Category Archives: Sleep News (RSS)

Sleep Medicine Trends 20200

Sleep Medicine Trends is intended for physicians and health care providers involved in the management of patients with sleep disorders and the business operations of a sleep facility.

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Explore new strategies for the delivery of comprehensive sleep medicine care;
  • Improve patient care through innovative approaches to evaluation and management of sleep disorders;
  • Evolve with the ever-changing legal and regulatory environment; and
  • Gain insight into emerging technologies for the field.

AARC Congress 2019 (American Association for Respiratory Care)0

AARC Congress 2019 is designed by RTs, for RTs, and whether you are a manager or educator or bedside therapist you’ll find educational sessions targeting your specific area of practice. Cutting edge ventilator modes will be explained. New regulations coming out of Washington, DC, will be clarified. And forward-looking opportunities like telehealth will be addressed.

The Exhibit Hall promises to deliver the latest technology in the field as well, and you’ll find networking opportunities around every corner, in fun and entertaining social settings and informal get-togethers alike.

It’s all geared to helping you provide the best possible care to people suffering from lung disease, because for those people, quality care depends on the skills and expertise of the RT. Think of it as a spa treatment for your career. You’ll go home rejuvenated and ready to redouble your efforts on behalf of your organizations and your patients.

AARC Congress 2019 has been approved for 20+ contact hours Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE) credit by the American Association for Respiratory Care.

Remedies for Sleepless Nights Caused by Grief and Anxiety0

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America those who suffer from depression or anxiety claim an increase in their anxiety due to lack of sleep with 52 percent of men and 42 percent of women stating it directly affected their ability to remain focused the following day.

Is Your Child's Fear Keeping Him and You Awake at Night?0

Fear can become crippling for children. As a parent center stage with a son confronting fear, the warning signs are what can help the healing process.

030: Putting sleep apnea ‘out of business’ – Adam Amdur0

The American Sleep Apnea Association was founded in 1990 with a goal to administer and nurture a new model of sleep apnea peer support groups. Adam Amdur has been the Chief Patient Officer  since 2014 and in a wide ranging conversation we talk about the work of the ASAA, dispel some of the myths and misperceptions about sleep apnea, and discover how patients can find help and support from the ASAA.

This episode’s guest:

Adam Amdur -

Adam Amdur is the Chief Patient Officer of the American Sleep Apnea Association. He was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea in 2008, more than thirty years after he first showed symptoms. As the first patient principal investigator and co-founder of the Sleep Apnea Patient-Centered Outcomes Network, a part of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, Adam worked to bring together patient leaders from other networks in order to discover a common patient voice as it relates to research best practices and collaboration with diverse stakeholders. He has increased awareness through multiple media interviews and has been a lead presenter at the National Institutes of Health’s Precision Medicine Initiative.  


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For the Most Vulnerable, California Blackouts ‘Can Be Life or Death’0

As the widespread outages in the state continued for a second day, fears grew for sick and older residents and those who rely on medical equipment, reports The New York Times.

About 3 a.m. on Thursday he was jolted awake because his sleep apnea breathing machine stopped working.

“All of a sudden, I was like, ‘I can’t breathe,’” he said.

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Stop Snoring and Sleep Better at Night0

A snore is called noisy breathing during sleep, but it can also be the beginning of something life-threatening. People who snore are at risk of developing chronic sleep disorders and over the long term, serious health problems. To stop snoring, It is important to know what causes snoring and what can be done to address an individual problem.

Restructure your day to get a better night's sleep0

Consistency in your schedule may help restore patterns of sleep and waking so you can get needed rest.


Wake up at the same time every day. Waking time is the anchor for your circadian sleep rhythm.

The free time that accompanies your older years may allow you to keep any schedule you like: sleep late one day or wake up early the next. But that lack of structure can have a negative impact on your sleep.

