Sleep Articles

How to Get Things Done When You’re Depressed

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

How to Get Things Done When You're Depressed When you’re in the throes of depression, it’s hard enough taking care of the bare essentials like showering, eating and getting up. Intellectually you know what you need to do.

But like a leech, depression saps all your energy and vitality. You feel lethargic, hopeless and pessimistic, according to John Preston, PsyD, professor at Alliant International University and co-author of Get It Done When You’re Depressed with Julie A. Fast.

So the last thing you want to do is… anything.  You might think “I’d like to do this, but I just can’t,” Preston said.

But there are several ways you can get things done when you’re struggling with depression. They do require effort on your part, but they work. Here are Preston’s top suggestions.

Why You Should Turn Off the TV, Computer & Close the Blinds In Your Bedroom

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Why You Should Turn Off the TV, Computer & Close the Blinds In Your BedroomFor decades now, researchers have shown how important sleep is to a wide host of things in our lives — our mood, our memory, our concentration, and to help the body rejuvenate after a day of work and consciousness. Everybody knows that in order to be at our best, you need a good night’s sleep of between 7 and 8 hours (although the exact number varies).

Any less, and it’s the equivalent of giving yourself a daily handicap — making your life harder than it has to be. (Any more and it also doesn’t really benefit you.)

Now researchers have discovered that one of the things that may be contributing to our lack of of quality sleep is artificial lighting. Light seepage coming in from outside (like a streetlight) or coming from inside your bedroom — such as leaving a TV or computer on — appears to affect our mood over a period of four weeks.

12 Best Tips for Coping with ADHD

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

12 Best Tips for Coping with ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms can easily disrupt your daily life. Fortunately, there are many ways you can successfully manage your symptoms.

Below, experts — some of whom have ADHD — share their best strategies.

1. Accept your diagnosis. ADHD is not a death sentence, said Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “It is simply a way the brain is wired.”

Accepting your diagnosis is key because it paves the way to positive action, such as learning about ADHD and finding strategies that work for you. As he said, “Acceptance does not mean that you love every aspect of something. It means that you recognize that it is what it is.”

Click through to read 11 more great tips…

Signs Your Child is Stressed & 5 Ways to Help

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Signs Your Child is Stressed & 5 Ways to HelpNo doubt many of us have expressed a desire to return to our childhoods — a less taxing time when we didn’t have to work, pay the bills or perform the many other responsibilities of being a full-fledged adult.

But we forget that childhood can be stressful. In fact, kids often suffer in silence, according to Michelle L. Bailey, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician who teaches mindfulness-based stress reduction skills to children and authored the book Parenting Your Stressed Child.

In her book, Bailey cites research that shows that kids struggle with moderate to extreme levels of stress. They may be stressed out about everything from their academic performance to their peer relationships to their family’s finances.

And that stress can have a big effect on kids.

Doctors Don’t Grieve, Residents Don’t Sleep

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Doctors Dont Grieve, Residents Dont SleepMany doctors appear to believe they aren’t human — and don’t have normal human needs like the rest of us. At least according to two new studies recently released.

In an opinion piece published in Sunday’s New York Times, researcher Leeat Granek shares the results of two studies that suggest to her that, “Not only do doctors experience grief, but the professional taboo on the emotion also has negative consequences for the doctors themselves, as well as for the quality of care they provide.”

A different study released by the JAMA journal, Archives of Surgery, last week found that residents don’t get as much sleep as ordinary professionals get — which directly impacts their ability to concentrate and be mentally attentive.

Combined, these studies add to the picture that’s been painted for years by research — that doctors believe they are somehow “super human” and beyond the reach of normal human needs, for both their body and their mind. It’s a disturbing picture, and one that the medical education establishment needs to remedy sooner rather than later.

7 Tips to Shift Your Sleep Schedule

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

7 Tips to Shift Your Sleep Schedule Need to get up earlier for work or a workout? To return to your routine after traversing time zones? Or just want to get your day started before the sun comes up?

Below, Stephanie Silberman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist, sleep specialist and author of The Insomnia Workbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting the Sleep You Need, provides tips on how to reset your sleep cycle.

1. Make adjustments in increments.

The best way to successfully shift your sleep cycle is to do it gradually, in 15-minute increments, according to Silberman. If you have less time to prepare for your new schedule, try 30 minutes, she said. (But no more than that.)

Give yourself at least three or four nights to get comfortable with the new schedule. If it’s going well, on the fourth or fifth night, shave off another 15 minutes.

Keep in mind that feeling groggy when you get up is normal. As Silberman said, “Most people don’t wake up full of energy.” So expect that you’ll feel sleepy for about 20 to 30 minutes.

When Dad Has Postpartum Depression

Monday, April 16th, 2012

When Dad Has Postpartum Depression Moms aren’t the only ones who struggle with postpartum depression. Dads struggle, too.

In this 2010 meta-analysis published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers reviewed 43 studies with over 28,000 participants and found that 10 percent of men had prenatal or postpartum depression. That’s more than double the rate of men who suffer from depression in the general population — 4.8 percent.

