Brain and Behavior

Understanding the Fascinating World of Dreams

“I was walking down a dark street, whistling and enjoying the darkness. Suddenly, I heard footsteps. Somebody was following me. I tried to run but my legs were cement. I couldn’t budge. I screamed. Nobody heard me. My heart was beating so fast. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do.”

Maria continued: “I woke up in a cold sweat, shaken by the dream and wondered what it meant. I couldn’t figure it out. I have no enemies. There’s nothing that’s scaring me in real life. So, I kind of just tried to get it out of my mind by telling myself it’s just a dream.”

Dreams are mysterious. We’re both fascinated and perplexed by them. When they frighten us, we try to push them aside, saying “it’s just a dream.” Too bad. We can learn a lot from our dreams once we learn to speak their language.
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Anger

Psychology Around the Net: March 5, 2016


Happy March, sweet Psych Central readers! Only a few more weeks until the official start of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, and while I have learned to appreciate all the seasons for what they offer, I'm excited to get back to some warmth and sunshine.

This week, I have a ton of news for you! For example, did you know Chris Stapleton's new hit "Fire Away" tries to foster mental health awareness? Or that control issues can contribute to road rage? What about how being a "hopeless romantic" is actually a good thing for your relationships?

Read on, and enjoy!

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Dreams

Better Sleep for a Better Life

While getting seven to eight hours of sound sleep each night is easier said than done, there are adjustments you can make to improve your odds of a good night's sleep. And what you do in the hours before you go to bed could matter most.

More than 90 percent of Americans use electronic communications in the hour before they go to bed. Allowing such stressors into your pre-sleep time is only going to keep you awake. A 2014 study suggests that late-night smartphone use is bad for your work the following day. This research found that using a smartphone late at night not only leads to poor sleep but also creates fatigue and lower engagement in the workplace.
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General

Sleep & Enter Sandman: More Than Just a Song

“You need to improve your sleep hygiene?” my counselor admonished me in her straightforward tone.

“Sure, I probably need to floss more frequently. But I brush my teeth a couple of times a day and always -- always -- before bed,” I cheekily responded.

She was too diplomatic to say what she was truly thinking. I knew.

She furrowed her brow and continued. “Matt, you need to sleep. You can’t function on your current schedule.”
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General

Trouble Sleeping? Your TV, Computer or Phone May Be the Cause

Sleep is the foundation of good health, including your mental health. A poor night's sleep starts the day off at a deficit. It's like a boxer fighting with one hand tied behind his back.

The problem is that most people don't know what's causing their poor sleep. They may think it's stress, or feeling over-worked, or troubles in a relationship. All of those things could very well contribute to a poor night's sleep.

But an overlooked aspect of poor sleep is the proliferation of computer screens in our daily lives. Your phone, TV or computer may be the cause of your sleeplessness.

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: January 16, 2016


Hey, Psych Central readers!

So, a lot of stuff happened this week. Some of it, pretty exciting (we finally got a few Powerball winners!); some of it, downright heart-wrenching (rest in peace, Alan Rickman and David Bowie).

For our purposes (which I have to admit, was a nice distraction from losing Professor Snape and Ziggy Stardust in one week), I've dug up some pretty interesting little psychology bits for you to feast on this morning.

Keep reading for information on how winning the lottery probably won't make you happier, working long hours doesn't always negatively affect relationships, the ways in which dogs recognize human emotions, and more!

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Brain and Behavior

Workplace Environment Affects Mental Health

The workplace environment you spend 40 or 50 hours in per week has a very real and substantial impact on your mental health, according to multiple studies and expert opinions from psychologists all around the world.

According to a 2011 research study on how workplace design contributes to mental health and well-being, the average person spends 33 percent of their waking time in their workplace on a weekly basis. As such, the physical workplace environment has a major impact on everything from happiness and mood to productivity and focus. The study concludes that “good working conditions enable employees to work effectively” and that “investments in the physical workplace that create those conditions pay back quickly.”

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Caregivers

5 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Spouse after Baby

If you’re a new or expectant parent, you’re probably relishing all of the joy, excitement and memories your new baby will bring. You’re also probably fretting over the changes and challenges that will occur, too.

No one prepares us for the relationship struggles that happen after a baby arrives. We don’t realize how taxing sleep deprivation, uncertain parenting roles, money worries and everyday stressors can be on our marriage. You soon realize that your precious arrival has set off a bigger cascade of problems between you and your spouse than you ever knew possible.

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ADHD and ADD

Should You Be Concerned About ADHD Meds?

A few weeks ago, we published an article that described the sleep problems that children and teens may experience while taking a medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Most people who are diagnosed with ADHD or attention deficit disorder usually wind up on a stimulant medication.

While we know that such medications help most people who take them, like all medications they also come with some unwanted side effects. One of those side effects for stimulants is disruption of a person's sleep.

So how bad a problem is it? And is it something you should consider taking your kid off of these meds?

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Marriage and Divorce

Why Going to Bed Angry Actually Works


Fighting late into the night is just disaster waiting to happen.

Sometimes, when it comes to relationship advice, what we take as common sense is really just a bunch of pie-in-the-sky crap! I call it crap because it's too idealistic or just ignorant of how people's minds, bodies and hearts really work.

For example: Take the whole idea that couples should never go to bed angry.

Now, I'll be honest with you, I used to believe this is a great rule to live by. But, that was back when I was in a relationship that lacked passion -- including the passion to argue.

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