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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on May 28th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: May 28, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping hedgehog "Sleeping beauty of a Hedgehog" (Oct 2017) by Boyana.kjfg (CC BY 4.0)
"Sleeping beauty of a Hedgehog" (Oct 2017) by Boyana.kjfg (CC by 4.0)

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



Prejudice and patient choice: an insidious confluence in medicine
May 23, 2019

From the commentary: An article in the journal Academic Medicine offered a three-step approach for physicians faced with racism that included first assessing the severity of the illness or injury, then trying to cultivate a therapeutic alliance with the patient or family, and depersonalizing the event. But these provide actions to be taken after an incident has occurred.” 

Takeaway: Racism in the workplace against healthcare workers is nothing new, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be an ongoing conversation among medical staffers and leaders. Just as no patient should suffer bigotry at the hands of a healthcare worker, so too should a healthcare worker be protected against bigotry from patients while on the job. How we get there is the chief reason for the ongoing conversation, however uncomfortable it might be.


Adverse childhood experiences affect sleep duration for up to 50 years later
May 21, 2019

From the corrected proof: This cross-sectional examination used data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationwide telephone-administered survey. Participants completed a standardized questionnaire to report childhood experiences of abuse, neglect, household challenges, and sleep time.” 

Takeaway: Today's research into ACEs continues to reveal long-term consequences from trauma, violence and abuse—all which have a significant impact on sleep quality. We can't possibly know whether our patients have experienced an ACE (or are even themselves aware of its impact on their lives). But we can maintain a level of compassion for all patients by remembering this as a potential underlying factor for their sleep problems. 


Jaw Movement and Machine Learning May Diagnose Sleep Apnea
May 22, 2019

From the press release: “Using machine learning to analyze jaw movements during sleep, doctors may be able to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea in patients with mild to severe OSA with an accuracy comparable to polysomnography, the gold standard for OSA diagnosis, according to research presented at ATS 2019. The researchers said this unique diagnostic method is promising because it provides information about respiratory effort during sleep, can be used at home and is cost effective.

Takeaway: Welcome to the introduction of artificial intelligence into sleep technology. 


Effective August 1 – New CCSH Exam Blueprint
May 20, 2019

From the website: A new form of the CCSH exam will take effect August 1.  All exam candidates sitting for the CCSH exam on or after August 1, are strongly encouraged to review the new exam blueprint, available here.  Updated versions of the CCSH candidate handbook, study guide and practice exam will be available in June to reflect the forthcoming exam blueprint.

Takeaway: Heads up for all techs interested in this new aspect of the sleep medicine field. 


Industry Voices—Want to improve the patient experience? Start by meeting patients where they spend their digital lives
May 22, 2019

From the blog: When it comes to building technology to improve the patient experience, many people think of wayfinding applications or other mobile tools. Those are useful, but there is also a major revolution going on in communications between doctors, hospitals, clinics, medical device companies and patients. …Modern technology has made it possible to radically improve physician-patient interactions. It’s ironic that the word 'patient' so perfectly describes the difficult experiences that we have in hospitals and clinics today. 'Patient' comes from the Latin 'patiens,' which means to bear or to suffer. Part of the problem stems from the stark contrast between what is important to patients and what is important to caregivers.” 

Takeaway: There's got to be a common ground between both the patient and the provider, once (or if) the dust of new technology ever settles. 


Regular use of sleeping pills may increase use of blood pressure medication
May 25, 2019

From the blog: 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: Further studies are needed (of course) to prove a link between the use of sleep aids and an increase in the need for hypertension medication, which could include a confirmation of the link between the use of sleeping pills and an increase in sleep apnea—also associated with hypertensionwhich has been reported in other studies.  


Patients’ Expectations for Health Beyond Care: Think Food, Exercise, Emotions, Sleep and Finance
May 21, 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: How are we giving our patients the support they need? 


Position Statement from NCCHC: Adolescent Sleep Hygiene
May 19, 2019

From the website: Numerous sequelae of impaired sleep have been identified, including the following:

  • Psychological: Patients with impaired sleep have been found to be 4 times more likely to develop new major depression over the next 3 to 5 years, 2 times more likely to develop anxiety, and 7 times more likely to develop substance use disorders (Morin, 2012). Insomnia is also associated with suicide risk (Wong, 2016).
  • Medical: Patients with impaired sleep have higher rates of hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes mellitus (Mitchell, 2012).
  • Academic: Poor sleep interferes with executive functioning tasks including attention, information processing, and self-regulatory processes such as impulse control.
  • Social: Incarcerated adults with impaired sleep have demonstrated limited ability to fully partake in or benefit from prison-based programs (Harner, 2014) and school performance appears worse in those with impaired sleep (Montgomery, 1983, Saarenpaa-Heikkila, 1995). ” 

Takeaway: If jails can better ensure that their incarcerated teens are getting adequate sleep, they might be doing them a huge favor when they transition back into free society.   

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.