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Trust Your Gut – You Need More Sleep

Modern sleep research begs the question; Is there any health benefit to poor sleep? Seemingly every new bit of research confirms the obvious answer. The latest comes from researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago who found associations among disrupted sleep, elevated blood pressure, and changes in the gut microbiome. The results were published in Physiological Genomics. 

“We know that working at night can cause problems with your health, and the data suggest that staying awake all night can lead to high blood pressure, and, in some cases, eventually to heart disease, but it’s not clear what mechanisms underlie the development of these conditions,” said Anne M. Fink, assistant professor, UIC College of Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Nursing Science. 

Researchers found that the gut microbiome changes did not happen immediately, but instead took a week to show unfavorable responses such as an imbalance among different types of bacteria, including an increase in microbes associated with inflammation.

Sleep medicine physicians know the benefits of proper slumber because they help patients and see the results. In recent years, turf wars have given way to a patient-centered culture that values options. 

“There was a time when oral appliances for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea [OSA] were not given the proper respect from those who believed CPAP was the gold standard of treatment,” says Shad Morris, D.M.D., owner of Premiere Sleep Solutions, St. George, Utah. “Now these same physicians understand that the problem of OSA is vast, and we need to adopt a philosophy that values real solutions.” 

Jazz Pharma Addresses Symptoms of Excessive Sleepiness But Not Root Cause.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Dublin-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc’s treatment for patients with a form of sleep disorder. The drug, solriamfetol (trade name SUNOSI®) treats excessive sleepiness in adult patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Marketing materials for SUNOSI make it clear that the drug is not a “cure” for poor sleep, but instead addresses the symptoms caused by persistent sleep problems. 

A company press release states: “SUNOSI® (solriamfetol) is a prescription medicine used to improve wakefulness in adults with excessive daytime sleepiness due to narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). SUNOSI does not treat the underlying cause of obstructive sleep apnea and does not take the place of any device prescribed for obstructive sleep apnea, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It is important that you continue to use these treatments as prescribed by your healthcare provider.” 

“I find it interesting that Jazz officials advocate the continuation of sleep treatments while also taking the excessive sleepiness drug,” says Shad Morris, D.M.D., owner of Premiere Sleep Solutions. “If you’re excessively sleepy, it seems your treatment is not working. Those who are not complying with CPAP would do well to try oral appliances and/or positional sleep therapy devices such as slumberBUMP, which keeps people on their side during sleep for better breathing and reduced snoring.” 

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