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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on July 2nd, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: July 2, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping frog with skylover blossom
IMAGE: "Frog sleeping with Sky Lover" (admittedly not a professional photo,
but I loved capturing this unintended photobomber yesterday on my front
porch while trying to capture these new blue pimpernel blossoms—TKS) 


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



Raising funds for a pioneer of sleep medicine
June 24, 2019

From the fundraiser: “It is with deep sadness to learn that Dr. Guilleminault has metastatic prostate cancer. He became gravely ill while attending the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) 2019 annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. He was transferred by air ambulance from Texas to Stanford University Medical Center in California. He is back at home resting. …Those who are close to Dr. Guilleminault have been inquiring what can be done to help and honor the man who has given each and every one, and the medical world so much. This page has been created to allow those who would like  pay tribute to an individual who has touched their lives. At Dr. Guilleminault’s request,  funds raised will be forwarded to his charity of choice, the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA). 

Takeaway: A great cause inspired by a great doctor. 


Deportation worries fuel anxiety, poor sleep, among US-born Latinx youth
June 24, 2019

From the blog: “A new study tracked the mental and physical health of US-born teenage children of Mexican and Central American immigrants in California in the years before and after the 2016 election. Nearly half of the youth reported worrying at least sometimes about the impacts of US immigration policy on their families, and those with more worries also experienced higher anxiety and poorer sleep quality than their peers.” 

Takeaway: Not surprised by this, but saddened by it, for sure. 


Genetic influences on the onset of obstructive sleep apnoea and daytime sleepiness: a twin study
June 17, 2019

From the research study: “OSA and the indices of OSA severity are heritable, while daytime sleepiness is mostly influenced by environmental factors. Further studies should elucidate whether close relatives of patients with OSA may benefit from early family risk based screening.

Takeaway:  I wish this was a thing when I was a child; all of my family would have all been identified—and identified earlyand treated earlier in life. Looking back, there are so many other health conditions that might not have taken root, had this happened. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, eh?  


Subjective Hunger, Gastric Upset, and Sleepiness in Response to Altered Meal Timing during Simulated Shiftwork
June 15, 2019

From the research study: “Given that many shift workers eat during the night shift the current research has …showed that shiftworkers may be able to eat during the night without feeling increased sleepiness, however this should be a small snack and not a large meal.

Takeaway:  It's probably easier to eat small meals (snacks) throughout the night anyway, given the amount of time some patients will require from us. 


Sommetrics Completes Study of New Sleep Apnea Treatment in Ethnic Japanese Subjects
June 25, 2019

From the press release: “The aerSleep™ system consists of a comfortable silicone collar fitted on the front of the neck which holds the airway open via the application of external negative pressure delivered by a quiet, integrated vacuum pump. This system has a number of advantages over conventional sleep apnea therapies in that it is non-invasive, simple to use and maintain, highly portable and well tolerated by the majority of users. An earlier version of aerSleep™ has previously received market clearance from HealthCanada.” 

Takeaway: It was a small study and the product needs more research to prove out these numbers, but this does show how medical designers are striving to be innovative in a way that (with any luck!) generates both effective therapies and better compliance rates.    


CBD is all the rage among patients. It’s launching their physicians into uncharted territory
June 27, 2019

From the article: “More than half a dozen neurologists and other physicians around the country spoke with STAT about the difficult decisions and even headaches that CBD — sometimes a supplement, sometimes a drug — and its booming popularity have created for the medical community. Should they encourage a treatment that may not work but also may not hurt their patients, if it gives them hope? Or should they reject any treatment out of hand that hasn’t been proven effective? …For those doctors that do decide to 'prescribe' CBD, there’s a whole new set of questions. How can they help a patient get a safe product in a largely unregulated market? How does a doctor dose CBD? And exactly what should that doctor monitor after the patient starts treatment?” 

Takeaway: It's a tough one. The science isn't really ready for conclusions that can inspire a thumbs up from the FDA, but patients are struggling with pain, anxiety, and insomnia.


Settling the debate on serotonin's role in sleep
June 24, 2019

From the article: “The researchers theorize that the firing of neurons in the raphe and their release of serotonin is a way for the brain to build up sleep pressure. Indeed, they found that zebrafish lacking serotonin as well as mice with ablated raphe show reduced sleep pressure.
…While the studies were in animal models, the raphe region and its production of serotonin are similar in human brains. The research can contribute to explanations of some sleep-related side effects of common antidepressant drugs that increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Takeaway: Melatonin is not the only sleep-related neurotransmitter. 


Can The BIG Act Give School-Based Telehealth a National Platform?
July 1, 2019

From the article: “Introduced last week, the Behavioral Intervention Guidelines (BIG) Act (HR 3539) would, if passed, compel the Health and Human Services Department to work with other government agencies, including the Departments of Education, Justice and Homeland Security, 'to develop best practices for the proper use and implementation of behavioral intervention programs.'

Takeaway: It might be useful to include measures of sleep health, given its close association with mental health, in these best practices. And who knows? Maybe growing awareness of mental health issues in our schools, partnered with awareness about sleep deprivation and early bell times, might help tip controversial Start School Later efforts into the win column for the national campaign.  

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.