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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on September 19th, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: September 19, 2017

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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CULTURE WATCH

"What is Lady Gaga's Chronic Pain? Fibromyalgia Explained"
BILLBOARD
September 18, 2017 

From a recent Lady Gaga post in Instagram:I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans.

Takeaway:  You may or may not have a solid understanding of how fibromyalgia can influence (and disrupt) sleep health. Looks like the chronic condition now has a vocal (and actively forthright) spokesperson in Lady Gaga. If you know patients who are struggling to sleep due to chronic pain or a fibromyalgia diagnosis, they may want to track what this international music phenom has to say about living with it.

INDUSTRY WATCH

"The surprising sleeping arrangements of an emergency physician"
KEVIN MD
September 15, 2017 

From the blog:Once I had to spend my first night in a sleeping room, after hours, in the back of a local mental health clinic.  That was a little creepy. Again, I said, “no mas.”  I had no interest in being accidentally committed.

Takeaway: This one's for those rare traveling sleep techs out there who move from place to place providing care in rural areas.  

TREND WATCH

"Massive Bath Robe On The Runway Takes The Pajama Trend To New Heights"
HUFFINGTON POST
September 13, 2017

From the blog: “Over the past few years, celebs like Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid and Kim Kardashian have all readily embraced the pajama trend.

Takeaway: The most recent Project Runway season also held a sleepwear competition just a couple of episodes ago. Now if only our patients would show up with something—anything!to wear during their sleep study, rather than insist on sleeping in the buff…

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

"You probably don’t need this $400 smart pillow to help you sleep better"
THE VERGE
September 18, 2017

From the website: “[W]hen it comes to cooling your body during the night, your head might not be the best place to start. Think about the body’s skin circulatory system like the radiator of a house, says [Eus van Someren, a sleep researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience]. When you turn the knob, the radiator opens and dissipates heat to the room. In the evening, our bodies 'open' to release heat from the skin, especially in key places like the palms, and the bottoms of the feet. So if you want to adjust your body temperature in bed, your hands and feet are probably more important, says van Someren.”

Takeaway: I don't know about you, but when I see pillows for sale at this price point, I really do wonder about the veracity of these claims. This explanation about cooling pillows being an unlikely solution makes sense. After all, aren't we generally more warm (or overwarm) in those areas where we carry more sweat glands?

PHARMA WATCH

"How Melatonin Helps You Sleep"
SLEEPNEWZZZ 
September 15, 2017

From the column: “Disruptions in natural melatonin levels can go hand-in-hand with sleep problems.

Takeaway: This is a nice overview from Dr. Michael J. Breus regarding the hormone melatonin (both naturally occurring in the body and manufactured as a supplement). 

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

"The sleep benefit extends only to having dogs in your bedroom NOT in your bed"
HEALTHSITE
September 15, 2017

From the blog: “Dear dog lovers, sleeping with your pet in the same bedroom is fine, but snuggling up with your pups in the same bed may affect your sleep quality.

Takeaway: We have all had patients who insist on sleeping with their pets; this might be a good compromise if sleep hygiene related to sharing one's bed with pets comes up in conversation. At least they won't need to banish Fido completely from the bedroom.

LEGISLATION WATCH

"Saliva, blood tests may soon be used to detect work fatigue"
OHS NEWS (Australia)
SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

From the website: “Almost 20 percent of all serious motor vehicle accidents in the country are caused by fatigue. In Australian workplaces, over 10,000 serious injuries happen every year because of sleepy workers. …'The problem is people just keep working or driving despite having a hard time staying awake. They don’t recognise their symptoms of drowsiness and the danger these represent,' said Professor Rajaratnam (Sleep Program Leader at Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, and the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity).

Takeaway:  Not a legislative story, per se, until you consider the legal problems of drowsy driving as a potential outcome of sleep deprivation. Then, we are definitely talking about laws and public safety, as well as privacy and personal responsibility. Also, please take the message of this article to heart. Sleep technologists are not superhuman, even if we do stay up all night. In fact, it's the nightwalking lifestyle that keeps us from being superhuman. Please be safe driving home after a night shift at the lab and remember, you may not be the best judge of your alertness.


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.


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