Sleep Articles

Top 4 Alternative Treatments: Are They Right For You?

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Top 4 Alternative Treatments: Are They Right For You?Psychologists are increasingly integrating alternative and complementary treatments into their work with clients, according to a recent article in Monitor on Psychology.

So what is alternative treatment? You may already have some experience with the most popular, according to the Monitor on Psychology. Meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis and progressive muscle relaxation are all popular complementary or alternative psychological treatments. 

Although you may be familiar with the most popular, there are dozens of alternative and complementary treatments, which typically fall into four categories:  mind-body medicine, biologically-based practices, manipulative and body-based practices and energy medicine.

8 Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Health

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

8 Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your HealthMany people today find that there are not enough waking hours to accomplish all we need to do.  Work, long commutes, email, family responsibilities and household chores can eat up much of our waking time.

In order to get chores done or get in a little extra leisure time, many cut corners on sleep.  We rationalize that a few hours here and there won’t make much difference.

But sleep deprivation can have effects on both your mental and physical health.

So what are these negative effects of not getting enough sleep?

Sick & Tired? Take this Sleep Quiz

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Sick and Tired? Take this Sleep QuizSleep research has been around for more than 90 years. In the last 15 years, though, researchers have been focusing on partial, or short, sleep rather than total sleep deprivation.

Such research looks at the way sleep affects cardiometobolic disease, the name given to disruption of a variety of physical and cognitive functions. These disruptions can affect basic skills such as appetite regulation and mood. Sleep researchers apparently are issuing the rest of us a wake-up call.

Each of us has an internal clock, a circadian rhythm that regulates our sleep needs. This is synchronized by the amount of sunlight we are exposed to.

But when we are tempted by the demands of our social clock — such as reading that last email, staying up for late-night TV, or going out and staying out late with our friends — we fall out of sync and the effects can take their toll. This circadian disruption often is at the core of numerous problems.

Top 10 Mental Health Apps

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Top 10 Mental Health Apps

With so many apps on the market, it’s hard to know which are useful.

Many are designed by software developers instead of psychologists, without scientific testing. They range from beneficial, to harmless but useless, to bordering on fraudulent.

The apps selected for this list make no hucksterish claims and are based on established treatments. Progressive Muscle Relaxation, for example, has been used for a century and is likely just as effective in this new medium. Knowledge from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy enrich two apps on this list. Others mix solid information with ingenuity.

The Strange & Surprising Science of Sleep

Monday, January 7th, 2013

The Strange & Surprising Science of SleepIn his book Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, author David K. Randall calls sleep “one of the dirty little secrets of science.” That’s because despite spending almost a third of our lives sleeping, we don’t really know much about the process of sleep.

In fact, Randall, a senior reporter at Reuters, notes that sleep is one of the youngest fields in science. Until the 1950s, researchers believed that our brains remained quiet during slumber.

But the discovery of the stages of sleep shattered this perspective. For instance, our brains are just as active in REM sleep — aptly named rapid eye movement because our eyes shift rapidly against our lids — as they are when we’re awake.

In Dreamland, Randall shares a slew of these fascinating, surprising and eye-opening facts, anecdotes and research studies. These are a few curious tidbits from his book.

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

5 Ways to Beat the Winter BlahsCall it the winter blues or blahs or simply seasonal sadness. Whatever term you use, around this time, many of us start to feel our mood sinking. We feel especially tired and sluggish. We might even feel like the walking dead, moping from one task to the next.

That’s because as the days get shorter and colder, we spend more time indoors and are less active, according to Ashley Solomon, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who blogs at Nourishing the Soul. “We tend to be more sedentary, which we know impacts our level of energy and even interest in activities,” she said.

It also doesn’t help that our bodies produce more melatonin when the sun sets, making us sleepy, said Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist and author of the book Living with Depression. (Interestingly, melatonin is known as “the Dracula of hormones,” because it only comes out at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.)

Can Exercise Make You Smarter?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Can Exercise Make You Smarter?Scientists have long studied exercise and its impact on any number of physical and emotional factors, including bone density, cardiovascular disease and stress.

But if we take the mind-body connection one step further and study exercise and cognitive functioning, will we see a link?

Are You Tired All the Time? Food Might Be to Blame

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Are You Tired all the time? Food Might Be to BlameDo you feel dull and drowsy much of the day?  As the day wears on, do you find yourself yawning, wanting to lay down, or having difficulty concentrating?

We all feel tired from time to time, and a multitude of factors contribute to tiredness and fatigue.  One factor may be an underlying medical condition, such as anemia, hyperthyroidism or a heart condition.  Struggles with psychological problems — such as anxiety and depression — can also be linked to feelings of tiredness. Medication side effects are yet another factor.

But sometimes when we’re sleepwalking through the day, it’s simply because of what we eat

Eating too much contributes to obesity, which has a significant impact on our energy levels and feelings of tiredness.  But, even when we aren’t overweight, the foods we eat can leave us feeling sluggish and worn out.

5 Ways to Cope with Stress When You’re Pregnant

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

5 Ways to Cope with Stress When You're Pregnant Stress is a reality for all of us. Everyone struggles with stress related to their job, finances or relationships. But when you’re pregnant you can face additional stressors.

For instance, you might worry about your baby’s health, which is actually one of the most common stressors in pregnancy, according to Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and expert in postpartum mental health.

You might also get stressed out about getting ready for your baby’s arrival, she said. And if you’ve experienced problems with your current pregnancy or a previous miscarriage, you might be feeling especially anxious.

Below, Hibbert shared effective ways moms-to-be can cope with stress.

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…

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