As previously announced, the ANSS hosted their annual meeting last week Saturday, 8-May 2021 online, due to the pandemic-related restrictions. Regardless, it was an insightful and productive, 4-hour session with 39 participants spanning 29 countries across Europe.
The programme featured several speakers who addressed critical topics on sleep medicine in Europe, the state of sleep during COVID-19 and the way forward. This is a brief overview of the insights and findings that were highlighted.
The role of Sleep Labs during COVID-19
Invited speaker Dr. Winfried Randerath, gave a comprehensive overview of the evidence about sleep disorders in COVID-19 and the risk factors for the worsening of sleep. In theory, sleep-disordered breathing can contribute to the increased vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 via systemic and biomechanical factors leading to the higher risk of more severe course of the diseases, cardiac and respiratory complications, coagulopathy and unfavourable outcomes.
In reality, the access to sleep services was significantly limited during the lockdown due to the closure of sleep-related labs and services and reallocation of the staff to other medical departments depriving individuals seeking for sleep-related help from medical care (data from ESADA study). With the normalization of the pandemic situation, sleep services should be restored fully following specific reopening guidelines.
Telemedicine issues in Europe
The regulation of tele-health services in Europe was adapted during the pandemic in order to preserve the continuity of sleep health and maintain the health care standards. Dr. Oana Deleanu highlighted that in half of the EU countries, e-consultations and tele-monitoring of CPAP compliance is available while insomnia treatment, follow-up visits and use of wearable devices are less common. And there still seems to be a lack of user-friendly systems and tools to facilitate this.
The telemedicine topic raised a lot of attention and discussion, resulting in the conclusion of an urgent need for a statement on telemedicine in sleep medicine.
Pediatric sleep medicine
Dr. Barbara G. Stražišar looked at the current state of sleep in children during the COVID-19 pandemic. She outlined that there were both negative and positive consequences to children’s sleep.
The negative ones include increased sedentary behaviors, food consumption leading to weight gain, negative impact of illness and hospitalization on sleep; increased stress levels; reduced exposure to sunlight; flexible wake and sleep times, longer daytime naps and higher burden of technology use. While due to less travelling to school/back home children got more opportunities for sufficient sleep, “evening types” can benefit from more flexibility in wake/sleep times, social isolation can enhance family bonds and reduce social and communication stress.
The EU pediatric sleep network is working on getting answers to these and other questions.
- How do COVID-19 and associated physical distancing impact child and adolescent’s sleep over time?
- Are these changes temporary or will they result in a longer sleep disturbances at follow-up?
- Which COVID-19-related factors predict or maintain sleep disturbances in youth etc.?
Dr. Erna Sif Arnardottir presented the ongoing large project “Sleep Revolution” supported by the Horizon 2020 EU grant and led by Reykjavik University. It is aimed at improving sleep health and personalized, patient participatory care for sleep disorders as well as cost reduction and wide dissemination across Europe. The first results obtained within the project show high quality data obtained via self-applied somnography setup in pediatric cohort
Dr. Samson Khachatryan presented the update on the “Beyond boundaries” project aimed at the promotion of sleep medicine and sleep research in Europe and beyond the EU space, by expanding and harmonizing knowledge, skills and attitudes among sleep professionals. This was interrupted by COVID-19 but now, with the stabilization of the situation, plans are underway for its continuation.
For more details on these (and additional) topics covered in the meeting, you can read the entire report here.
Sleep Medicine Committee – Call for New Effective Members
3rd Sleep Science School Application Deadline Approaching
Recent publications from ESRS members
- Rissanen et al. (2021). Total durations of respiratory events are modulated within REM and NREM sleep by sleeping position and obesity in OSA patients. Sleep Med.
- Iranzo (2021). REM sleep behavior disorder predicts Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol.
- Herrero Babiloni et al. (2021). Towards the endotyping of the sleep-pain interaction: a topical review on multitarget strategies based on phenotypic vulnerabilities and putative pathways. Pain.
- Nosetti et al. (2021). Impact of pre-sleep habits on adolescent sleep: an Italian population-based study. Sleep Med.
- Huhta et al. (2021). Prevalence of sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness in professional truck drivers. Sleep Med.
- Sánchez-de-la-Torre et al. (2021). Obstructive sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation: we need to go step by step. J Clin Sleep Med.
- Penzel (2021). Prospective Cohort Studies of Major Disorders Can Facilitate Phenotyping for Sleep Apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med.
- Zhao et al. (2021). Screening for obstructive sleep apnea using a contact-free system compared with polysomnography. J Clin Sleep Med.
- Giannadaki et al. (2021). Small airways’ function in Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome. Pulmonology.