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By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on October 27th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: October 27, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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




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


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:


CBT-I Works in Young Drinkers to Reduce Insomnia Symptoms & May Help Lessen Alcohol Use Too
October 23, 2020

From the article: “'The potential for insomnia treatment to influence alcohol-related consequences has significant implications for the prevention and treatment of alcohol use among young adults,' says Mary Beth Miller, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the MU School of Medicine, in a release. 'Given the stigma associated with mental health issues and addiction, it’s crucial to identify other forms of treatment that either influence alcohol outcomes or open the door to alcohol-related treatment.'

Takeaway: It wouldn't surprise me one bit to discover that the habit of using alcohol as a sleep aid begins in high school and college, when poor sleep and insomnia seem to really take hold for so many. I would love to see college campuses and high school counselors become more educated on this so they can direct these young adults toward non-drug options for dealing with sleeplessness.

Also, a shout out to Sree Roy at Sleep Review  for doing such a great job covering the wide field of sleep medicine!


Instead of Sleep Meds, Special Lighting Helps Nursing Home Residents Get Better Sleep, Study Finds
October 20, 2020

From the article: “Baier and a team of colleagues identified an innovative way to cut in half the number of sleep disturbances experienced by residents in one California nursing home—and it didn’t involve prescribing sleeping pills. …Instead, the facility installed interior lighting fixtures that change color and intensity over the course of the day and night.

Takeaway: I love that the sleep health of these elderly residents was taken seriously. Culturally, we're still in a place where dozing, sleepwalking, shift phasing grandparents are the norm, but we know this isn't true as sleep health professionals.


Burnt Store Road streetlights ‘too invasive,’ neighbors beg Lee County to adopt new standards
October 15, 2020

From the article: “This month, commissioners approved another effort to replace old lights countywide, which would take three years and an estimated $1.3 million.

Takeaway: This is a significant challenge globally. Replacing the old sodium-vapor lamps (which cast a yellow light) is meant to save municipalities a lot of money, but the new energy-efficient  LEDs (which emit blue light) seem to be the source for chronic insomnia and circadian disruption.  


How Dreams Differ in REM Versus NonREM Sleep
October 23, 2020

From the article: “'Until the start of the twenty-first century, it was taken for granted that dreams occur only during REM sleep and that it wasn’t even necessary to study dreams. REM sleep was studied and that was it,'  [University of São Paulo neuroscientist Sidarta Ribeiro] says. 'Now it’s agreed that we dream during both REM and non-REM sleep, but to varying degrees.'

Takeaway: I'm willing to bet there are still some among us sleep technologists who still think dreaming only happens during REM. I know I didn't realize this until I started my first job and one of the MDs I worked for (who was also my personal sleep doc) shared this with me. 


URGOnight, Brain Training For Sleep – review
October 19, 2020

From the review: “I’m not sure what to think about URGOnight. It does provide me feedback and seems to be helping me train my thalamus to produce SMR waves and the science is there suggesting that URGOnight should produce results. Am I sleeping better? No, not really, but then I’m only a little more than a third of the way through the recommended 40-session program. Given that many of my nighttime sleep interruptions involve a trip to the bathroom, it will be interesting to see if I am eventually able to sleep through the night, even given that the morning trip may need to be in a hurry.

Takeaway: Whatever science the manufacturer claims seems like a pretty loose connection and is over 10 years old, so I'm not certain the "science is there," not when studies within the last three years like this one suggest otherwise. At $499, I'd say "buyer beware." You can get a free CBT-i app to do the same thing, after all. 


Man with rare brain disorder briefly cured by Ambien sleeping pill
October 19, 2020

From the article: “A drug that makes most people sleep has been shown to boost recovery in mute patients, in an unexpected breakthrough researchers call 'spectacular.'

Takeaway: Whenever the word 'cure' is used in a headline, it's probably a good time to flip on the BS meter. Here is the original study in Cortex, which is described as an "exploratory report." This sort of "science without data" commentary is problematic and should not be the basis for suggesting cures if only because careless newspapers will use "cure" as clickbait in their headlines. 


An extra half-hour of sleep shown to improve mindfulness

October 19, 2020

From the article: “A study of nurses found that an extra 29 minutes of sleep dramatically improved job-related mindfulness.

Takeaway: Of course this could also be an improvement that we, as sleep technologists, can and should enjoy. 


Other views | Explaining the 'right to rest'
October 22, 2020

From the commentary: “A couple of fairly recent Federal District Court cases have further defined the rights of the homeless and have issued guidance on what cities can and cannot do. …
In 2019’s Martin v. Boise, the court held that there is a right to be homeless and to be able to rest. The government cannot criminalize homeless people for sleeping outdoors on public property if there is no other access to shelter. More recently, in the July of 2020 case of Blake v. City of Grants Pass, the court said that the homeless could not be denied the life-sustaining activities of resting, sleeping and seeking shelter from the elements.

Takeaway:  Bottom line—the human and civil right to sleep is Constitutionally protected.

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.