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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on November 18th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: November 18, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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Examining Prevalence, Implications of Sleep Disorders in Women
November 11, 2020

From the CHEST 2020 annual meeting session, "Sleep Disorders in Women Across the Lifespan": “'I want to bring up the possibility that it might be the way we categorize sleep apnea, how we define and capture disease, and likely that the way we're doing that, with this gross metric of the AHI [apnea-hypopnea index], we're often missing very important phenotypes of disease,' said [panelist Christine] Won.

Takeaway: Differences between sleep among men and women continue to be the subject for research based on multiple criteria such as biological, behavioral, and social factors and which now take into account gender data which weren't always collected in the past. 


For many international students, time zone differences lead to unhealthy sleep habits
November 14, 2020

From the article: “The COVID-19 pandemic and UCLA’s subsequent shift to remote learning has affected how some international students have approached their education. In light of International Education Week 2020, here are four stories that highlight some of the challenges international students have had to deal with during fall quarter.

Takeaway: While the focus on the inconvenience of work-from-home has long held fast to families trying to work with children in the home, much less has been said about the plight of global students. It's interesting to note that—like these international students—global workers  were experiencing the deleterious impact of mismatched time zones on their sleep health well before the pandemic locked down workplaces.


68% of Americans lose sleep to drinking alcohol, survey says
November 16, 2020

From the press release: “According to a recent survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), a vast 68% of Americans have lost sleep due to drinking alcohol past bedtime, including one in five U.S. adults who have often lost sleep due to alcohol consumption. With the holidays approaching, it’s important to know why alcohol and sleep don’t mix.

Takeaway: It's going to be hard convincing people to put down the nightcaps during a pandemic, unfortunately. 


Towards a user-friendly sleep staging system for polysomnography—
Part I: automatic classification based on medical knowledge

November 7, 2020

From the research study: “In summary, the clinical use of automatic sleep scoring remains controversial because of three limitations:

a) lack of confidence in the developed approach (algorithms are often considered as a black box);
b) insufficient heterogeneity of the dataset, nonetheless necessary for assessing real-life performances; 
c) lack of practicality of the developed approach, which sometimes requires human intervention before use.

Takeaway: Here's one attempt to simplify automatic sleep staging that shows some promise. 


FDA Grants NightWare’s De Novo Application to Treat Nightmares in PTSD
November 9, 2020

From the article: “The device, called Nightware, is a digital therapeutic that uses an Apple Watch and an Apple iPhone that are configured and logged into a software application and the Nightware server. Throughout the night, Apple Watch sensors monitor body movement and heart rate during sleep. These data are sent to the Nightware server and, using a proprietary algorithm, the device creates a unique sleep profile for the patient. When Nightware detects that a patient is experiencing a nightmare based on its analysis of heart rate and body movement, the device provides vibrations through the Apple Watch while the product is in use.

Takeaway: Patients must have a prescription to use this product, which seems like an intelligent solution using popular wearable technology. If hooking up patients who wear this device, however, be aware of signal interference issues.  


Sleep medication use and incident dementia in a nationally representative sample of older adults in the US
November 11, 2020

From the research study: “Our study observed, in a nationally representative study of older adults in the US across 8 years of data that 15% of older adults report routinely using sleep medication, yet routine use of sleeping medication was associated with incident dementia across the follow-up interval.

Takeaway: For your older patients, getting an update on their sleep aid usage should be part of your intake with them before hookup. 


Sleep Apnea Common with Erectile Dysfunction—Before considering surgery for ED, send patients for sleep apnea testing, researcher advises
November 12, 2020

From the article: “Jose's group noted increasing patient awareness of sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction may lead to better cardiac health outcomes. The researchers also suggested further studies that investigate whether continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can be used to manage erectile dysfunction patients with sleep apnea.

Takeaway: It does seem like all roads to poor health lead to links with sleep apnea, doesn't it? 


How Exercise Affects Your Sleep—And whether evening workouts keep you awake
November 11, 2020

From the article: “There’s a longstanding belief that exercising at night is a bad idea. But recent evidence has busted this myth. …'Exercise raises your core body temperature, and you need that temperature to drop before you can fall asleep,' explains Dr. Drerup. 'That’s why many experts believed nighttime exercise was a bad idea. But recent studies have found no evidence supporting the theory that evening exercise keeps you awake. Just keep it light to moderate intensity.'

Takeaway: This also answers the question, "should I exercise after night shift before I go to sleep?" I've never done it, but I know some sleep technologists who swear by it. 


Insomnia denied as qualifying condition for Pa.'s medical marijuana program
November 13, 2020

From the article: “The board voted, 7-4, Tuesday to dismiss the application for adding insomnia.  …Board members were hesitant to add insomnia to the list partly because it takes many forms and is often caused by another underlying medical issue. …'Not all experiences of insomnia rise to the level of being a serious medical condition,' said board member Sarah Boetang, who also serves as the health department's executive deputy secretary.

Takeaway:  This runs counter to more popular arguments; it will be interesting to see how folks in PA respond.

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 chronic illness patient advocacy publishers, and produces the Journal Club continued education presentations for the AAST. You might occasionally see her work in A2Zzz as well. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.