Risks of inconsistent sleep

Even though it may feel like a luxury, an inconsistent sleep schedule can throw off your circadian rhythm, the body’s way of regulating sleep and waking. “That can lead to insomnia,” warns Dr. Dorsey, “but people don’t realize that their schedule is causing the problem.”

Let sleep problems go on too long, and you may experience the effects of sleep deprivation, such as changes in mood, thinking skills, and judgment. A lack of sleep can also lead to many health problems, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Getting help

Rather than suffer with sleeping difficulties, talk to your doctor or go to a sleep specialist for help. Get a physical exam to make sure there isn’t an underlying cause for your sleep problems.

If the cause is unclear, a sleep diary can help. Dr. Dorsey recommends recording the details of your sleep for two weeks. “Each morning, write down when you went to bed, estimate how long it took to fall asleep, count how many times you woke up in the night, and record when you finally woke in the morning. That baseline data will help you see patterns that may need to be changed,” says Dr. Dorsey. But keep the diary out of the bedroom and just estimate the values the next morning. Try not to look at a clock if you are awake during the night. That can create anxiety that makes sleeping more difficult.

Get back on schedule

To get your circadian rhythm back on track, start by waking up at the same time every day. The wake time is most important to getting on a schedule again. “It’s the anchor of your circadian sleep rhythm,” says Dr. Dorsey. She recommends using an alarm clock, since it sets a boundary for you.

Make your bedtime about seven or eight hours before the alarm will sound. “But don’t get into bed until your sleep time, and only if you’re sleepy. Trying too hard to fall asleep will wake you up,” says Dr. Dorsey. It helps to make a wind-down period part of your bedtime routine. That means stopping the use of all electronics an hour and a half before bed, keeping the lights low, and doing relaxing yet nonstimulating activities such as reading. “It’s worth it to wind down before bed because physical, emotional, and cognitive relaxation helps you to fall asleep faster,” says Dr. Dorsey.

Filling your day with more structure will also reinforce your circadian rhythm. Keep a regular schedule for meals, exercise, and activities such as grocery shopping, socializing, or housework. “Maintaining structure throughout your day can help you stick to your sleep schedule. Plus, routines are good for mood and can make you feel productive and vital,” says Dr. Dorsey. “You don’t have to be rigid about it. It’s fine if you occasionally stay up late. Just try to get up at close to the same time every day.”

The physical challenges of sleep in older years

An inconsistent sleep schedule isn’t the only sleep challenge older adults face. “As we age, we lose our slow-wave, or deep, sleep,” says Dr. Cynthia Dorsey, assistant professor of psychology in Harvard Medical School’s psychiatry department. As a result, you may wake up feeling unrested.

On top of that, older adults may wake more in the night be-cause of discomfort from chronic illness, frequent trips to the bathroom, medication side effects, or sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or periodic limb movement disorder.

Treating the physical problems that are keeping you awake may be simple, such as switching medications if a drug side effect is causing sleep disturbances. If symptoms indicate that there’s an underlying physical ailment—such as high blood pressure, an enlarged prostate (in men), or OSA—treatment may be more complicated, but will go a long way toward improving your sleep.

IF you live in Alaska, please call Alaska Sleep Clinic today to speak to one of our board-certified sleep specialists.

What Is A Lucid Dream And How They Happen0

I have been a lucid dreamer all my life. 

At first, I had no idea what it was or what was happening. I probably just thought is was a regular dream state, but obviously there was much more to it!

For anyone who does not know, lucid dreaming is the ability to recognize when you’re dreaming and then having the power to take control of that dream. It’s like waking up in a movie that you’re writing, directing, designing the sets for, and starring in, all at the same time. During lucid dreams, most people are able to perform wild feats of strength, travel instantly to distant planets, fly through the sky or be romantic with their favorite supermodel. Interestingly, why lucid dreams occur and why some people are able to control them is a bit of a mystery. 

