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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on February 25th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: February 25, 2020

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.


What to Expect During Rare Disease Week
February 20, 2020

From the website: Rare Disease Week [Feb 24 through Feb 29, 2020] is a week for empathy and compassion. Narcolepsy has an established support network, and we have each other to turn to for advice and support. Some others don’t have that with their conditions. It’s possible you will be challenged about the seriousness of your illness because narcolepsy is invisible. Think about how you will describe the challenges of a life with narcolepsy to make others understand it.

Takeaway: Narcolepsy awareness has come a long way thanks to organizations like this one.   


Later school start times reduce car crashes, improve teen safety
February 18, 2020

From the research study summary: “Researchers analyzed motor vehicle accident statistics involving adolescents in Fairfax County, Virginia, for two school years before and after the implementation of later school start times. Results show that the crash rate in 16-to-18-year-old licensed drivers decreased significantly from 31.63 to 29.59 accidents per 1,000 drivers after the delayed start time. In contrast, the teen crash rate remained steady throughout the rest of the state.

Takeaway: It all comes down to being rested enough to make safe choices and avoid risks. 


With $3 Million NIH Grant Renewal, Mariana Figueiro Pushes the Frontiers of Light Therapy: Lighting Research Center drills down on how light affects Alzheimer’s and dementia patients
February 16, 2020

From the press release: “With over 20 years of study and success in real-world settings, [Mariana] Figueiro, the director of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has demonstrated that providing light exposure of certain amounts and qualities throughout the day improves sleep patterns, sociability, and agitation, while decreasing symptoms of depression.

Takeaway: So many areas of health and wellness are tied into light and its influence on the circadian system. I think this is a promising direction for sleep medicine. 


7 Things Your Nutritionist Probably Doesn’t Know About Sleep
February 19, 2020

From the column: “ Wondering how sleep can assist in making your healthful dietary choices easier to stick to and more effective? These are some of the most potent sleep and diet connections that even nutritionists often miss.

Takeaway: This is the challenge of specialty medicine...  learning how to step out of one's silo to recognize how multiple factors affect the health and well-being of patients. Sleep health needs to be a bigger part of every specialist-patient discussion. 


WHOOP Proven As Most Accurate, Non-Invasive Sleep Monitor
February 11, 2020

From the press release: “ 'This study shows that the accuracy of WHOOP in measuring heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep staging of slow wave and REM or dream sleep was excellent when compared to polysomnography, which is the gold-standard in sleep tracking,' said Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, who is a professor of medicine at the UArizona College of Medicine–Tucson and director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences. 'What's more, the accuracy of WHOOP as a wearable and its availability compared to the limited accessibility of polysomnography may in the future facilitate better population-health management.'

Takeaway: A glimpse into one potential future for sleep labs. 


What’s the best time of day to take your medication?—Timing may improve potency and help you cope with side effects
February 19, 2020

From the website: “It may be important to take a drug at a particular time of day. This approach, known as chronotherapy, is gaining attention as research suggests a relationship between when we take medications and how well they work.

Takeaway: Researchers know this to be true when treating cancer. It's good to know there's more discussion about timing of medications as a way to practice what amounts to good sleep hygiene.


More sleep at night might reduce daytime injury risk
February 20, 2020

From the press release: “Healthy adults who get at least eight hours of sleep a night may be less likely to experience common exercise-related injuries like fractures, sprains and muscle strains, a study of U.S. soldiers suggests.

Takeaway: It makes perfect sense. If patients make jokes about being clumsy, this kind of "fun fact" might help them see how poor sleep might be to blame.  


'Sexsomnia': Twice convicted of sexual assault, Ryan Hartman to launch fourth appeal
February 20, 2020

From the article: “Hartman, who originally proclaimed his innocence, was first convicted in May 2012 and sentenced to 14 months. He lost his first appeal, but launched a second claiming he was asleep during the assault. He was granted a new trial at which he was again found guilty, with Justice Kim Moore sentencing him to a year in jail.

Takeaway: I would not want to be on any of these juries! 

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.