Associated Professional Sleep Societies, June 11-15

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The Associated Professional Sleep Societies 30th Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies was held from June 11 to 15 in Denver and attracted approximately 5,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in sleep disorders. The conference featured scientific sessions and an exhibition hall focused solely on sleep medicine and sleep research.

In one study, Kimberly Babson, Ph.D., of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California, and colleagues examined the prevalence of insomnia symptoms among a representative sample of female veterans in an effort to identify homogeneous subgroups of women with clinically significant insomnia symptoms. The investigators found that 47.39 percent of female veterans reported clinically relevant insomnia symptoms. Women with depression, pain, and posttraumatic stress disorder had the highest rates of insomnia symptoms, with 84.3 percent of women within this group having insomnia.

"These results have important clinical implications. Based on the rates of insomnia symptoms among female veterans, primary care providers may benefit from conducting an initial brief screening for insomnia among women presenting for primary care appointments," Babson said. "Based on results of the screening, women could then be referred for behavioral sleep interventions in order to improve sleep and decrease the psychological and psychosocial consequences of poor sleep."

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In another study, Kelly Glazer Baron, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues found that late sleep timing among healthy individuals who sleep at least 6.5 hours per night was not associated with higher body mass index.

"In contrast to several previous studies, being a late sleeper was not associated with higher body mass index but it was associated with less healthy behaviors. It may be possible that these late sleepers who are able to get enough sleep can compensate for their poor diet or it could possibly lead to weight gain over time," Baron said. "Being a late sleeper was not itself associated with higher weight but still associated with less healthful behaviors. Also, given that sleep timing, in particularly wake-up time, was associated with lower physical activity, it may be useful to look at interventions to help late sleepers fit in more activity, even if they are not able to fit it in when they first wake up."

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Wendy Troxel, Ph.D., of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., found that sleep problems were prevalent in military spouses as well as service members. The investigators found that 44 percent of military spouses reported sleeping six hours or less per night, which is below the recommended seven to eight hours per night for optimal functioning. Furthermore, the investigators found that spouses reported clinically significant levels of poor sleep quality and high levels of daytime impairment due to sleep problems.

"Targeting sleep problems may provide an important opportunity for supporting the physical and mental health and resiliency of military families," Troxel said. "These findings highlight the importance of screening for sleep problems in service members as well as their spouses. Given that the primary care setting is often where patients present with sleep problems, it is critical that primary care providers routinely assess sleep problems and refer as appropriate for evidence-based treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia."

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