Saturday, June 24, 2017

Improving sleep in children

Normally, articles like this don't impress me. At least the ones written to help adults sleep. But this one for kids is packed full of great advice to help kids sleep better. It's not as applicable for infants...more for toddlers and older children / adolescents.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sleep apnea and insomnia on the rise in the US Military

This article shows how both sleep apnea and insomnia diagnoses have increased from 2005 - 2014. In my clinic, both conditions make up the bulk of the diagnoses and often exist together. The article states how the rates are higher in more senior personnel. This may be because sleep apnea is more prevalent with advancing age. Also, I frequently see senior personnel who are close to retiring, and have decided to start taking care of themselves. Usually it's because they finally have time to get their medical problems addressed as they approach separating from the military. Some of them wish they had gotten evaluated years prior, as treating their sleep apnea can significantly improve their quality of life.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Float therapy?

I've never heard of float therapy until I saw this article. Apparently, some derive benefit from floating in body temperature, salty water that is inside a sound-proof vessel. The article mentions that "float therapy" may help some with insomnia. I'm not aware of any studies to that effect - the report is only anecdotal. The article states that one reason it may help people sleep could be the same reason why a warm bath is helpful. I just hope people don't fall asleep while in the float chamber.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Netflix vs sleep

This article discusses how the CEO of Netflix doesn't worry about competition from streaming services like Amazon or HBO. Instead, the CEO worries about the human need to sleep a third of our lives. Because when we sleep, we aren't able to watch Netflix. What an interesting perspective. As a sleep-deprived species, I worry about the effect of Netflix on sleep duration! I guess the relationship is bidirectional.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Shutter Island

When I see a child that is having nightmares, I explain to the parents that they shouldn't let the child watch potentially frightening shows or movies close to bedtime. I should have taken my own advice when I recently watched the movie Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I watched the movie right before I went to sleep, which was a mistake. On that night, my wife and kids were out of the house, so I was home alone. I fell asleep OK, but kept waking with nightmares related to what had happened in the movie. So I guess my advice to parents should be broadened to adults as well.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP therapy, and diabetes

This study involved a large population of veterans diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The study authors examined CPAP therapy usage and its effect on diabetes. The results showed that metabolic markers of diabetes were reduced in those patients that used the CPAP the most per night. Specifically, usage of at least 6 hours per night. The reduction in diabetes markers was not present in those with less nightly CPAP usage. Also, the risk of developing diabetes was reduced by those that used CPAP at least 6 hours per night. Finally, both of these findings were not influenced by the slight increase in weight observed during the follow up period measured.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

CPAP may improve PTSD in Veterans with sleep apnea

This article discusses research about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). There have been research studies linking PTSD and OSA, possibly because of OSA-related sleep disruption. In particular, OSA can be more frequent in dream sleep, resulting in more dream sleep fragmentation. This could cause more nightmares, or at possibly more awareness of nightmares. In this study, the authors sought to determine if CPAP therapy for OSA also reduced PTSD severity in US Veterans.

The results showed a modest reduction in PTSD symptoms in patients with OSA treated with CPAP for 6 months. And the more nights someone used their CPAP, the less severe the PTSD symptoms. There were also improvements in sleep quality, daytime functioning, and quality of life.