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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on April 7th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: April 7, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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Increased Oscillatory Frequency of Sleep Spindles in Combat-Exposed Veteran Men with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
April 2, 2020

From the research summary: “Sleep disturbances are core symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but reliable sleep markers of PTSD have yet to be identified. Sleep spindles are important brain waves associated with sleep protection and sleep-dependent memory consolidation. The present study tested whether sleep spindles are altered in individuals with PTSD and whether the findings are reproducible across nights and subsamples of the study.

Takeaway: The continued research of PTSD and sleep disorders is its own dedicated form of advocacy for veterans everywhere. 


Sleep Deprivation in the Intensive Care Patient
April 1, 2020

From the research summary: “A multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach to promoting sleep in the intensive care unit setting that includes sleep hygiene routines, nursing care plans, and appropriate medication regimens may improve patient outcomes, including reducing delirium.

Takeaway: It may be impossible to get perfect sleep in the ICU, but patients can still hope to get more and better sleep should these approaches be implemented by hospitals to guard against patient sleep loss. 


How Working Parents Can Prioritize Sleep
March 31, 2020

From the article: “Good sleep may also be a protective factor; both parents and children who sleep better are more resilient in the face of stressors. Overall, getting the sleep we need helps us have better relationships with our children.

Takeaway: Considering the new wave of remote workers, this is good advice. Anyway, people who no longer have to commute may find they can nab a little more sleep in the morning as a result. 


Medicine will make you sick if you don’t sleep
March 23, 2020

From the commentary: “Medicine makes me sick. …Not like in the emotional or moral sense, although it does that too. But practicing medicine actually makes me sick. In college, I quickly realized that if I don’t get enough sleep for a week or so, I will get sick. Every semester after finals week, I got my biannual cold from the sleep deprivation that is finals week for a premed.

Takeaway: Self-care among medical professionals has never been more important.


Screen Time and Sleep—It's not all about blue light: Dr. Michael Grandner
March 31, 2020

From the podcast: “In recent years we’ve been bombarded with advice warning of the dangers of sleep-stealing blue light emitted from smartphones, tablets and computer screens. …But scientists and health experts are slowly coming to realise that the melatonin-blocking function of short-wavelength light is only part of the story regarding the reasons why technology keeps us awake at night.

Takeaway: Technology does more than just disrupt our melatonin production through exposure to the blue light emitted from back-lit devices. It also contributes to other kinds of behaviors that can make it harder to fall asleep.


Women who use hormonal contraception report more sleep-related problems and daytime sleepiness
March 31, 2020

From the article: “For their study, the researchers surveyed 918 women currently taking hormonal contraceptives and 368 women who were not. All the participants were between the ages of 18 and 40, and had not changed their contraceptive habits for at least 3 months. …Hormonal contraceptive users reported more sleep-related problems, increased excessive daytime sleepiness, and more insomnia symptoms compared to non-users.

Takeaway: This is much-needed research, as many women struggle with sleep problems that have no clear cause. For them, this may be the explanation.


Exercising before a nap benefits memory better than napping or exercising alone
April 1, 2020

From the research summary: “Sleep leads to the enhancement of memory, and physical exercise also improves memory along with beneficial effects on sleep quality. Potentially, sleep and exercise may operate independently upon memory; alternatively, they may operate synergistically to boost memory above and beyond exercise or sleep alone.

Takeaway: Students may find some benefit in applying an exercise/nap protocol while studying for tests or finals. 


AASM Position Statement on Physician Burnout Highlights Importance of Sleep as Self-Care
March 31, 2020

From the article: “Sleep is essential to health, and sleep deprivation due to shift-work schedules, high workload, long hours, sleep interruptions, and insufficient recovery sleep have been implicated in the genesis and perpetuation of physician burnout. The risk for burnout is especially high due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which is requiring physicians and other health care personnel to work long hours under stressful conditions.

Takeaway: This article could easily fit under the COVID-19 header above, but the fact of the matter is that burnout among healthcare professionals—due, in part, to poor sleep related to work demands—was a problem well before the pandemic came along.

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 the Journal Club continued education presentations for the AAST. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.