Anxiety

U.S. Army’s tactic to fall asleep in two minutes

What happened when I tried the U.S. Army’s tactic to fall asleep in two minutes
Posted on FastCompany.com, article by Michael Grothaus

Insomnia can be a coexisting condition for many, if not all, of the conditions I treat. ADHD, depression, and anxiety can all lead to sleepless nights. While there is a lot of research behind consistently using good "sleep hygiene," the approach in this article is reportedly effective as well. As long as you give yourself 6 weeks of time to practice every night.

Think a few sleepless nights isn't a big deal?
This article cites studies saying that "the average worker loses the equivalent of 11 days of productivity every year due to sleep issues" and "poor sleep cost US businesses a staggering $411 billion in lost productivity every year."

Procrastination, meditation, and your amygdala

"The science behind procrastination and how to overcome it"

By Study International Staff | September 27, 2018 | www.studyinternational.com

This article talks about research that suggests scientists may have identified a neurological component to procrastination. According to the article, a larger than average amygdala may contribute to higher anxiety and therefore hesitation. Another region (the dorsal interior cingulate cortex) usually helps us block out competing emotions, but the connections between this region and the amygdala were found to be poorer than with non-procrastinators. I.e., our brains get "overwhelmed with conflicting emotions and struggling to prioritize the task at hand."Tim Pychyl, a researcher and expert on procrastination, says in the article that mindfulness meditation may be part of the answer because "research has already shown that mindfulness meditation is related to amygdala shrinkage, expansion of the prefrontal cortex, and a weakening of the connection between these 2 areas."

Read the full article here.

Not Talking About Mental Health Is Literally Killing Men

"Not Talking About Mental Health Is Literally Killing Men"

by Sean Evans, MensHealth.com, 5/2/18.An interesting article about mental health stigma among men. The articles states, “Male suicide is rising at such an alarming rate that it’s been classified as a “silent epidemic.” It’s the seventh leading cause of death for males. That’s a staggering statistic...This macho attitude of stuffing your feelings down, or ignoring them, is antiquated and downright dangerous.” Read the full article here.

Poor Sleep May Make You Prone to Colds

Poor Sleep May Make You Prone to ColdsBBC Health onlineContinuing on the last post's theme of sleep and things-that-were-obvious-but-now-verified-by-science, I'm posting this article about the effect of inadequate sleep on the immune system. Inadequate sleep can be caused by many things, including poor impulse control, poor time management, depression, anxiety, and physical conditions such as sleep apnea.The lead researcher, Dr Aric Prather, is quoted saying "Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects' likelihood of catching cold. It didn't matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn't matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day."Inadequate sleep also makes us more vulnerable to emotions such as anger, anxiety, and sadness and impairs our concentration. Click here to read more.

And the Secret to Happiness Is…

CNN: “And the Secret to Happiness Is…”by Sanjay Gupta, MD2 min, 0 secDr. Gupta makes a number of interesting points in this video.

  • Happiness can help you live a longer and happier life.*
  • Much of our happiness is related to our social connections. So having no social connections is correlated with less happiness and a shorter lifespan.
  • Telomeres are the caps on our DNA chromosomes that measure our cellular age. The older we get, the shorter the telomeres. Someone without any close social ties will have shorter telomeres than someone of the same age with at least one close friend.
  • People who tend to have a lot of negative thoughts are three times as likely to develop health problems as they age. But research indicates that even just pretending to be an optimist can help reverse this trend. In addition, changing the habitual way we think is one of the core skills that you develop in cognitive behavior therapy.

* Those of you familiar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will understand that happiness is not as straightforward of a concept as it may seem and being fixated on being happy actually make you miserable. But that's a whole other discussion. But a very interesting topic. If you'd like to read more you can check out Russ Harris's book "The Happiness Trap."

CNN: How Your Smart Phone Affects Your Sleep

CNN: “How Your Smart Phone Affects Your Sleep”By Sanjay Gupta, MD1 min, 31 secDr. Gupta explains in this video how using our smart phones before bed can hurt our chances of a good night’s sleep. He says that looking at emails or other content on our phones can "take our brains from 0 to 60" (in terms of arousal) very quickly. In addition, the light from the phone (and other electronics) can disrupt our circadian rhythms. The light can inhibit the production of melatonin, a chemical in the body that's involved in helping us fall asleep. The vast majority of the ADHD clients I work with have problems with regulating sleep and oversleeping or insomnia also is frequently a symptom of depression or anxiety.