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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on November 3rd, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: November 3, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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REGISTER NOW: AAST Webinar, Nov 5, 2020—The WHY's and HOW's of Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Sleep Center

Dr. Seema Khosla, Medical Director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep in Fargo, ND and industry expert contributor will provide a look into how she is managing patient care, break down the ”WHY’s” that sleep centers have to respond to and the risks presented by this pandemic, as well as the need to educate our patients on the safety precautions being taken.

The AAST is also responding to the "HOW's" of implementation of a safety plan. Dottie Covey-Elleby, ACHC Corporate Accreditation Surveyor will provide her perspective on best practices for meeting national safety standards. AAST Members who attend this webinar will be able to claim 1 CE credit after passing a short knowledge assessment. 

For the latest information, please check the following resources:


Put Sleep First. Drowsy Driving is Dangerous.
October 20, 2020

From the PSA: “Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Like alcohol, sleepiness can slow down your reaction time, decrease awareness of your surroundings, impair judgment, and increase your risk of crashing which could harm yourself and others. … Simply put, don’t operate a motor vehicle when you are sleep-deprived.

Takeaway: As shift workers, sleep technologists really need to remember that the rules apply to us, too. We can consult our patients on best practices all day long, but we also need to ensure we aren't ignoring our own advice. Stay safe out there!


Time’s Up! The Call to End Daylight Saving Time (podcast)
October 29, 2020

From the show notes: “Energy conservation and candy consumption are just two reasons the U.S. has implemented or extended daylight saving time. But evidence shows the twice-yearly time change has detrimental effects on our health and safety, especially when we 'spring forward.' In this episode of Talking Sleep, we talk with Dr. M. Adeel Rishi, vice chair of the AASM Public Safety Committee and lead author of the Academy’s position statement calling for the elimination of daylight saving time to learn why 'falling back' to permanent standard time is best for optimal health.

Takeaway: I don't much mind the falling back, but that lost hour in the spring is a doozy.


According To A New Study, Patients Are Texting, Smoking, Or Tweeting During Appointments
October 28, 2020

From the column: DrFirst surveyed 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 and found that while 44% of them have now used telehealth services during the pandemic, including 25% for therapy, 73% of men and 39% of women reported multitasking during their visits. The types of distractions were varied with the most common being surfing the web, checking e-mail, or checking texts (24.5%), watching the news, TV, or a movie (24%), scrolling through social media (21%), eating a snack or meal (21%), and playing a video game (19%). Respondents also indicated doing telehealth appointments with their doctor while smoking a cigarette (11%), drinking an alcoholic beverage (9.4%), or driving (10%). One could hardly imagine any patient smoking in a doctor’s office openly in person, though it does perhaps give a bigger picture of a person in context.

Takeaway: Looks like we will need to develop a new set of skills in our efforts to educate patients through telehealth connections!


TikTok Wellness Influencers Want You to Tape Your Mouth Shut
October 27, 2020

From the article: Shark Tank endorsed an 'airway health' startup, only to pull out of the deal. But the claims that nasal breathing is a catchall health solution keep going.

Takeaway: There's a huge proponent out there pushing for mouth taping to prevent oral breathing. Meanwhile, there's very little evidence that it works, and some sleep technologists and respiratory therapists are decidedly against this solution due to concerns about aspiration pneumonia. What do you think? 


Provent Is Discontinued
November 2, 2020

From the article: “Obstructive sleep apnea therapy Provent, which uses expiratory positive airway pressure to keep airways open, has been discontinued, as of June 1, 2020. For patients who are currently using Provent, they can continue to use until their current supply runs out or expires. (The last batch made expires Sept 16, 2023.)

Takeaway: Will you be brokenhearted by this news?


Scientists find a troubling link between sleep deprivation and addiction
November 2, 2020

From the article: “For decades, scientists have known cocaine and sleep have a bidirectional relationship: Using cocaine disrupts sleep, while too little sleep makes people likelier to use cocaine. What they haven't understood is which part of the brain is regulating this dynamic and guiding behavior, and how sleep deprivation directly contributes to cocaine addiction.

Takeaway: If you know anyone who struggles with addiction (and withdrawal), you know this to be true. 


Sleep Hygiene For Couples: How Partners Can Create Healthy Sleep Habits Together

October 27, 2020

From the article: “According to Dr. Moss, people in the U.S. are currently reporting more stress than any other country. Couples report the top-three stressors are the nation’s future, finances, and work. …All of these can create conflict with your partner and affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Takeaway: Sleep hygiene education could be a good discussion to have when your patient's loved ones are present. 


Ambulance patient died in Port Wakefield Road crash because paramedic fell asleep, jury told
ABC NEWS (Australia)
October 29, 2020

From the article: “In the opening address, the prosecution told South Australia's District Court that Mr McLean had worked 11 shifts in the 12 days prior to the accident after volunteering to work overtime, and was suffering from fatigue.

Takeaway:  I do hope your work schedule does not resemble his.

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.