Symptoms of Depression

In their book The Pregnancy & Postpartum Anxiety Workbook: Practical Skills to Help You Overcome Anxiety, Worry, Panic Attacks, Obsessions and Compulsions, authors Pamela S. Wiegartz, Ph.D, and Kevin L. Gyoerkoe, PsyD, note that depression can strike dads at any time, from their wife’s pregnancy to months after their child’s birth.

Symptoms of depression can include depressed mood; loss of interest in activities; fatigue; changes in sleep; changes in appetite or weight; difficulty concentrating or making decisions; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; and thoughts of death or suicide.

Men, however, may struggle with different symptoms. The lead author of the above meta-analysis, James Paulson, told Scientific American (in this piece by Katherine Harmon) that some researchers have called for a change in the diagnostic criteria because men tend to struggle with irritability, detachment and emotional withdrawal.

Video: 7 Ways to Slow Down Before Bedtime

Friday, April 13th, 2012

It’s been a long week, hasn’t it?

The days are getting longer here in the northern hemisphere — and for many of us, the extra light brings joy.

But the extra light also keeps us wakeful for longer. Soon, even 8 pm will be nearly as bright as mid-day.

That extra light — as welcomed as it might be after such a long and dark winter — can do us a big disservice. When there’s more daylight outside, do you ever feel like you pack more activities into your day? Does it take more effort to slow down for bedtime? Do you tend to go to bed later?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions, keep reading! I made a video just for you.

The Power of Power Napping

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The Power of Power NappingAt best, napping is viewed as a luxury or indulgence. At worst, it’s seen as a slothful activity.

Maybe you’ve also felt the pangs of guilt after awaking from a short snooze. Or judged someone else for falling asleep at their desk.

But napping doesn’t make you a lazy worker, and it doesn’t pillage your productivity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Napping actually offers a slew of benefits, which might make you reconsider your stance on midday slumbers — and add them to your routine.

“Napping leads to improvements in mood, alertness and performance [such as] reaction time, attention, and memory,” according to Kimberly Cote, Ph.D, Professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brock University. (Her 2009 review, co-authored with researcher Catherine Milner, summarizes the research on these many benefits.)

7 Tips for Getting to Bed on Time

Monday, March 5th, 2012

7 Tips for Getting to Bed on TimeRecently I video-posted about the Pigeon of Discontent, “I can never get to bed on time.” A few readers rightly pointed out that while I emphasized the importance of having a “bedtime,” I didn’t address the challenge of actually getting yourself to turn off the light when it’s time for bed.

That’s a very important question. Since I’ve started my Happiness Project, I’ve become more and more convinced that sleep is vital to happiness and energy. (Here are fourteen tips on getting more sleep.)

If you want to get more sleep, but have a hard time getting yourself to turn out the light, try these strategies…

Psych Central Week in Review Video #6: Lying, Stress, and Inflammation

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

I want you to close your eyes for a moment and picture something.

Imagine a person who is a liar and a cheater. Perhaps you play a board game with them and they lie about their score. Then, maybe they steal a few beers from your fridge and claim to have only taken a single one.

Are you getting a mental image? Who is this person? What do they look like? What are they wearing?

Let’s go on. This same person also cuts off people in traffic. And we’re not just talking about cutting off other drivers — we’re talking about pedestrians, too! This person doesn’t yield for anyone who is waiting to use the crosswalk.

Who IS this lying, cheating, pedestrian-ignoring person? Seriously — what kind of person did you picture in your mind? Did you concoct any backstory for this person? What is their family like? What is their job like? Do they make a lot of money? Do they make very little money?

Re-read those last two questions and make a prediction: would the liar be rich or would the liar be poor?

In this week’s video podcast, we’ll find out which socioeconomic class is actually more likely to lie, cheat, and cut people off in traffic — and we’ll explain why! Check out the video below and be sure to comment if your prediction was right on target.

3 Fascinating Facts About Dreams

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

3 Fascinating Facts About Dreams“The biggest myth about dreams is that they are frivolous manifestations reflecting basic occurrences of our daily experiences,” said Chicago psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber.

But dreams are actually an important part of self-discovery. (More on that later.) Below are a few fascinating facts and findings about dreams.

1. People with disabilities dream as though they don’t have them.

The following is an excerpt from a person who participated in a dream study:

“I was supposed to and wanted to sing in the choir. I see a stage on which some singers, male and female, are standing… I am asked if I want to sing with them. ‘Me?’ I ask, ‘I don’t know if I am good enough.’ And already I am standing on the stage with the choir. In the front row, I see my mother, she is smiling at me… It is a nice feeling to be on stage and able to chant.”

What’s particularly curious about this dream is that the dreamer was born deaf and doesn’t speak. Recently, two studies published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition have found that people with disabilities still dream as though their impairments don’t exist.

Recent Comments
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: I’m no lawyer, but this seems that, at least for those who paid for their memberships,...
  • mel young: How are u going?i have been investigating odd for the last 6 years! My daughter is very difficult to deal...
  • One more: The legacy of suicide is much more than this. Ernest Hemmingway’s suicide involved 6 or 7 other...
  • One more: Nice sentiment, but unfortunately for some of us, the thoughts do not pass even after years and we spend...
  • madeline: However, that doesn’t mean that elevating serotonin in the brain can’t treat depression....
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