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National GP Education

In partnership with HealthEd, Australias leading GP Educator, Dr Desai conducted several lectures on a practical prescrbing guide for melatonin in insomnia. The lectures were in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane. All lectures were very well received with over 500 GP's at each event.

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Sleepiness 'epidemic' costing global economies billions

Published in The Sydney Morning herald 06 June 2018:

"Lack of sleep has become a "worldwide epidemic" costing developed nations, including Australia, billions of dollars in lost productivity, accidents on roads and in the workplace, poor health and premature death, research has found.

Advances in communications technology across time zones has made it easier and more tempting to work during the late night hours when we would otherwise be sleeping.

There is also an increasing prevalence of sleep disorders including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea....

A new study in the journal SLEEP, published by Oxford University Press this week has found lack of sleep is a growing problem that costs the Australian economy more than $66 billion in lost productivity, workplace injuries, car accidents and illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among other factors.

Study co-author David Hillman from the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth said the study looked at the financial costs including those associated with health care, productivity losses including presenteeism and absenteesim and inefficiencies related to lost taxation revenue and welfare payments. It also looked at the non-financial costs of a loss of well-being.

“We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of inadequate sleep, some from clinical sleep disorders, some through pressure from competing work, social and family activities and some from failure to give sleep sufficient priority through choice or ignorance,” Dr Hillman said. “Apart from its impact on well-being, this problem comes at a huge economic cost through its destructive effects on health, safety and productivity."

The study found complaints of inadequate sleep were common across several Western nations, including between 33 and 45 per cent of Australian adults."

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Sleep Forum 2018

Following the success of The Sleep Forum in Sydney in 2017, Dr Desai conducted two further Sleep Forums in 2018, in Melbourne and Brisbane. Both were very successful with over 100 GP's in attendance. Supported by Aspen Pharmaceuticals, all the academic content and the agenda were at the speakers discretion. Associate Professor Jeremy Goldin from Melbourne (Clinical Associate Professor, Respiratory and Sleep Disorders Physician, Royal Melbourne Hospital), Dr Maria Ftanou (Lead, Clinical Psychologist Peter McCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne), and Dr Andreas Pattichis (Sleep and Neurology Fellow, Royal Melbourne and Alfred Hospitals, Melbourne) were the other speakers.

The forums focused on the Assessment of Sleep Disorders in general, with the afternoon sessions particularly covering non-drug and drug managment of insomnia. Feedback was extremely positive and the event easily satisfied an educational gap for practising GP's.

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We Are What We Think

An interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 26/04/2018 reinforces the “cognitive aspects” that contribute to insomnia, and how treating them improves insomnia.

The article discusses a published paper in the journal Sleep which shows that the processes involved in reducing conscious awareness might be impaired in people with insomnia.

“people assume there’s a close relationship between how sleep feels and what is happening physiologically. So if people (like yours truly) are aware of noises or things around them, they think they’re sleeping lightly, or have poor quality sleep.

But, although we may think the only way to sleep "well" is to be completely unconscious, it is normal to have an awareness of sensory inputs, like hearing, during some stages of sleep.” 

“That’s why mothers can respond to their child’s cry almost immediately, or why other noises during the night can be incorporated into our dreams.”

Another reason insomniacs report “poor sleep” is because they may not recognise some periods of sleep, a condition sometimes referred to as “sleep-state misperception” or “paradoxical insomnia”. In studies, insomniacs have under-estimated their sleep time by as much as 2 hours.

Finally, “Attitude” is an important part of managing insomnia:

“We are what we think,” … if we tell ourselves we’re tired all day, we will most definitely feel tired all day.”

“challenge your beliefs about sleep: just because you feel you only had four hours of slumber, doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be tired the next day, so stop telling yourself that.”

In summary, insomnia has complex causes. There is no quick easy treatment. Non-drug treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Insomnia, delivered by experienced sleep psychologists or online through validated CBT programs will provide the best long term treatment success.

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National GP Seminar 27 March 2018

Dr Desai in collaboration with HealthEd presented a lecture and webinar to a national GP audience on insomnia management. He introduced Sydney Sleep Centre's online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Program for insomnia and how GP's should assess insomnia patients and use CBT as part of their treatment.

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