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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on June 9th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: June 9, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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How Does Racism Affect Health?
June 4, 2020

From the article: “The study found that when participants experienced mistreatment, what some researchers call 'racial microaggressions,' they reported poorer sleep quality and shorter sleep duration the following day.

Takeaway: Just one of many research findings that continue to show how systemic racism negatively impacts the health of people of color. 


The Late-Night Revelations in a Memoir of Insomnia
June 4, 2020

From the review: “Harvey contends that the peculiar madness of sleep deprivation stems from the way anxiety about not sleeping summons the inability to sleep, at which point fear of not sleeping becomes rational—but also irrational, because more vigilance intensifies the threat.

Takeaway: I think this is a great articulation of the problem of anxiety-derived sleeplessness.


Dads' sleep deprivation and fatigue at 'pathological' levels
June 8, 2020

From the article: “Dr. Wynter said health professionals consulting with families with young infants could improve fathers' mental health as well as family functioning by including father's sleep in their assessments of family needs and treatment plans. …'Nobody is actually checking in with the fathers at the moment,' she said.

Takeaway: This is a huge blind spot that needs to be addressed, as long as fathers are taking on more of a caregiving role in raising children. It's tragic that the mental health and sleep concerns of fathers continue to go unrecognized.


Urine Drug Screening at the Sleep Disorder Center
May 28, 2020

From the presentation: “American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends all sleep disorders centers (SDC) routinely perform urine drug screens (UDS) in patients undergoing a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) or maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) to identify substances that can alter results of testing. Many substances can affect the results of an MSLT or MWT, which influences management of sleep disorders going forward. Our research has shown most academic SDC have implemented this; however, we have not.

Takeaway: Does this describe your lab or clinic?


Artificial brains may need sleep too
June 8, 2020

From the research study abstract: “Watkins and her research team found that the network simulations became unstable after continuous periods of unsupervised learning. When they exposed the networks to states that are analogous to the waves that living brains experience during sleep, stability was restored. 'It was as though we were giving the neural networks the equivalent of a good night’s rest,' said Watkins.

Takeaway: And just like that, science fiction becomes science nonfiction.


Sleep Physician Resolves Patient’s Sexsomnia with SSRI
June 3, 2020

From the article: “In the middle of the night, deep asleep with his eyes closed, a man would often initiate sex with his wife. While his wife wasn’t pleased to wake up in the dead of night, she never confronted her husband about his behavior. Then, one day, the man went camping with a group of his male friends. Once again, he started to act out sexually in his sleep, only this time his friends were less forgiving. …'To his embarrassment, he discovered what was happening,' says the treating physician, Richard Castriotta, MD, FCCP, FAASM, a sleep specialist in California.

Takeaway: This is an angle on sexsomnia that I'd never considered: how a person may express their parasomnia outside of their normal sleeping environment, where it may otherwise go unobserved or ignored.   


Early morning training and sleep deprivation: Facts and Solutions
June 8, 2020

From the article: “In 2019, the British Medicine Journal published a study on sleep in elite swimmers. The researchers found that variations in sleep time are related to early morning (in this study, 6:30AM) training, which can leave an athlete in a perpetual state of exhaustion and prolong the recovery process. It might be reasonable to suggest that people who get up early should also go to bed earlier. However, participants in this study (as with the majority of elite swimmers around the world) were not able to achieve that. The most common reasons were social, school or family commitments.

Takeaway: Forget the elite swimmers. My kids were in swim club before they'd even reached their teen years, and this was true for them even then. By the time high school swim team arrived, they were already plenty sleep deprived. I'm impressed with the amount of research on this topic and hope school districts will be enlightened about these major sleep-disrupting practices in light of the Start School Later movement. After all, if kids start school later but are asked for practice before school, then nothing changes for them. 


AASM condemns racism and discrimination
June 3, 2020

From the statement: “As sleep medicine professionals, we strive every day to provide the medical care that will help people live more satisfying, healthier lives. If we are to fulfill this professional calling to improve the lives of all people in our communities, then we must be willing to confront the horror of racism and address the reality of health disparities. To look the other way is to fail our duty as health care providers. To remain silent is to fail our Black friends, neighbors, staff, colleagues, and patients, who are deeply suffering on so many levels right now. We choose to see and to speak.

Takeaway: Couldn't have said it better myself. 

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.