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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on May 14th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: May 14, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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



WUN Rochester Education Day
April 29, 2019

From the announcement/invitation: A one day conference for PWN, their families, educators, clinicians and researchers. Leading experts will be sharing their latest research on treatment options, impact of narcolepsy, comorbidity and how to live a full life with narcolepsy.

Takeaway: It's just five bucks, and for that, you get a t-shirt and coffee. If you're in Rochester, MN this Saturday, May 18, and can attend (8am to 4pm), this seems totally worth it.


Does Removal of Work Stress Explain Improved Sleep Following Retirement? The Finnish Retirement and Aging (FIREA) study
May 1, 2019

From the abstract: Relief from work stress has been hypothesized to explain improvements in sleep duration and quality following retirement, but this has not been confirmed with longitudinal studies. By using repeat sleep data, we examined the role of removal of work-related stressors in changes in sleep at retirement.” 

Takeaway: The outcome may not be quite what you expected.


Researchers Discover “Daywake,” a Siesta-Suppressing Gene
May 9, 2019

From the press release: “The researchers found a gene in Drosophila flies that, when temperatures are cool, activates to suppress the flies’ tendency to take a daytime nap—presumably so they can spend additional time seeking food or mates. The researchers named the gene 'daywake.'

Takeaway: Circadian science marches ever forward with new ideas!


Dr. Takahashi receives global award for pioneering work on circadian rhythms
May 10, 2019

From the press release: The Gruber Neuroscience Prize—an annual award that honors scientists for major discoveries that advance the understanding of the nervous system recognized in particular Dr. Takahashi’s discovery of Clock, the first mammalian gene controlling circadian rhythms. Subsequent research has established Clock as a prominent regulator of many genes and a key target to better understand the primary underpinnings of human physiology. …'Takahashi has made groundbreaking discoveries in the neurobiology of circadian rhythms,' the Gruber Foundation stated in its news release announcing the award. 'His use of innovative approaches to observe clock oscillations throughout the body in real time has revealed the broader impact of the circadian system in regulating the timing of cellular events in health and disease.'

Takeaway: These kinds of recognitions help bring more validation and attention to the entire field of sleep medicine. 


Scientists want to capture your dreams like a movie—and human trials of the technology will start next year
May 13, 2019

From the article: Independent dream researcher Daniel Oldis recently composed a 'dream team' of sleep and dream researchers from across the nation. …He told freelance tech writer Tessa Love that the team will run human test trials for developing dream-recording tech inside a Burbank, California, recording studio next summer.

Takeaway: Seems impossible and potentially undesirable from an ethics perspective, but there's some actual research behind this that suggests it could become a reality within the next 20 years. 


 'I haven't slept for more than a few hours in 30 years'—The reality of life as a chronic insomniac
May 10, 2019

From the feature: “'It was worse than heroin withdrawal. I was throwing up, I was shaking. I had panic attacks and convulsions. I don't know how I did it to be honest.' [Filmmaker Martin Read]  said the experience of producing his documentary, The Insomniacs, for BBC Wales has opened his eyes to the pervasiveness of the illness. 'It  was horrific how many people are struggling and suffering with no access to any services other than medication,' he said.” 

Takeaway: His program will be broadcast on BBC One Wales tonight and will be available later via BBC iPlayer. 


Is Social Media Making Us Sick?
May 13, 2019

From the commentary: They expected to discover a trend resembling a U-shaped curve, with higher rates of mental health issues associated with abstainers (because they were lacking opportunities for interaction) and high-volume users (because they were missing out on real-world relationships), with the middle groups having the lowest psychological burden. …Instead, what they saw was a straight line: The more the participants engaged in social media, the higher their risk for depression and anxiety. 'We were almost hoping for that U-shaped curve, because then you can recommend an optimal amount to people,' [researcher Brian A.] Primack said. 'Unfortunately, the lowest risk was with the lowest amount or none.' He and colleagues have uncovered similar associations between increased social media use and social isolation, issues related to eating, and sleep problems.” 

Takeaway: Anywhere you go in the world of mental or physical illness, dysfunctional sleep seems always to enter the equation in some way.


Coping with Stress and Addiction in the Legal Industry
May 7, 2019

From the article: Sleep and stress can become a circle that’s hard to break, wherein stress prohibits sleep and the loss of sleep causes more stress because it undermines your productivity. Aside from improved mental health, sleep also has a myriad of physical health benefits, so get some ZZZs.” 

Takeaway: Nobody is immune to sleep dysfunction, as our culture continues to show in the workplace of the judicial system, as well as depictions of sleepy legal representatives in pop culture. For instance, actress Rhea Seehorn's lawyer character in Better Call Saul demonstrates the drowsy driving outcome of overworking, and reports of judges and jurors falling asleep during court sessions aren't common, but still worrisome. Wouldn't you want your lawyer, jury, and judge to be awake if you were facing trial?

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.