Nearly half of the population has had a lucid dream at least once in their lifetime, and a fifth of the population report having about two lucid dreams per month! However, those that take the time to master lucid dreaming, like any other skill, are few and far between. Although lucid dreaming isn’t fully understood, we can take a look at the research and determine which factors make someone a likely lucid dreamer.  

Common Physical Characteristics of Lucid Dreamers

Lucid dreaming has been linked to higher-than-normal levels of brain activity during sleep, especially in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain deeply involved with the sense of self, conscious awareness, language and memory. In some laboratory studies, lucid dreamers can even send eye-movement signals to researchers to let them know that they are aware and dreaming. (Kinda like Inception!)

MRI scans have also shown that lucid dreamers have more gray matter volume which may indicate higher levels of conscious thought, self-discipline and making decisions, all of which might foster the critical self-awareness needed to dream lucidly. 

Sleep Disturbances Linked to Lucid Dreaming 

Lucid dreaming has been linked to sleep issues like narcolepsy and sleep paralysis. People with narcolepsy often suffer from sudden attacks of sleepiness, extreme daytime drowsiness, fitful sleep, and vivid nightmares. Narcoleptics have low levels of hypocretin, a substance in the brain that aids alertness and keeps people from having REM sleep at inappropriate times. Because narcoleptics have to wrestle with the boundary between consciousness and unconsciousness, they may be more likely to maintain awareness during their dreams and then exert control. This is good news because one study suggests that lucid dreaming may help narcoleptics cope with nightmares

Personality Traits Of Lucid Dreamers

Lucid dreamers seem to have some personality traits in common. The most important one may be self-awareness. While we’re awake, each and every one of us has the ability to think about our own thoughts, emotions and behaviors. That’s called metacognition. When we’re unconscious, we lose that ability. (It makes sense. We are without consciousness.) However, lucid dreamers carry metacognition over to the dream state are able to use it to manipulate or control their dreams. This isn’t the only link. Other common personality traits include: 

  • Dream Recall: People who are good at remembering their dreams are also more likely to be lucid dreamers. 
  • Introspection: An introspective person tends to think a lot about why they do what they do and as a result they may be naturally metacognitive 
  • Creativity: Some studies have found that lucid dreamers are more creative than their counterparts. (Your sleep chronotype can determine when you’re most creative).
  • Multi-Tasking: To be a successful lucid dreamer, you have to exist in the dream state while maintaining a level of self-awareness. It’s probably no surprise to learn that lucid dreamers often consider themselves to be good at focusing on multiple tasks at the same time, though the current brain research shows that people really aren’t good multitaskers, single tasking remains the most efficient way of focusing and completing tasks. When you are finished reading this post, watch this video, I recently answered a barrage of sleep questions on Nordic Now.

Behaviors that Promote Lucid Dreaming 

Even if you’ve never had a lucid dream, it doesn’t mean that you won’t or can’t. There are instances of people participating in dream studies who weren’t lucid dreamers going in but were able to learn how to do it before the end of the study. So It’s quite possible that anyone can pick up the skill if they set their mind to it and practice a little. And there are even a few behaviors that make lucid dreaming more likely. 

Meditation: People who meditate regularly are more likely to report lucid dreams. Meditation helps people develop an awareness of their mind in the moment and improves overall self-awareness. In other good news, meditation helps you sleep better in general, so I definitely recommend it. 

Vitamin B6: This vitamin helps keep your nervous and immune systems healthy. It can also help you remember your dreams. Studies have found that people who took a dose of vitamin B-6 before bedtime were more likely to remember their dreams. The participants said their dreams were more vivid than usual, too. (Vitamin D is also important for healthy sleep)

Practice: People who practice lucid dreaming will get better at lucid dreaming. One of the simplest techniques is to draw an X on your hand and get into the habit of looking at the X throughout the day, so when you’re dreaming and you don’t see the X on your hand, you will  know that you are in a dream state and will be able to take control of the situation.

