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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on February 11th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: February 11, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping owl 4

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


Family and Environmental Risk Factors are Linked to Poor Sleep in Young Children
February 3, 2020

From the press release: “'Prior studies have shown us how risk factors in a child’s family or the broader environment are related to poor sleep quality and increased sleep problems in childhood,' said Ariel A. Williamson, PhD, DBSM, a psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Pediatrics at CHOP and University of Pennsylvania, and lead author of this study. 'However, few studies have examined how the cumulative, or additive, effect of these risk factors can contribute to greater sleep problems, including poor sleep health behaviors such as insufficient sleep and caffeine consumption, symptoms of insomnia such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, or symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.'

Takeaway: Our youngest citizens rely on us to give them guidance. By promoting healthy families, economic equity, mental health awareness, and sleep hygiene, we can—as sleep technologists and sleep health educators—help redirect the trajectories of these vulnerable lives toward futures which include more and better sleep. 


Even in Dangerous Neighborhoods, Gun Owners Don’t Actually Sleep Better
February 5, 2020

From the article: “Published in the journal Preventive Medicine, the sleep study was based on four years of data collected for the General Social Survey between 2010 and 2018. The data showed no difference between gun owners and non-gun owners in terms of their level of sleep disturbance. …'We found that gun ownership was no consolation for living in a dangerous neighborhood in terms of the sleep disturbance outcome,' Hill says.

Takeaway: Just the messenger here. 


Weighted blankets are the new parenting trend. Do they work?
February 6, 2020

From the article: “Pediatric occupational therapist Natasha Bravo likens weighted blankets to baby swaddles. 'When a baby is swaddled, they are experiencing evenly distributed pressure around the entire contour of their body which is calming and grounding,' she says of the cocoon-like experience weighted blankets can provide. 'Gentle consistent pressure can also impact breathing patterns into more deep and slower breaths.'

Takeaway: The jury is still out as to their effectiveness, but if the placebo effect works, it seems like good enough reason to try these if young people sleep better as a result. For pediatric sleep labs, it might be a good idea to have a couple on hand for this reason.


Lights, Camera, CPAP!: St. Louis Health System Creates Video Education for Sleep Patients
February 3, 2020

From the article: “The most viewed video is the 'Intro to PAP,' which gives a simple overview of obstructive sleep apnea and the PAP therapies available to treat it. The video touches on ways to make the therapy more comfortable, including the use of smaller masks and humidifiers. The videos cover the most common issues patients might face when using CPAP, including how to recognize a leak and how to tell if you need more humidification.

Takeaway: It seems to me that if a sleep clinic is going to create its own educational video for its patients, it really should be Intro to PAP for a means to provide easy-access followup for new patients. Either have a copy posted on the clinic's website or distribute it via DVD and you have one more tool for promoting adherence. 


Wearable Tech That Tells Drowsy Truckers It’s Time to Pull Over
February 6, 2020

From the article: “Biometric sensors are getting lighter, cheaper and more accurate, and could help warn drivers before they become too fatigued.

Takeaway: It's amazing how many different implementations of technology to keep drivers awake at the wheel have been developed in just a few years' time. 


Could a little-known cannabinoid upend the natural sleep-aid market?
February 3, 2020

From the article: As states continue to modify their cannabis legislation, a relatively unknown cannabinoid called Cannabinol, or CBN, has caught entrepreneurs’ eye as a potential sleep aid and alternative to oral tablets like melatonin—which itself is still the subject of ongoing research.

Takeaway: Interesting fact: CBN is the result of THC undergoing the aging process. Some believe this accounts for CBN's lack of residual morning-after drowsiness when used as a sleep aid. As usual, CBN needs long-term population research to confirm these properties and benefits.    


Waking to use technology at night, and associations with driving and work outcomes: a screenshot of Australian adults
February 5, 2020

From the article: “Technology use was independently associated with ≥1 drowsy driving-related motor vehicle accidents/near miss per month [odds ratio (OR)=6.4, 95%CI: 3.8-10.7] and with missing work (OR=4.8, 95%CI: 3.2-7.2) and making errors at work (OR=2.2, 95%CI: 1.5-3.3) at least one day in the past 3 months due to sleepiness/sleep problem.

Takeaway: I'd love to see a US-based research study on this. 


9 Experts on the Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea
February 10, 2020

From the blog: “While a new mattress is not a cure for apnea, the right bed can make a world of difference for a good night’s sleep. We’ve reached out to nine industry experts on sleep science and mattress technology and asked them:

  • What makes the best mattress for sleep apnea?
  • What mattress do they personally recommend for CPAP users?
We’ve listed the best mattresses below, but first the criteria that you should look for when considering a new bed.

Takeaway: I don't typically discuss mattresses in this weekly update, but I found this to be an interesting and relevant question for sleep technologists to consider: Does one's mattress (and pillows) have an impact on sleep apnea? What do you think?

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.