The Week in Sleep News: April 14, 2023

How a new machine model might help health care professionals screen for sleep disorders and the surprising link between sleep and your gut.

Two people sitting up in bed reading newspapers. Text reads: Sleep News, Week of April 14, 2023

This week in sleep news…

Machine model predicts sleep disorders from patient records

A new study reveals that a machine learning model can predict a patient’s risk for a sleep disorder using demographic data, lifestyle data, physical exam results, and laboratory values. In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers used the machine learning model XGBoost to analyze publicly available data from 7,929 patients in the U.S. who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2,302 of whom had a diagnosis of a sleep disorder. When comparing the model’s data, researchers found that a machine learning model could predict the risk of sleep disorder diagnosis with strong accuracy. The scientists hope these findings could be an effective first step in screening patients for sleep disorder risk.

Experts warn against bed-sharing with infants

The city of Fort Worth, Texas, has seen a very concerning uptick in infant deaths in the past year from bed-sharing accidents, and officials are now urgently advising parents against sleeping in the same bed. In their press release, Cook Children’s Medical Center shared, “Cook Children’s Medical Center has seen 30 infant deaths linked to unsafe sleep situations since January 2022, more than the number of fatal gunshot wounds and drownings combined.” Due to the rise of deaths from unsafe sleep, the hospital is now ramping up their efforts to inform parents about the dangers of practicing unsafe sleep and trying to work with parents who give pushback, due to bed-sharing being a generational habit. “An infant can get wedged between the headboard and mattress, suffocate under blankets, or come under the adult’s body if they’re sleeping together,” Candle Johnson, APRN, CPNP-PC, at Cook Children’s Renaissance Neighborhood Clinic in south Fort Worth, said. While bed-sharing is dangerous and ill-advised, co-sleeping, defined as the act of sleeping near your child, with each sleeper in an age-appropriate safe sleep setup, is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which writes, “AAP recommends that parents sleep in the same room — but not in the same bed as a baby, preferably for at least the first six months.”

More protein can improve your sleep quality

Sleep is one of the most essential roles of the human body, and yet scientists still don’t fully understand how sleep works. However, researchers are diving into the explanation behind sleep every day. In particular, while exploring how the brain disconnects from the environment during sleep, a new study published in Cell has discovered that preventing oxidation in the gut could counteract the effects of sleep loss. Neurobiologist Dragana Rogulja explained that the CCHa1 molecule produced by the gut when you consume a lot of protein buffers the dopaminergic neurons (the neurons that are responsible for dopamine) against vibrations, allowing the brain to ignore the environment to a greater degree and sleep more deeply. This study implies that dietary choices impact sleep quality; however, more research needs to be done to explore this connection in humans.

In sleep-centric social media...

Air New Zealand announced bunk beds onboard their wide-body planes starting in September 2024. The bunk beds will be the first ever introduced to an airplane and will be available on long-haul and ultra-long-haul journeys.

Two men dressed in dress shirts and tie on a plane. Text reads: Air New Zealand: "Can we turn out beds into bunk bed?"
TikTok // @washingtonpost