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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on August 22nd, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: August 22, 2017

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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


" 5 Deviated Septum Myths, Debunked"
August 21, 2017 

From the article: "One of the most commonly misunderstood topics with the lay public and even the medical community is the deviated nasal septum. Quite often, I hear patients tell me, 'my deviated septum is causing my sinus headaches,' or 'I have a deviated septum from a baseball accident.' While both these statements are not completely false, they both imply that having the former always causes the latter, which is not true."

Takeaway:  Some really great education on the sinus and nasal passages and how their construction and mechanics impact breathing as we sleep.


"Shift work and driver fatigue ended Dr. Brandon Rogers’ life"
August 19, 2017 

From the blog: A major study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016 found that:

  • over a third of all drives performed following night shift resulted in a near-crash
  • nearly half the drives in the experiment had to be ended prematurely due to the driver’s failure to control their vehicle adequately
  • “microsleeps” in homebound night-shift workers, measured through ocular analysis, were found (not surprisingly) to be much more prevalent than compared to drivers who drove after multiple hours of sleep, and
  • prolonged driving (at least 45 minutes after night shift) was found to be especially dangerous"

Takeaway: As "nightwalkers," we are not immune to this dangerous job hazard. Please be safe when driving home from night shift.


"Don't let your CPAP ruin your vacation plans: Tips on electricity and travel"
August 16, 2017

From the blog: “[T]raveling with your CPAP machine doesn’t have to be burden. There are several options, including travel-sized CPAP machines that can make it easier for you to travel. …One concern you might have while traveling is the ease of electricity use if you are traveling someplace different. Follow our guide to electricity and CPAP safety to make your travels smooth and pleasant.”

Takeaway: If you have patients who are concerned about traveling with CPAP, this recent blog post provides lots of answers you can reference and share with them.


"Sleepless Tech Users Sacrifice Sleep Health"
August 14, 2017

From the press release: “The National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) latest Sleep Health Index ® (SHI) finds significant associations between technology use in bed and sleep health. Forty-eight percent of American adults reported using a device like a computer, tablet, or smartphone in bed before trying to go to sleep.  These people averaged two points lower on the overall SHI (75 vs. 77, on a 1 to 100 scale) and five points lower on the sleep quality subindex (65 vs. 70) than those who refrained from technology use in bed.

Takeaway: We've all had those patients who are significantly addicted to their devices. Here's some evidence-based ammunition for those conflicts you face with patients who refuse to put them away at bedtime. 


"How to Avoid Severe SSRI Withdrawal Symptoms?"
August 19, 2017

From the article: "As more and more people are on SSRIs for longer and longer periods of time, there are increasing numbers of people withdrawing from SSRIs who have taken them for 10–20 years of cumulative exposure. Some are stopping because they lost their insurance benefits. Some have felt well for years and assume that they are cured. Some retirees looking to cut down on expenses think that this is a good place to start. …Particularly after long-term use, the resulting akathisia can be severe and disabling. It is excruciating, and patients are so visibly anguished. Sometimes reinstatement or trying other medications helps a lot, and sometimes any medication seems to make things incrementally worse."

Takeaway: Definitely some things to keep in mind when you have patients using SSRI drugs. (These include citalopram/Celexa; escitalopram/Lexapro or Cipralex; fluoxetine/Prozac; fluvoxamine/Luvox; paroxetine/Paxil or Seroxat; and sertraline/Zoloft or Lustral.) When reviewing patient's meds lists, it might be useful to note any SSRI history, and if they say they aren't taking SSRIs anymore, make inquiries into how they stopped (if they did), when, and why. This could be insightful for both the doctor and the scorer during the interpretation of that patient's study. 


"The surprising details behind yawning "
August 17, 2017

From the blog: "[A]s scientists have turned more attention to yawning, we’ve discovered that there are many other possible reasons for this common behavior."

Takeaway: Here's more than you could possibly ever know or want to know about the function of yawning. Yes, yawning may have a legit purpose, and you may be surprised by what that purpose is. Makes for great "sleep trivia" during hookup for patients who need more distractions in order to relax.


"Can A Little Alcohol Impair A Tired Driver That Isn't Drunk?"
AUGUST 21, 2017

From the article: “If you are under the legal alcohol limit and sleep-deprived, you may be as impaired as a drunk driver, a study finds.

Takeaway: Often, driving under the influence (of alcohol or drugs) is considered a separate concern than that of drowsy driving, but this new research shows that a combination of both impairments can cross-amplify each other, which can be especially hazardous while operating a vehicle.

BIO:  Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily. She is also Web Consultant for the American Sleep Apnea Association, writes MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and other places.

The 2017 Fall Course, Current Technology Trends in Sleep Medicine, will be held at the Louisville Marriott East in Louisville, KY, from October 13 - 14, 2017. Will you be there?

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