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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on March 20th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: March 20, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice


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


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



Nearly 1 in 3 Military Personnel Meet Criteria for Nightmare Disorder
March 19, 2018

From the article: “Results show that 31% of military participants had clinically significant nightmares, and trauma-related nightmares occurred in 60% of them. Participants who met criteria for nightmare disorder were 5 times more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 4 times more likely to have depression, 3 times more likely to have anxiety, and 2 times more likely to have insomnia. Despite their common presence, nightmares were reported as a sleep-related concern by only 3.9% of military personnel.”

Takeaway:  Maybe as sleep techs we should be asking known military participants about nightmares during patient intake... sometimes, patients don't know to report these kinds of symptoms and problems because they just assume it's normal.


Navy studies how sleep deprivation affects group decision-making
March 15, 2018 

From the website: “Participants in Drummond’s study will be monitored during waking hours by wearing eye-tracking devices that measure attention as they perform tasks, such as focusing their gaze on moving images on a computer screen while at the same time ignoring distractions, the Navy said.

Takeaway:  It appears that the three vessel collisions over the last year has prompted the Navy to look into the ongoing problems of sleep deprivation while on duty. 


You don’t have to like everyone under your care
March 13, 2018

From the blog: “There might completely understandable reasons why you don’t like the person under your care. Maybe he never seems to hear what you say. Maybe he doesn’t follow any of your recommendations, but he blames you for lack of healing. Maybe he expresses opinions you find offensive. Maybe he calls you racial slurs. Maybe he’s thrown things at you. Maybe he threatens to rape you. Maybe he’s told you that he will kill you and your family.

Takeaway: It can be difficult to work with some patients, but this is a reminder that every patient we see deserves the same standard of care as any other patient. If you feel threatened by a patient, turn to your lab manager for support and know in-lab protocols that exist to protect your safety. If you're not being threatened, but your patient is extremely unpleasant to be around, you still need to do a stellar job collecting their sleep data. 


Leveraging technology to diagnose sleep disorders
March 15, 2018

From the article: “Advances in technology mean that detailed physiologic sleep information can be monitored at home. Recent developments allow for home sleep-based monitoring of brain activity. These devices have a headband which monitors brain activity using a limited EEG.
Sleep monitoring based on autonomic signals applies sensors to the chest wall to measure cardiorespiratory physiologic changes that suggest sleep and OSA, and may facilitate diagnosis of additional sleep disorders (beyond OSA) in the home in the near future.”

Takeaway: What do you think? Are in-lab sleep tests going to become a thing of the past, with all the new technologies now available to monitor patient vitals? 


QuietOn's Noise-Cancelling Earbuds Will Silence Your Snoring Partner
March 14, 2018

From the blog: “While these earbuds have been designed primarily with sleep in mind its designers also say that they can help cancel out other large environments such as tube trains, loud offices or even just a busy street.

Takeaway: These are still under development but the fact that people are going to be willing to shell out decent money for these eventually goes to show you just how bad snoring is on bed partners, roommates, and family members.


A Quiet Drug Problem Among the Elderly
March 16, 2018

From the article: “Persuading older people that benzos can hurt them — and that alternative treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and improved sleep hygiene can be as effective for insomnia, though they take longer — has proved an uphill fight. …Some people take benzos for years without increasing the dose, so describing them as 'dependent' or 'habituated' — let alone 'addicted' — often causes angry reactions.” 

Takeaway: Sleep techs have little say in these prescribing nightmares, but we can at least highlight a patient's complaints of insomnia, or red flag a long list of medications that includes benzodiazepine use, in Tech Notes for the doctor to see.


Your Healthy Family: Results of my oral appliance on my sleep quality
March 16, 2018

From the commentary:  “The results of my first home sleep test, (sic) showed that I had mild obstructive sleep apnea and on average I stopped breathing 9 times an hour.  Dr. Cairns determined that a dental appliance would be a good place to start, and she shared the results of the test with my primary care doctor who also agreed.” 

Takeaway:  This news reporter shared their personal journey using oral appliance therapy in a way that encourages discussion about "ordinary" things like snoring and mild sleep apnea. This can help raise awareness for others who are sleepy but do not see a link to sleep-disordered breathing, as well as those who think that mild OSA is the same thing as "no" sleep apnea. Sometimes it's these personal stories that best awaken and motivate others to look into their own health problems. 


Tex McIver Killed Wife to Maintain His Wealth and Power, Prosecutor Contends
March 13, 2018

From the blog: “A Fulton County prosecutor told a jury that Atlanta attorney Claud 'Tex' McIver had lost his equity partnership, causing his income to plummet, and had mortgaged his beloved ranch to his wife when he killed her. His lawyers claim the shooting may have been prompted by a sleep disorder.

Takeaway: Given these days of violence in even the safest places, it's probably a good idea that ordinary people come to understand what RBD is. Maybe someone who has this disorder, but who isn't treating it, will read this article and reconsider. 

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.