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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on December 12th, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: December 12, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice

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


Driving home from night shift may be safer with light therapy
December 2, 2016

From the article: “Exhausted shift workers may be safer driving home at night when they're exposed to bright light before they hit the road, a small study suggests.”

Takeaway: Stay safe, nightwalkers. A brief sit-down in front of a lightbox may help keep you safe on the road when you head home after a night at the lab. The study cited here is small, but it shows that there are efforts out there to help keep graveyard workers more alert after work so they can survive the drive home.


“John Glenn was ‘remarkable’ even in sleep”
December 9, 2016

From the article: "As doctors stuck electrodes all over his body, Glenn joked that they may have missed a spot, Czeisler recalled. ... 'He looked at me and said, There’s a piece of skin here, Doc,that doesn’t have an electrode. Sure you don’t want to put something on it?’ '"

Takeaway: What a fun way to remember a great contributor to American space history!


"Report and Research Agenda of the American Geriatrics Society and National Institute on Aging Bedside-to-Bench Conference on Sleep, Circadian Rhythms, and Aging: New Avenues for Improving Brain Health, Physical Health, and Functioning"  
November 14, 2016

From the article: “Examining the relationship between sleep and circadian rhythms (SCRs) and health is particularly relevant to research involving older adults, because the prevalence of SCR disturbances and certain health problems (e.g., cardiometabolic and neurodegenerative disorders) increase with age. SCR-based preventive and disease-specific strategies could yield transformative approaches to maximizing healthy aging. Clarifying the relationships between SCR biomarkers, health states, and the aging process, for example, may provide insight into novel ways to detect, monitor, and treat common diseases that occur more frequently in older than younger adults.”

Takeaway: There's some really great information here to pay attention to as a sleep technologist. Not all of our patients are elderly, but a great many of them are, and will continue to be for the time being. 


Winx Sleep Therapy System Now Available Directly to the Millions of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sufferers Who Can't or Won't Use CPAP
December 6, 2016

From the article: “Winx provides relief from obstructive sleep apnea without a mask and is designed specifically for the half of sleep apnea patients who can't or won't use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. FDA-cleared and previously available only in select sleep labs, Winx is currently available to consumers in California due to initial high demand, but will be available with broader national distribution in 2017.”

Takeaway: What's somewhat troubling about this article: it does not discuss the fact that patients will still need a prescription in order to use it (meaning, the claim of "now available directly to the millions" is misleading).

Also: Are sleep physicians prescribing this oral pressure therapy (OPT) device? If so, are sleep technologists able to follow through with these patients to make sure they are compliant? And what about insurance coverage? Inquiring minds want to know.

If you have a strong opinion about OPT, comments for this Yahoo! article are still open and ready for your feedback... Just sayin'...  


Minnesota approves marijuana for PTSD; rejects insomnia, depression, other illnesses
December 1, 2016

From the article: “Eight other medical conditions—phantom limb pain, arthritis, autism, depression, diabetes, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, insomnia, and schizophreniawere reviewed this year, but rejected.”

Takeaway: In those states where marijuana is legal, plenty of users believe it is useful for sleep disorders like insomnia. The state of Minnesota has decided there isn't enough research to suggest it as a sleep aid at this time, which may surprise many, but is a prudent approach until more data on the impact of marijuana on sleep can be studied. 


Getting Good Sleep Part 2: Why You Would Need a Sleep Study
December 8, 2016

From the article: “'Don't be afraid of the wire,' said Dr. Hany Haddad, with Community Health North Sleep Clinic in Indianapolis. He was talking about the way people are wired up for an in-lab sleep study at the clinic. That's where you spend a night with monitors attached to you and technicians watching every movement with cams.

Takeaway: More reports and articles in local newspapers seem to be addressing what it's like to have a sleep study, ostensibly to reduce the amount of anxiety people have about them due to fears about what they don't understand.

While this particular piece of journalism isn't comprehensive, it does make the effort to introduce the idea that a sleep study is not a novelty scenario anymore, but one that many people may need to undergo. Demystifying sleep and sleep disorders is still very much a challenge, but at least local media is paying some attention.


“Update on Oklahoma sleep study hearing”
Dec 5, 2016

From the article: "In October, Rep. Lewis Moore (R-OK), who serves on the Oklahoma State Legislature’s Public Health Committee, requested an informal hearing to discuss a study proposal addressing the cost of sleep studies and their impact on state health care expenditures. Currently, there is no policy for sleep services within Oklahoma’s 'Health Choice' program—the health insurance program for Oklahoma state employees."

Takeaway: Perhaps the most encouraging outcome of this story, thus far, is that Rep. Lewis Moore (R-OK), who initiated the inquiry as a measure to save the state money, will be touring an actual sleep facility to see how an in-lab test differs from a home sleep apnea test. Sometimes it's just a matter of educating our leaders so they can see the greater value of the healthcare services their constituents need.

BIO:  Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the weekly sleep news 
clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health
headlines daily. She is also
Chief Content Officer for inboundMed and
contributes to
AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and other places.