Brain and Behavior

Pillow Talk: You Need More Sleep

“You can sleep when you are dead,” a friend chides.

Offering an awkward chuckle, I was too tired to supply a witty response. In America, we stifle our collective yawn to meet the next pressing deadline. But there is a more important deadline than the latest accounting project: our (sleep) health. For a painful few, sleep is an elusive dream.

In American society, we sacrifice sleep for employment or academic obligations. In competitive academic programs, we brag about the number of all-nighters we pull. Time has chronicled the sleep fatigue of first-year residents and its damning effect on patients.
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Psychology Around the Net: October 8, 2016

If the image didn't give it is my birthday!

I've been celebrating since last night -- not because I'm a person who likes a big deal made out of her birthday, but because I have family members and friends who love me and want to celebrate life with me.

I'm blessed, and I'm eternally grateful for it.

So, while I take a break this morning and check out What Science Has to Say About Being in Your 30s (much of which I'm pretty used to at this point, I'm sure), why don't you check out some of this week's latest in mental health news such as how psychology explains our fear of clowns, how we're sabotaging ourselves during the pursuit of happiness, how our personalities can help us choose the best careers, and more!

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Anxiety and Panic

Banished From the Bed: How to Overcome Sleep Cravings

“Just let me lie in bed for another five minutes,” I groan to my mother.

She mumbles before acquiescing. I turn over, spooning the pillow. We have had this conversation before.

For the anxious and depressed, sleep is our salve. It is a temporary reprieve from uncomfortable memories and feelings.

As I crawl into bed, I justify my sleeping patterns. “Well, lounging in bed may be counter-productive. But at least I am not abusing alcohol or drugs,” I rationalize.
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Psychology Around the Net: September 10, 2016

On September 11, 2001, four airplanes were hijacked by al-Qaeda and flown into both World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., killing more than 3,000 people, including police officers and firefighters.

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of what we now refer to as 9/11, and people will pause and reflect and grieve just as they have for the past decade and a half.

They will take a moment or two or more to remember those who were senselessly killed during these attacks -- as well as their family members and other loved ones.

I know I, for one, will, too.

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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: September 3, 2016

Here in the U.S., we're currently in the throes of Labor Day Weekend (and I'm at a local music and arts festival, celebrating!).

Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and although it gives us a nice little three-day weekend, it's about much more than that: Labor Day honors our country's labor movement and "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

So, Happy Labor Day! I hope you're doing something to celebrate all your hard work and, once you get a chance, check out this week's latest in how your mood affects whether you live in the moment or the future, the new warning labels regarding opioid use with other medications, what your choice between iPhones and Androids says about your personality, and more!

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10 Ways to Prevent Mania and Hypomania

Bipolar disorder is one of the most difficult illnesses to treat because by addressing the depression part of the illness, you can inadvertently trigger mania or hypomania. Even in Bipolar II, where the hypomania is less destabilizing than the often-psychotic manic episodes of Bipolar I, persons often experience from a debilitating depression that can’t be lifted by mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. Antidepressants, though, can cause a person with bipolar to cycle between hypomania and depression.

I have worked with psychiatrists who were too afraid of cycling to risk using antidepressants for bipolar patients. They put me strictly on mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. However, I did not get well. I stayed depressed, and all original thoughts in my brain vanished.
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Brain and Behavior

How to Become a Morning Person in 5 Steps

Different people prefer to work at different times of the day. Some find themselves most productive in the mornings; other are better as night owls. However, mornings are traditionally seen as the start of everyone’s day. Regardless of whether your body clock is ready for it, you’ll need to adjust to early mornings, especially if you’re in a 9-to-5 job.

You can try temporarily forcing yourself to wake up early in the morning, but it’s difficult if you aren’t fully committed to being a morning person. Want to learn to be a morning person? Here are five psychological tricks to train your brain:

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Tips for Sleeping Peacefully While Anxious

Based on my experience, there are two main reasons for trouble sleeping: either you are excited about something or you are anxious about something. I can still vividly remember that night before we as a family were leaving for Washington, DC for the first time.

I was a child then, and the thought of traveling all the way to where the president lives was almost overwhelming for me. I tossed and turned in bed; walked around my room; looked out my window into the dark; and before I knew it, I looked out my window to see the sun rising above the horizon. I finally fell asleep in the car during the more than eight-hour drive to DC.
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When Symptoms of Depression Strike in the Summer

Most of us are familiar with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). During the short, cold, dark days of winter, 4 to 6 percent of people feel depressed, lethargic, pessimistic, and even hopeless. They may eat more and sleep too much.

But you might be less familiar with another type of seasonal affective disorder: depression that sparks in the summer, which about 10 percent of people with SAD experience.

Summertime depression is essentially the opposite of wintertime depression. “People tend to lose weight and feel more agitated and irritable, more likely to be suffering from a ‘
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Children and Teens

What Do You See in the Mirror?

In 1973, an inquisitive psychologist named Beulah Amsterdam wanted to know whether babies recognized themselves in the mirror. To explore this riddle, he used the rouge test, which you likely studied in Psychology 101. Step one: put rouge on baby’s nose. Two: place teeny clown before mirror. Three: observe.

Babies aged 6 to 12 months typically thought, “Woot! Another baby. Let’s play.” Infants in their second year of life often acted wary of the “imposter” before looking away. Toddlers aged 24 months often recognized themselves, prompting some to wipe off the rouge. (Others were arguably too busy mulling over riddles, such as, “Where’s my milk carton?”)

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