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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on August 14th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: August 14, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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2018 Inspirational KLS Conference Videos
August 12, 2018 

From the website: “At our June 2018 KLS International Conference, we shared short inspirational videos about Kleine-Levin syndrome.

Takeaway: These might be useful to stash away for opportunities to present topics to the general public about hypersomnia. Since sleep techs don't see a lot of hypersomnia patients (as a rule), these can be instructive toward our understanding of this rare, but debilitating, sleep disorder.


“You felt your life was ending”: inside Shattered – the televised sleep deprivation experiment
August 13, 2018 

From the website: “What would happen if you stuck a bunch of cameras on people staying awake for seven whole nights? It’s not a question that really needs asking or answering. But answer it Channel 4 did, with a week-long 2004 reality series called Shattered.

Takeaway: On the one hand, this is madness. On the other hand, for those techs working full time and OT but can't get enough recovery sleep, it's a comparable reality.


Peel Away Labs Multilayered Disposable Bed Sheet for Healthcare Facilities, Consumers
August 1, 2018

From the article: “After more than three years in development, Peel Away Labs’ 100% waterproof multilayer sheet makes it easy for consumers and healthcare personnel to change the bed sheets. By simply pulling down the sheet from one corner, a soiled sheet is “peeled away” in seconds to reveal a fresh one underneath. Peelaways offers sheets with 5 to 7 layers per package.

Takeaway: Would these work in the sleep lab? 


The Evidence on Kids, Sleep, and School Start Times
August 9, 2018

From the article: “Two separate literature reviews have documented that when middle and high schools start later in the morning, kids are happier and healthier. One analysis combined data from six separate studies and found that in schools with later start times, students were less likely to experience depression, consumed less caffeine, were more likely to be on time to class, and were less likely to fall asleep during class. A second analysis of 38 studies found that delaying school start times helps young people to get significantly more sleep each night. As a result, students’ attendance and grades improved and they were less likely to get into a car accident. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended delaying start times for middle and high schools to 8:30 a.m. or later. …But in many school districts, middle and high schools still begin early. If you are a parent or caregiver, what can you do?”

Takeaway: The numbers of public districts setting bell times later for middle- and high-school kids are increasing, but we still have a long way to go.


I Tried Apple’s Screen Time Tool. The Results Were Not Heartening.
August 13, 2018

From the article: “[B]oth major smartphone manufacturers (Apple and Google) recently announced tools that are meant to help us control the amount of time we spend on our smartphones. They operate on the assumption that if you were aware of how much time you spent, you would do it less. Both tools break down the exact amount of time you spend in each app or app category (like 'social media'), and letting you determine an allowance of time per day. Even Facebook and Instagram are jumping on board, rolling out tools to inform users on how much time they spend on their apps.


  1. Optimist response: "What a great idea! We can retrain ourselves to be less slavish to our phones."
  2. Pessimist response: "You can lead humans to solutions, but you can't make them use them, especially if you can simply 'snooze' these functions." 


Benzodiazepines are associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease
August 13, 2018

From the article: “Even though the increased risk for Alzheimer's disease was small in this study, the threshold for prescribing benzodiazepines and related drugs should be high enough due to their several adverse effects and events, such as falls. These medications are commonly used for sleep problems, but their effectiveness for this indication diminishes over weeks or months. However, the risk of adverse events remains in longer-term use.” 

Takeaway: This is good information to share with caregivers and loved ones watching out for older patients experiencing signs of dementia. Fall risk is as big a safety issue in the home environment as it is in the lab, especially for older people who may have nocturia or RBD.


The evolution of sleep is inevitable in a periodic world
August 6, 2018

From the article:  “In this paper, we present a model for the behavioral, adaptive theory of sleep and in particular its inactivity characterization. This is in contrast to the model in [15], which investigates how predator-prey interactions produce particular sleeping patterns or as in [16], which studies behavioral shutdown. Both of these papers, as do others, assume a priori that sleep serves a separate function—here, we do not.” 

Takeaway: An interesting new theory about what sleep is and why we do it, if you can break down the medicalese.


AINsight: The FAA and Sleep Apnea
August 9, 2018

From the editorial: “Due to several incidents likely related to fatigue and interrupted sleep in both aviation and the trucking industry, the NTSB and DOT called on the FAA to consider screening for sleep apnea. After a thorough decision pathway analysis and beta test of the FAA’s plan to comply, guidance to aviation medical examiners (AMEs) in regard to sleep apnea screening was issued early in 2015. …As one of only a handful of AMEs who participated in the beta test, I had the opportunity to work directly with FAA physicians in an attempt to make the system somewhat palatable for pilots. While safety is the primary role of the FAA, it is my goal to bring some reason into the system in my daily interface between the FAA and pilots.

Takeaway: Drowsy driving isn't limited only to trucks, cars, and trains.

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.