Final Thoughts On The Sleep Conference

I've had a few days to mull over what I experienced at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in San Antonio last week, and here are my conclusions:

1. Unless something changes dramatically, I'm not planning on going back to this meeting in the future. I went to a sleep meeting many years ago in Denver, and the type of studies and research presented was very similar, with no new revelations or new discoveries. There was absolutely nothing that I learned that will ultimately help my patients sleep better. However, I did clutter my brain with numerous facts and conflicting clinical recommendations.

2. I can't tell you how many studies concluded that sleep deprivation is detrimental to your body in every way, including your physical, hormonal, mental, cognitive and emotional states. On the flip side, sleeping longer was finally proven to improve cognitive and physical skills! Yeah.

3. I also learned (again) that c-reactive protein was found to be elevated in sleep apnea patients. This conference is unique in that it's a joint venture between sleep clinicians, basic science researchers, psychologists and sleep techs. It's a lot more technical, with a lot more scientific jargon and technical detail than your typical medical conference. We've been hearing for decades that gene therapy and research will eventually cure all our medical ailments, but as far as I can see, there hasn't been a lot of progress made in terms of helping patients sleep better in a significantly improved way.

4. I learned how a famous sleep researcher talks during a presentation after just flying in to the conference with major sleep deprivation.

5. San Antonio is a beautiful city. The Riverwalk is something to see. The final battle at the Alamo was not fought on top of the main building—it was fought at a peripheral area of the walled-off enclosure.

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