The 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, SLEEP 2010, took place June 5 to 9 in San Antonio and attracted more than 5,000 participants from around the world. The conference focused on advances in sleep medicine and research, with impacts on clinical practice approaches.
Key highlights included studies focusing on the impact of excessive daytime sleepiness on the risk of depression, the association between insomnia and mortality, the link between sleep and academic achievement, and the incidence and prevalence of sleep disturbances among soldiers returning from wartime deployment.
In one study, presented by Erika Gaylor, Ph.D., of SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., researchers found that children whose parents establish routine bedtimes for them as well as put them to bed earlier had higher math and literacy skills.
The researchers evaluated a nationally representative sample of about 8,000 children and found that shorter sleep duration was linked to lower literacy and math scores when controlling for child and bedtime characteristics. In addition, having a rule about bedtime was the most consistent predictor of positive developmental outcomes, with scores for receptive and expressive language, phonological abilities, literacy, and early math abilities higher among children with a bedtime rule. Earlier bedtime was also predictive of positive development outcomes.
"Of the three sleep habits we studied (nighttime sleep, bedtime, and parents' rules about bedtimes), the most predictive of language and math skills was having a rule regarding bedtime. This is a simple practical behavior that practicing clinicians could discuss implementing with parents and their children," Gaylor said.
In another study, Maurice Ohayon, M.D., of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., evaluated 8,937 non-institutionalized individuals, 18 years of age or older, residing in Texas, New York, and California, representing a total of 62.8 million people. He found that as many as 19.5 percent of individuals experienced moderate excessive sleepiness and 11 percent experienced severe excessive sleepiness. Severe sleepiness was higher among women (13 versus 8.6 percent). In addition, 17.7 percent of individuals experienced being drowsy or falling asleep in situations requiring high concentration.
"The number of individuals sleepy or drowsy during situations where they should be alert is disturbing," Ohayon said in a statement. "Sleepiness is underestimated in its daily life consequences for the general population, for the shift workers and for the people reducing their amount of sleep for any kind of good reasons. It is always a mistake to curtail your sleep."
The study was funded by an educational grant from Cephalon.
Mahmood Siddique, D.O., of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., and colleagues found that excessive daytime sleepiness is associated with a higher risk of depression in high school seniors.
The researchers evaluated 262 high school seniors and found that students were typically sleep deprived, reporting a mean of 6.1 hours of sleep on weekdays and a mean of 8.2 hours of sleep on weekends. In addition, 52 percent of students reported excessive daytime sleepiness, 30 percent experienced strong depression symptoms, and 32 percent indicated some symptoms of depression. The odds of strong depression symptoms linked to excessive daytime sleepiness were high (odds ratio, 3.04), although the odds of some depression symptoms linked to excessive daytime sleepiness were not significant (odds ratio, 1.25).
"The implication of this study is that practicing clinicians should have high awareness of sleep deprivation among teenagers and screen for depression," Siddique said.
A study presented at the conference by Betty Garner, Ph.D., of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, showed that soldiers returning from wartime deployment experience a high prevalence of sleep disturbances. Fifty-eight U.S. soldiers, aged 23 to 58 years, were studied after their return from wartime deployment.
The researchers found that 86 percent of soldiers experienced significant sleep disturbances upon immediate return from deployment and 1.5 months later. In addition, after controlling for age, gender, and rank, soldiers more likely to experience persistent sleep disturbances included those who previously experienced sleep problems, had mild traumatic brain injury, or had symptoms of physical illness.
"This is the first study to describe the prevalence of sleep disturbances at two different time points in soldiers returning from deployment without any apparent physical trauma from blasts or amputation," Garner said in a statement. "The most surprising finding from this small preliminary sample was the extremely high percentage of sleep disturbances in soldiers even 45 days after they returned from wartime deployment back to the United States -- the safe zone."
In another study presented at the meeting, Jeanne Geiger-Brown, R.N., of the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, and colleagues studied 80 registered nurses working three successive 12-hour shifts. They found that more than half of the shifts were actually longer than 12.5 hours, that the average total sleep time between shifts was only 5.5 hours, and that night shift nurses average only 5.2 hours of sleep between shifts. Half of nurses experienced zero to one lapses of attention during the testing period, while 10 percent experienced at least nine lapses of attention.
"Few hospitals offer alternatives to the pattern," Geiger-Brown said in a statement. "There is increasing evidence that 12-hour shifts adversely affect performance. In 10 previously published studies of the effects of 12-hour shifts, none showed positive effects, while four showed negative effects on performance."
APSS: Teen Car Crashes Up When School Starts Earlier
WEDNESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Earlier school start times may lead to an increased number of teenage car crashes due to insufficient sleep, as earlier start times likely promote sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness among teens that can reduce alertness, according to data presented at SLEEP 2010, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, held from June 5 to 9 in San Antonio.
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