Recharge Your Brain with a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleepless

A late night at work, too many things on the to-do list, or maybe you were startled awake by a nightmare . . . . . . most of us have experienced lack of sleep at some point in our lives (and for some, it can feel more like the norm than the exception). But, missing out on sleep can lead to learning difficulties, problems with motor control, and general irritability – it just makes our brain unhappy. So what exactly is going on when we do get a good night’s sleep that helps us feel so refreshed and clear-headed?…

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A Better Night’s Sleep with Mindfulnesss

Mindfulness meditation and sleep

The problem with anti-depressants is that they often don’t work. Though many try, it’s hard to treat depression with antidepressants alone. Treatment may go on for years, and the side effects, like fatigue, anxiety, loss of libido, and sleep disruption, can be frustrating. Dr. Willoughby Britton at Brown University Medical School and her colleagues at the University of Arizona wanted to find out whether mindfulness could help with sleep disruption – one of the most common side effects of antidepressants. Researchers randomly assigned 23 participants, all of whom were taking antidepressant medications, to one of two interventions. Some received a…

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Mindfulness or Medication: Who will beat Insomnia?

medications or mindfulness, which is better for insomnia?

Imagine a country where we no longer have to depend on medication to help manage depression, chronic pain, or insomnia. Lately, I’ve been seeing a trend of studies that are showing how mindfulness is just as effective as side-effect loaded medications. This latest study, conducted by Cynthia Gross, PhD and her colleagues from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, has found some inspiring evidence that mindfulness may be just as powerful as the insomnia prescription medication, Lunesta. This randomized, controlled trial was conducted at the University of Minnesota’s health center where 30 adults, diagnosed with insomnia, were…

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Healing Trauma with Our Dreams

dreaming can help heal trauma

We’ve all heard of ‘restful’ sleep . . . but what about ‘healing’ sleep? Is it possible that dreaming could help reduce the pain of traumatic memories? Researchers at UC Berkeley have found that when dreams occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, our stress responses shut down, and the neurochemicals responsible for stressful feelings stop being released. Not only this, but REM helps reduce the negative effects of difficult memories. “The dream stage of sleep, based on its unique neurochemical composition, provides us with a form of overnight therapy, a soothing balm that removes the sharp…

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Want a Fresher Brain? Then Go to Bed Earlier

Sleep is important for brain health

Our ancestors didn’t have televisions or even electricity. When it got dark, candles may have come out for a while, but before too long it was “lights out” for most people. With the advent of technology, nature no longer has to dictate our sleeping schedule, though perhaps it still should. “…the mice got fatter, showed less mental flexibility, and were more impulsive.” A new paper out of Dr. Bruce S. McEwen’s Rockefeller University lab looked at the effects of artificial lighting changing our 24-hour circadian rhythm. Researchers housed mice in an artificial environment with a 20-hour “day” rather than our…

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Dental Sleep Medicine: Finding New Sleep Solutions

Many psychotherapists think first of psychological causes for sleep disorders, yet increasingly, we are seeing the combination of medical and psychological factors causing various sleep problems.