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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on September 24th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: September 24, 2019

Sleep Technologist Advice

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


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

The "While You Were Sleeping" series takes a break
next week but will return on Tuesday Oct 8. 



Climate Change Affects Sleep For Different, Equally Bad Reasons
September 19, 2019

From the website: “If you've never stopped to think about how climate change will affect your sleep, the connection between a warmer planet and poor sleep quality is fairly significant, especially among vulnerable populations.

Takeaway: We know some tips and tricks for cooling down our patients during a study. Don't be afraid to share these during heat waves and sudden extreme weather when temperatures and humidity can make sleep very difficult. In fact, if you work in a location where these are common occurrences, it might be worth it to generate educational materials you can distribute in person or online to your patient base.


Ask the Doctor: Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome or IH?
September 17, 2019

From the column: “What is delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) and how is it diagnosed? Should it be ruled out before a diagnosis of IH is made?

Takeaway: Idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) is a tough nut to crack, diagnostically. It's considered, in some ways, a diagnosis of exclusion. As this columnist suggests, it's a good idea to root out all other causes for daytime sleepiness—include the potentially less obvious circadian disordersbefore moving toward an IH diagnosis. That means, as sleep technologists, we need to be asking our patients a lot of questions related to their sleep habits and symptoms during their overnight stays and documenting this information in our notes for all doctors involved. 


Could this mechanism explain why sleepless nights affect gut health?
September 19, 2019

From the article: Gut inflammation and other conditions that involve the immune system are more common among people with irregular sleep patterns, including those who work night shifts. Now, new research in mice has uncovered a previously unknown mechanism that could help to explain the connection.

Takeaway: All this research into and curiosity about the gut biome is helping to explain a lot of health concerns beyond autoimmune conditions, including those gastrointestinal problems we know first-hand are common among shift workers.   


Study questions routine sleep studies to evaluate snoring in children
September 18, 2019

From the research study: “A new finding suggests that the pediatric sleep study—used to diagnose pediatric sleep apnea and to measure improvement after surgerymay be an unreliable predictor of who will benefit from having an adenotonsillectomy.

Takeaway: Taking out the tonsils/adenoids has long been the "go to" approach for kids with OSA, but a skeptical new cadre of doctors may wish to avoid these more invasive fixes based on research that suggests they may not work for everyone. 


Depression prevention via digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: a randomized controlled trial
September 17, 2019

From the research summary: “Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) effectively reduces concurrent symptoms of insomnia and depression and can be delivered digitally (dCBT-I); however, it remains unclear whether treating insomnia leads to sustained reduction and prevention of depression. This randomized controlled trial examined the efficacy of dCBT-I in reducing and preventing depression over a 1-year follow-up period.

Takeaway: Just another case where treating the sleep disorder may also treat, reverse, or prevent a related comorbid condition. 


Research on Daytime Sleepiness Drug for Narcolepsy Patients Will be Presented at World Sleep Meeting 
September 17, 2019

From the report: “In a presentation, results will be presented from a randomized, double-blind study that evaluated the abuse potential of pitolisant compared with the stimulant phentermine HCl (C-IV) and placebo in nondependent recreational stimulant users. In addition, seven scientific posters will be presented, including a new post hoc analysis of pooled data from two randomized, placebo-controlled studies of pitolisant in adults with narcolepsy that evaluated the efficacy of the treatment in patients with a high burden of narcolepsy symptoms.

Takeaway: If you're at the World Sleep meeting in Vancouver, you might want to check out the posters or sit in on one of several related presentations. 


Should Couples Go to Bed at the Same Time?
September 18, 2019

From the column: “Many couples don’t go to bed at the same time. Some people are night owls who thrive at night and some are morning larks who are most energetic in the morning, and it is those preferences that most determine a couples’ co-sleeping patterns, also known as dyadic sleep patterns. …How synced a couples’ bedtime is can have a significant impact on their relationship but contrary to common assumptions, these affects can be both negative and positive and are often a mix of both.

Takeaway: I like the frame of this discussion much better than the one with the headline that reads "Time for a Sleep Divorce." I've been married for over 32 years now and we have rarely had the same bedtime, thanks to work demands.  


City council extends restrictions on car dwelling, potentially affecting students
September 20, 2019

From the article: “Students who sleep in their vehicles are once again prohibited from doing so in certain areas by the Los Angeles City Council. …The policy extension, which passed the council July 30, directly affects homeless residents, students and commuters who live in cars, trucks and camper vans across the city of Los Angeles. Prohibitions primarily apply to parking spots within 500 feet of schools—including UCLAalong with preschools, daycare facilities or parks, leaving industrial and commercial areas available for people dwelling in vehicles.

Takeaway: Maybe I am missing something here, but isn't tuition at UCLA sizable? And shouldn't it cover modest housing? How can a major university accept students (and their tuition dollars) without also addressing their human need for shelter?  

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.