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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on November 5th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: November 5, 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.


Walking more during the day can lead to better quality sleep, study suggests
November 1, 2019

From the article: “The study’s results are encouraging, say its authors, for they suggest that we don’t have to engage in a structured, high-intensity exercise program to improve our sleep. Simply taking more steps during the day—perhaps adding a 20-minute stroll to a lunch break at work or walking the dog for an extra block or two at night—may be enough to help us sleep more soundly.

Takeaway: Great advice especially as we head into the darker shorter days and longer nights, as this simple walk can help prevent SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Be sure to bring it up with patients who are still struggling with the time change this week. 


Changes in sleep difficulties among the U.S. population from 2013 to 2017: results from the National Health Interview Survey
November 1, 2019

From the research summary: “Multiple aspects of sleep difficulties show an undesirable trajectory in the U.S. adult population. Moreover, these trends appear to be independent of sleep duration and are primarily occurring in healthy sleepers. Future research should simultaneously consider how multiple aspects of sleep are changing and further examine the sources of these changes.

Takeaway: I do wonder about sociopolitical influences and whether they were part of the data collection for this study. Just based on personal, if unscientific, observation, people I know who never had problems with sleeping before have become insomniacs due to stress over national politics.   


Rising number of workers are short on sleep, especially in certain fields 
November 4, 2019

From the article: “In 2018, 50% of workers in protective service and military professions reported being short on sleep, as compared to 45% of health care workers, and 41% of professionals in transportation and material moving industries. Although the exact reason for the link between certain fields and sleep deprivation is unknown, researchers say they believe those in high-stress industries are more likely to bring that stress home with them, which affects sleep.

Takeaway: These are some startlingly high numbers.  


Is Circadian Rhythm Disruption Leading to an Increase in Preventable Diseases?
October 30, 2019

From the article: “When people are awake during the night, their behaviors are often mismatched with their internal body clocks. This can lead to nighttime eating, which can influence the way the body processes sugar and could lead to a higher risk in diabetes. 'What happens when food is eaten when you normally should be fasting?' Scheer asked the audience. 'What happens is that your glucose tolerance goes out the window….So your glucose levels after a meal are much higher.' This can increase people’s risk for diabetes.

Takeaway: Thanks for the coverage, Sleep Review!  I also appreciate these discussions outside the realm of sleep-disordered breathing as sleep medicine indeed focuses on more than just apnea. Also, we as sleep technologists should always be vigilant about our eating habits while on the job for these reasons. 


A Consumer Sleep Tracker Researchers Can Actually Use
October 15, 2019

From the article: “[Dr. Cathy] Goldstein and colleagues published a paper describing a new open-source algorithm that tracks slumber using heart rate and acceleration in the journal Sleep. …'We sent patients into the sleep laboratory for an overnight sleep study, wearing Apple watches, and used that data to develop our own algorithm to analyze acceleration and heart rate signal from the watch to estimate sleep,' she said. …The design, when applied to signals from the Apple Watch, exceeded previously reported performance of the more expensive, medical, wrist-worn sleep tracker known as actigraphy.

Takeaway: When technology improves, more people benefit. 


Striatal histamine mechanism in the pathogenesis of restless legs syndrome
October 31, 2019

From the study: “We used iron-deficient (ID) and iron-replacement (IR) rats to address the neuropathology of RLS and to determine if a histamine H3 receptor (H3R) antagonist might be a useful treatment.

Takeaway: This research might make it easier for some people to treat their restless legs.


I’m A CPAP Dropout: Why Many Lose Sleep Over Apnea Treatment
October 30, 2019

From the commentary: “'My doctor never really followed up from what I can remember, so I back-burnered it,' said Wymer. 'But, if you get in front of somebody, actually talk to them and make sure everything is going OK, that would have been nice.'

Takeaway: Basic follow-up should be a given in sleep labs who serve sleep apnea patients. How do these patients fall through the cracks???


‘Shadow Flicker’ And Lost Sleep: Are Kahuku Wind Turbines Too Close To Homes?
October 31, 2019

From the article: “[Neva] Fotu bought her Kahuku home in 2013, about two years after about a dozen turbines began operating there. Soon after, Fotu said she started experiencing earaches, dizziness, fainting, migraines and trouble sleeping. When the turbines are off, she sleeps better, she said. 'Nobody wants to live next to them,' said Fotu, one of more than 100 people who have been arrested while protesting the turbines.

Takeaway: The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.

BIO:  AAST blog columnist 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 sleep-related columns for two chronic illness patient advocacy publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.