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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on June 11th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: June 11, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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Amy Poehler Needs You To Use Your CPAP For Better Sleep
June 5, 2019

From the blog: Amy Poehler: Yeah, I don’t know about your listeners, but anybody who’s out there who has a snoring problem or sleep apnea, I’m telling you … I would love to get you into a CPAP today, is what I’m trying to say. It has completely changed my life. Truly, I’ve always been a terrible sleeper. I performed most of my career incredibly sleep-deprived. …[I]t’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my health. So yeah, much like my friend Bradley Cooper, who used his real dog in A Star Is Born, I used my real CPAP machine in this movie.”  

Takeaway: We need more of this in our popular culture to cut through the frequently negative conversations about using CPAP.


Disturbed sleep linked to mental health problems in natural disaster survivors
June 7, 2019

From the study summary: The researchers surveyed survivors two years after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Results show that 94% reported experiencing subsequent insomnia symptoms after the disaster. Two years later, 42% showed clinically significant levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and nearly 22% had symptoms of depression. There were significant positive correlations between sleep disturbances and peritraumatic distress (i.e., emotional reaction during and immediately after the event), PTSD, and symptoms of depression. Resilience did not appear to be a buffer against sleep disturbance.” 

Takeaway: That last line is particularly eye-opening, as people who work in first-responder roles pride themselves on being able to power through the traumatic hazards of their work. The data seem to suggest otherwise


A New Approach to Sleep Apnea: Easier, Faster Diagnosis and Treatment
May 22, 2019

From the website: The CVS Health approach is simpler, faster and puts the patient’s convenience and health at the forefront through our HealthHUB store locations. Our streamlined solution for the assessment and treatment of sleep apnea is already being piloted in three MinuteClinic locations. By the end of the year, we expect it to be available in more locations around the country. …The entire process from initial screening to starting CPAP therapy—including the test and diagnosiscan be accomplished in about eight days rather than several months that the current process typically requires.

Takeaway:  Pharmacies are looking into the sleep apnea management business. Just one more way to cut out sleep clinics which are overbooked and not providing patients the value and timeliness they demand. We have to do better or we will lose to these new "docs in a box."


Women Who Do Night Shift Work Don't Have An Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer, Concludes New Study
May 29, 2019

From the magazine: A new study involving a huge number of people in the UK has concluded that women who regularly work night shifts do not have an increased risk of breast cancer. This contradicts suggestions that have been around since the 1970's that working irregular hours at night may contribute to an increased chance of developing the disease.

Takeaway:  Technically, I think what the story is really saying is that "the jury is still out," as other recent research still shows increased risk factors for breast cancer in female night shift workers. But we can still be cautiously optimistic, no?


Smart beds and sleep apps: Don’t sleep on their data collection practices
June 10, 2019

From the blog: Unlike personal data collected in a doctor’s office or a sleep clinic, the information gathered by sleep trackers is not protected by federal privacy rules.” 

Takeaway: Patient/user privacy is a huge concern, as is the validation of the research being used to tout the value of these devices—a big topic at this week's sleep meeting in San Antonio. 


Opioids are not sleep aids, and can actually worsen sleep research finds
June 4, 2019

From the study summary: “[The researchers] found that research on opioid effects on sleep quality was limited and of poor quality, often with potential publication bias and conflicts of interest, and rarely testing patients for sleep apnoea prior to and during the study. A recent study suggests that older people who regularly use sleeping pills may end up needing more blood pressure medications to control their blood pressure.” 

Takeaway: Aside from their obvious risk of habituation to opioids, patients using them to sleep better may experience depressed respiratory function which could lead to breathing obstructions. 


9 Types of Manipulative Patients Know their tactics and be prepared
May 23, 2019

From the blog: “[M]ost patients are looking for support with healthy eating, exercise, emotional support, sleep, stress management, social relationships, and financial health.

Takeaway: This blog references incarcerated patients, but the doctor who wrote this piece describes manipulative patients as a frequent concern even in the ER. I would expand that to say they can be found anywhere, even in the sleep clinic! Wherever we encounter them, it's good to know what their efforts to manipulate look like and how to address them while on the job. Forewarned is forearmed. 


After drowsy driving tragedy a year ago, all-night Bainbridge grad tradition will go on
June 7, 2019

From the article: The district didn’t say if any alternatives were considered for this year’s event. It noted that McCann’s crash occurred three hours after he had left the event and said that, as in years past, the committee requires students to be picked up by a parent or other responsible adult at the conclusion of the event.” 

Takeaway: This accident happened less than a mile from my house. It's having a huge impact on the local community. It's also provided a sobering opportunity to raise awareness about driver fatigue. 

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.