Improving Provider Knowledge on Sleep Inquiry: Raman Malhotra, MD

Raman Malhotra, MD, associate professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, discussed the importance inquiring about patients’ sleep, as well as the dangers of insufficient sleep.

“We do feel that it is essential, especially with patients with neurological conditions, to ask about their sleep, and it does start…with the education of our medical students, and our residents, and our fellows.”

Inquiring about sleep and sleep disorders is vital when evaluating patients, particularly those with neurological conditions, according to Raman Malhotra, MD, associate professor of neurology, Washington University in St. Louis. While improvements have been made in understanding the importance of sleep and raising awareness in recent years, Malhotra believes dedicating more time to sleep disorders is crucial as part of medical education. 

In discussion with NeurologyLive, Malhotra, who is also the president of the American Academy for Sleep Medicine (AASM) discussed the lack of time dedicated to sleep medicine in most educational programs, which remains an area where curriculum could be bolstered, according to sleep experts. Further concerns are raised in relation to insufficient sleep, resulting from gaps in sleep knowledge and care. Not getting enough sleep is a consistent challenge at all ages, but particular concerns are raised with teenagers, whose schedules often do not allow for enough sleep each night. Experts are unsure how insufficient sleep may impact the developing brain, especially in teenaged patients with neurological disorders. 

Malhotra’s commentary follows a recently published position statement from the AASM, which aims to raise sleep awareness and call for better sleep education at all levels. Ensuring at least 7 hours of sleep each night is crucial and considered by experts as equally important to a healthy diet and exercise. 

REFERENCE
Ramar K, Malhotra RK, Carden KA, et al. Sleep is essential to health: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement. J Clin Sleep Med. Published online June 21, 2021. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.9476