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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on January 14th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: January 14, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping polar bears at the zoo


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


Insomnia, Sleep Disturbances Common Among Veterans With PTSD
January 9, 2020

From the article: “The researchers found that 74% of patients with PTSD reported insomnia-related sleep disturbances for at least 50% of the nights in the previous 30 days when measured at T1. Overall, 33% of patients had received a sedative-hypnotic drug prescription in the past year. Patients without a clinical diagnosis of PTSD had fewer sleep difficulties, but the prevalence was high among all veterans.

Takeaway: Our military veterans have a tough row to hoe when they come home from service. Supporting our vets through better sleep hygiene, patient and community education, sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment is an excellent cause if you're looking to expand your reach as a sleep technologist and/or sleep health educator in 2020. Interested? Check out this January 6, 2020 letter to the editor (SLEEP)  from leading military sleep researcher, Dr. Vincent Mysliwiec. 


Parents aren't powerless when it comes to sleep-deprived teenagers
January 9, 2020

From the research study summary: “Teenagers in the US simply don't get enough shut eye. The consequences of this sleep deprivation epidemic are extensive and include increasing rates of anxiety and depression among adolescents, as well as suicidal thoughts and actions. Researchers found that a simple and timeworn solution yields solid results: a clear bedtime that parents consistently enforce.

Takeaway: Great advice, but easier said than done!


Support Vector Machine Prediction of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in a Large-Scale Chinese Clinical Sample
January 9, 2020

From the research study: “The aim of this study is to develop a clinically useful support vector machine (SVM)-based prediction model to identify patients with high probability of OSA for non-sleep specialist physician in clinical practice.

Takeaway: A support vector machine (in a medical application) uses algorithms based on data collection to predict the likelihood that someone has an increased risk for a disease or disorder. This could be useful for convincing patients (and their primary care doctors) of their need to pursue a sleep health assessment, especially those who are younger or slim or female. The assumption that sleep apnea is a disease of older overweight men continues to be an obstacle. An SVM application might provide the objective predictive data necessary to inspire more people toward sleep clinic referrals.


Doctors shouldn’t feel guilty about sick days
January 10, 2020

From the website: “If you work in a specialty clinic or operating room, then people have been waiting for months to see you. They’ve had this day circled on their calendar and have scheduled their day around getting in to seek your advice or care. Canceling a day’s worth of work and trying to reschedule all of your patients is a difficult task. It’s a tough thing to impose on patients, and so we all guilt ourselves into coming to work. …Our medical culture is to blame too. We’re often made to believe both in residency and beyond that self-sacrifice is part of being a doctor. And so we try and persevere even in cases when it’s not in our best interest or the interest of our patients.

Takeaway: Let me fix that headline for you: "Sleep technologists shouldn’t feel guilty about sick days." There, that's better.


Photos: Top 10 sleep tech products at CES 2020 (photo gallery)
January 9, 2020

Takeaway: What's new this year? Hint: For the most part, it's not  tracking software.


FDA Approves Orexin Receptor Antagonist for Insomnia
January 7, 2020

From the article: “In addition to these pivotal trials, Eisai conducted a number of studies to further evaluate the safety of DAYVIGO, including a study that assessed the effect of DAYVIGO on postural stability and cognitive performance and a next-morning driving study.

Takeaway: If this drug performs as promised, it could give zolpidem a run for its money, as DAYVIGO has no withdrawal effects and does not contribute to rebound insomnia. However, it's no miracle fix—it still has some next-morning performance concerns following the use of the drug at 5 and 10mg doses. 


Fatty tongues could be main driver of sleep apnoea
January 10, 2020

From the article: “When sleep apnoea patients lost weight, it was the reduction in tongue fat that lay behind the resulting improvements, researchers said.

Takeaway: Here's more research to support the role of weight reduction as a treatment approach for sleep-breathing disorders. Some will argue that treating OSA will lead to weight loss, but it's just as likely that losing weight will lead to less severe sleep apnea.

Either way, we all need to lose a few pounds. (Yes, you caught me posting an obligatory "lose some weight in 2020" message!) 


The AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events Summary of Updates in Version 2.6
January 10, 2020

From the website: “Based on the recommendations of the AASM Scoring Manual Committee, the AASM Board of Directors has approved the updated manual, which was released January 10, 2020, as Version 2.6. All AASM accredited sleep facilities are required to implement the new rules in Version 2.6 by July 1, 2020.

Takeaway: As with any changes to protocols and procedures, these updates to scoring should be reviewed by all sleep lab personnel. The digital version is fully accessible now to subscribers (typically, this includes accredited sleep labs and individual AASM members).   

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.