Although we don’t know for sure why lucid dreaming occurs, we can construct a profile of the average lucid dreamer. He or she would have:

  • An active prefrontal cortex and a brain with high gray matter volume. 
  • They would likely be introspective, creative and self-aware.
  • There’s a good chance they may struggle with a sleep disorder. 
  • It’s also likely they’d be skilled at remembering their dreams. 

However, it seems that just about anybody has the capacity for lucid dreaming if they’re willing to practice it. So the mystery remains. 

Sweet Dreams,
Dr. Michael Breus
P.S. Sleeping comfortably through the night is critical to good sleep (and a dreaming state), the easiest upgrade for better sleep is a new pillow. I sleep on the Everpillow. If you sleep on your side, you’ll love the Curve.

The post What Is A Lucid Dream And How They Happen appeared first on Your Guide to Better Sleep.

Awake at 3 a.m.? Strategies to get back to sleep0

Sleep-maintenance insomnia is common in mid-life. Changing your thoughts and behaviors can help.

Published: September, 2016

It’s 3:00 in the morning—far too early to get up for the day. But you can’t get back to sleep because your mind keeps rehashing past and future worries—and fretting that you’re going to be exhausted all day long. Sound familiar? Known as sleep-maintenance insomnia, this common problem often crops up in mid-life.

In the wee hours of the morning, the last thing you want to do is take a sleeping pill, since you probably need to get up in a few hours. In fact, experts now recommend a special type of short-term therapy as the first-line treatment for insomnia instead of drugs. Called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, this therapy teaches people to change the unproductive thinking patterns and habits that get in the way of a good night’s sleep. It’s just as effective but safer than sleeping pills for both sleep-maintenance insomnia and trouble falling asleep at the start of the night (sleep-onset insomnia).

Rethinking your sleep habits

According to the Harvard Medical School Special Health Report Improving Sleep, edited by Dr. Lawrence Epstein, people with insomnia tend to become preoccupied with sleep and apprehensive about the consequences of poor sleep — a phenomenon dubbed “insomnia-phobia” by Harvard sleep specialist Dr. John Winkelman. In CBT-I, a therapist helps you replace negative thoughts (such as “I’ll be so tired, I’ll have a terrible day at work tomorrow!”) with more positive ones (“My job does not depend on how much sleep I get tonight”). Typically, you meet with the therapist once a week for an hour, for six to eight weeks. He or she also provides structure and support while you practice new thoughts and habits, and teaches you other successful sleep strategies. For example, you should:

  • Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Reserve it for sleep, intimacy, and restful activities such as meditation and reading for pleasure. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet. To block out noises, use a fan or other appliance that produces a steady “white noise.” Make sure your mattress is comfortable.
  • Set a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, which helps synchronize your sleep-wake cycle.
  • Limit awake-time in bed. If you don’t get back to sleep within 20 minutes after waking up in the middle of the night, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again.
  • Stay away from stimulants. Avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, many teas, chocolate, and some soft drinks) after 1 or 2 p.m.—or altogether, if you’re especially caffeine-sensitive.
  • Get regular exercise. Aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, or swimming can help you fall asleep faster, get more deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night.

How to access CBT-I

Many health insurance plans cover CBT-I, which falls under mental health coverage. However, not many therapists are trained in this special type of talk therapy. Even in the medical mecca of Boston, only a handful of clinicians offer CBT-I. Also, some people fail to complete all the required sessions or to practice the techniques on their own.

Internet-based programs might help address both problems. Several small studies suggest that online CBT-I programs can help insomniacs sleep better. In one such program, called SHUTi (Sleep Healthy Using the Internet), participants were about half as likely to wake up after falling asleep compared with a control group.

Another study documented at least mild improvements in about 80% of people who completed weeks of online CBT-I, with 35% reporting that their sleep was “much improved” or “very much improved.”

IF you live in Alaska, please call Alaska Sleep Clinic to speak to one of our board-certified sleep specialists.