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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on August 7th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: August 7, 2018

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.



Hacking sleep: Study finds National Guard soldiers self-treat sleep issues
July 31, 2018 

From the website: San Francisco State University Professor of Anthropology Martha Lincoln: 'Some members of the military worry they could face negative repercussions if they see counselors or therapists and get prescription medications to treat sleeplessness. …Soldiers often feel that will raise red flags in their personnel file, so they’ll do other things to remedy their sleep problems.'

Takeaway: It's probably a safe assumption that every single military patient we see (whether active or veteran) is using self-help—both good and badto manage their sleep problems.


What Lies Ahead for the Treatment of Insomnia
August 1, 2018 

From the website: “Although CBTi is a promising long-term solution because patients can practice the skills on their own, there is a limit to the number of professionals that are certified to deliver CBT specifically for insomnia.

Takeaway: It seems to me that sleep techs could fill this role with proper training. It might be a great way to expand our scope of practice in the field in a way that makes a huge difference.


How to Predict Oral Appliance Outcomes
August 2, 2018

From the article: “Today there are several devices available to dentists to predict oral appliance efficacy. One is the MATRx by Zephyr Sleep Technologies, a FDA-approved medical device system that helps dentists not only identify successful candidates for oral appliance therapy, but also determine the amount of protrusion that’s required to effectively treat a patient with OSA.

Takeaway: Oral appliances are now a regular feature in the therapeutic landscape for sleep apnea. Knowing how to titrate an oral appliance should become top on your list of things to learn if you've not mastered the topic yet.


A Solid Night’s Sleep Is the New Luxury Good. Have Fun Affording It.
July 31, 2018

From the article: “When I asked Dr. Foster about all the fads, he said something that stayed with me. … 'It’s a fantastic phenomenon as the human species that we feel we can control everything,' he said. 'While at the same time just ignoring the damn obvious.' And as for how to sleep better? He recommended I avoid light before going to bed.”

Takeaway: We can help disrupt the idea that adequate sleep is only for the affluent by teaching simple, easy sleep hygiene techniques in the lab to all of our patients. 


Sleep technology has evolved but does it actually work?
August 4, 2018

From the article: “[Dr. Guy Meadows, clinical director of The Sleep School in the UK] cautions against the relentless pursuit of sleep-related gadgetry. 'Sleep is a natural biological process and the over-analysis of it can ironically push it further away.' …However, he adds: 'We went through the superfood and clean-eating stage, and now we’re in the super sleep stage. It’s a long time coming because it’s the most powerful performance enhancer there is.'

Takeaway: This article reviews a wide swath of sleep technology products, maybe more than many of us in the sleep tech field are aware of. Here's an easy way to become familiarized.


I Tried 4 CBD Products That Claim to Help Sleep and Here's What Happened
August 5, 2018

From the article: “It's …safe to take up to 1,500 milligrams of CBD, according to a study published in Neurotherapeutics, which means there's not much risk—and maybe a fair amount to gain—in dosing yourself before bed. So over the course of two weeks, I experimented with four different kinds of CBD to see how it would affect my sleep. I took each one at the same time each night and each type for three nights. Here's what went down.” 

Takeaway: While, as sleep techs, we cannot discuss treatment or dosing of CBD with patients, we should still know what patients might be trying and what those outcomes may involve. This is an anecdotal effort, hardly scientific, but it does show that results are likely to vary widely. Until actual scientific method can agree on appropriate strains, dosing, and other details for using CBD as a sleep aid, we need to remain skeptical and not jump on any self-help bandwagons.


Learning while sleeping? Our learning capabilities are limited during slow wave sleep
August 3, 2018

From the report:  “Hypnopedia, or the ability to learn during sleep, was popularized in the '60s, with for example the dystopia Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, in which individuals are conditioned to their future tasks during sleep. This concept has been progressively abandoned due to a lack of reliable scientific evidence supporting in-sleep learning abilities. …Recently however, few studies showed that the acquisition of elementary associations such as stimulus-reflex response is possible during sleep, both in humans and in animals. Nevertheless, it is not clear if sleep allows for more sophisticated forms of learning.” 

Takeaway: One might wish to ask why sleep needs to be invaded for the purposes of learning when there are 16 good hours in the waking day to achieve it already 


Va. woman convicted of $83M Medicare, insurance fraud
July 30, 2018

From the article: “Young Yi, 44, of Sterling, who formed the 1st Class Sleep Diagnostic Center and 1st Class Medical, was convicted Monday of one count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, seven counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of filing a false tax return, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement. She’ll be sentenced Nov. 2.

Takeaway: Ideally, we are all associated with legitimate sleep clinics, but if you suspect something illegal is going on in yours, especially as it relates to Medicare fraud, you can take action by following these whistleblower guidelines via the Medicare site.

BIO:  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 MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.