Sleep Articles

4 Ways Dreams Can Help You

Friday, July 4th, 2014

4 Ways Dreams Can Help YouI tend to have bizarre dreams. Perhaps they feature sporadic compilations of the day, current happenings, abstract symbols or completely random montages. But sometimes, my dreams assist me; my land of nod attempts to tie up a few loose ends from waking life.

If you look closely enough, dreams could serve as a portal to resolution.

Here are four ways dreams can help:

Do You Find It Hard to Turn Off the Light, Even When You Need the Sleep?

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Do You Find It Hard to Turn Off the Light, Even When You Need the Sleep?Because I’m working on Before and After, my new book about habit-formation, I constantly talk to people about their habits, and as I heard about people’s sleep habits, something puzzled me.

For me, sleep is a self-reinforcing habit; I feel so much better when I get enough sleep that I find it fairly easy to respect my bedtime.

Often, however, people tell me that they’re painfully, chronically exhausted — yet when I suggest that they go to bed earlier, they become angry and resentful. Usually, these folks desperately need the sleep. So why do they get so upset at the thought of moving up their bedtime?

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep — Even When You’re Depressed

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep -- Even When You're DepressedPeople suffering from depression and bipolar are usually significantly affected by disrupted sleep patterns.

I remember all too well the frustration. Sometimes you spend hours in bed, unable to get out, yet you just can’t sleep. Other times you end up sleeping, but wake up at 4 a.m., your mind racing with all sorts of negative thoughts.

It’s not just me. Patrick Kennedy and Tricia Goddard, who I interviewed in Back From The Brink, rated getting the right amount of sleep as very important.

Depression both causes and is compounded by sleep disruption. The low energy caused by sleep deprivation also affects your ability to treat depression. How on earth can you make and attend appointments with experts, exercise or eat properly when you are perpetually exhausted?

Sleep Strategies for Adults with ADHD

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Sleep Strategies for Adults with ADHDSleep disturbances are common among adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“I don’t know anyone with ADHD who does not have an issue with sleep,” said Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a psychologist who treats ADHD and a clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

In fact, in the past, sleep disturbances were considered as a criterion for defining ADHD, according to psychiatrist William W. Dodson, MD, in the book Gender Issues and AD/HD: Research, Diagnosis and Treatment. However, they “were dropped because they were felt to be too nonspecific.”

4 Things to Avoid for a Good Night’s Sleep

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

4 Things to Avoid for a Good Night's SleepGood sleep can mean the difference between crazy and sane the next day… Between crying between meetings at work or lashing out at your husband over laundry and a semi-functional person who can fake it enough to keep her marriage and her job intact.

It’s one of the members of my holy trinity of good mental health (along with a good diet and regular exercise).

Over the ages, sleep and depression have proved to have a dysfunctional, angry relationship.

4 Common Sleep Myths that May Help Your Insomnia

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

4 Common Sleep Myths that May Help Your InsomniaInsomnia is often aggravated and kept going by a set of false beliefs.

Sometimes we don’t even realize what we believe about sleep — and how those beliefs trigger anxiety and compromise a good night’s sleep — until those beliefs are laid out before us. In their book, Quiet Your Mind & Get to Sleep, authors Colleen Carney, Ph.D. and Rachel Manber, Ph.D. list several myths about sleep and explain why they are not helpful.

They have helped me in my most recent bout of insomnia, and I’m hoping they can help you, too.

The Mysteries of Sleep Explained

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

The Mysteries of Sleep ExplainedWe know we need it. If we don’t get it, we’re cranky, have trouble concentrating, tend to overeat and are more likely to make mistakes.  Yet, with the crush of demanding schedules, bad habits, or sleep disturbances, we don’t always get enough.

So what is happening during those precious hours when we’re asleep?  Is it really a time of restoration for our brains?  And is it possible that it’s more than that?

What happens in our brains while we’re asleep is a question neuroscientist Penelope Lewis is trying to answer.

Nuvigil: Not Better Than Placebo for Depression Symptoms in Bipolar

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Nuvigil: Not Better Than Placebo for Depression Symptoms in BipolarMillions of people around the world rely on antidepressants in the treatment of clinical depression and, to a lesser extent, bipolar disorder. Over a dozen such medications exist, and many are also available in generic form.

But for reasons that scientists can’t yet adequately explain, some people don’t respond to many antidepressant drugs. And the drugs they do respond to may carry unwanted side effects that make taking the drug for any length of time downright challenging.

So drug companies are constantly looking for new drugs, new uses for old drugs, and new formulations of old drugs to help improve their batting average. Sadly for this effort, though, we can cross off another potential drug — Nuvigil (armodafinil).

6 Small Changes that Make a Big Difference: Part 2

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

6 Small Changes that Make a Big Difference: Part 2Small changes in six specific areas can make a big difference in your life. New studies in neuroscience show the importance of integrating what some have deemed “therapeutic lifestyle changes” (TLCs) into traditional methods of therapy.

These changes enhance therapeutic results, promote wellness, decrease stress, and facilitate the development of new neural connections, which increases brain health.

In Part 1, we looked at the positive effects of exercise, nutrition and social relationships on mental and physical health.

Here in Part 2, we’ll take a look at the final three.

For A Better Relationship, Catch Some Sleep

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

For A Better Relationship, Catch Some SleepThis guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Robin Goldstein.

When it comes to the subject of sleep, I am a fanatic. I’ll admit I am biased. I have always needed a lot of sleep — nine to 10 hours! — so it’s easy for me to notice the impact of a poor night’s sleep; I get short and irritable.

Still, it seems people can get used to sleeping with less and start to think it’s normal. I hear this kind of thing in my office all the time: “I’ve never slept  well. I do fine on six hours a night. I have too much to do to sleep.”

5 Steps to Improve Sleep & Emotional Vulnerability

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

5 Steps to Improve Sleep & Emotional VulnerabilityMost of us don’t need science to tell us that sleep and emotion are closely linked.  Spend a couple nights with interrupted sleep or talk to any parent of a newborn and the connection is quite clear.

The connection appears not just in everyday life.  In certain physical and mental disorders sleep disturbance and emotion dysregulation are hallmark symptoms. Symptoms of one rare disorder, cataplexy, which often co-occurs with the sleep disorder, narcolepsy for example, include sudden muscle weakness when a person experiences strong emotion, such as anger or fear, or exhilaration.

Lack of adequate sleep also is commonly linked with emotional or psychological problems. Examples include depression and PTSD, while sleep disturbances combined with emotional reactivity are key dimensions of bipolar disorder.

And even when lack of sleep isn’t connected to rare disorders or affective psychological problems, it is linked to increased emotionality. 

New to Mindfulness? How to Get Started

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

New to Mindfulness? How to Get StartedMindfulness is being used in schools, colleges and universities to help teachers and students to improve their attention, interactions with each other, and understanding of others.

Lawyers and judges use mindfulness to listen to and present evidence and reduce distractions. In other work settings, business leaders, workers and HR departments are using mindfulness training to reduce workplace stress, improve focus, communication, creativity and productivity.

And mindfulness is widely used in the treatment of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. It’s also used to assist people with medical conditions, such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, hypertension and insomnia and to improve the symptoms of stress.

If you’re new to mindfulness, you likely already have some understanding of what it is and its benefits. Now you’ve made a decision to try it.

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