Unlike melatonin, which is also produced within the body and as a supplement, GABA isn’t nearly as well known—nor has it received nearly the amount of scientific attention as melatonin supplement. Given the interest and popularity of GABA—and the importance of the body’s own GABA to sleep, mood, and health—it’s definitely worth spending some time talking about.” 

Takeaway: This is a good overview of a supplement, in case you also have patients asking about it.


Why patients lie to their doctors: Fear of being judged and embarrassed are among the reasons
November 30, 2018

From the article: “Up to 80 percent of those surveyed have lied to their doctor about information that could impact their health, including accurately describing their diet and how often they exercise. When survey participants explained their reasoning for doing so, they said that they wanted to avoid being judged and didn't want to be lectured about how bad certain behaviors were. ”

Takeaway: Certainly this can be a problem for people who depend on clean bills of health to perform their jobs. At the same time, how many people even realize they're not getting enough sleep or understand that daytime sleepiness is not normal? And what about people who have sleep state misperception? These are all good reasons why questions about sleep should be part of every patient encounter (and not just in the sleep lab): answers can be useful as vital signs.


Driver who blamed his narcolepsy in crash into off-duty cop gets 1 year in jail
December 20, 2018

From the article: “A driver who told authorities his narcolepsy caused him to fall asleep at the wheel in 2017 and plow into an off-duty Tigard police officer waiting in his car for roadside assistance was sentenced Friday to one year and two months in jail.” 

Takeaway: This is bound to stir up the old argument debating whether people with narcolepsy should be allowed to drive. What do you think on the subject?

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.