Category Archive: Sleep and Insomnia

Jan 18

Chronotherapy and Getting Up Early

Getting up early is one of the best ways of counteracting depression. And having a strong circadian rhythm is especially important for people with bipolar depression because their internal “clock” may be less powerful. But it can be a challenge making a change in your sleep cycle, especially if you have always been a late riser. …

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Jan 07

Why Do I Have To Have a Regular Schedule?

“Why do I have to have a regular schedule” was the lurking question that hung over my conversation with Ann. She didn’t actually ask me that question but I could see that there was a rebellious child hiding in the corner of the room who was making the conversation we were having about getting regular …

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Aug 08

Jet Lag Explained

What is “jet lag” and why do most people feel worse when they travel around the globe in one direction, rather than the other? An article in the journal Chaos, summarized in the New York Times, suggests an answer. And offers some hope that you can reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms. For …

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Jul 19

Sleep Apps Reviewed by the New York Times

Apps to monitor and improve sleep were recently reviewed in the New York Times. Using an app to try to improve your sleep is a strategy that many people try. Some have found that it can be helpful in the long run, and it helps to use a well designed program. The New York Times reviewed …

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Jul 17

Online Therapy for Insomnia Reduces Depression

“If only I could get a good night’s sleep my mood would be much better.” Many people who suffer from chronic depression are aware of the relationship between the quality of their sleep and their levels of mood and anxiety. A study published in the April 2016 addition of the British journal, Lancet Psychiatry, supports …

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Jun 26

How to Nap

For many people with depression the idea of taking a nap makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, staying in bed at the wrong times of day can be associated with worsened depression and increased fatigue. An article in June in the New York Times entitled, “How to Nap” seemed like an interesting …

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Jun 11

Cool Sleep Treatment

Cool Sleep Treatment Cereve

The FDA just approved a cool new sleep treatment. And we don’t mean that it is trendy, the treatment involves cooling your forehead in order to speed the onset of sleep. The fact that cooling temperatures are associated with increased sleepiness shouldn’t be new to anyone who has been on a long distance flight. Pilots …

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May 17

Best Treatment for Chronic Insomnia

What is the best treatment for chronic insomnia? The American College of Physicians has just published the results of a careful review of all of the research in this area. The preferred treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBTi) which we offer through this website – read about it at the bottom of this …

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Apr 26

Staying Up Late

Staying Up Late

Andy and the Nighttime Child – Staying Up Late In our practice we work with a lot of bright young people in the information technology industry. It often seems as if all of them stay up until all hours of the night certainly many of them do and sometimes to their detriment. We know that …

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Mar 09

Insomnia Causes the Munchies

Insomnia and the Munchies

In an article that appeared in the journal SLEEP in February, 2016, and which was summarized in a New York Times post entitled “Poor Sleep Gives You the Munchies,” researchers report that one way that poor sleep and insomnia may lead to weight gain is that insomnia increases activity of the endocannabinoid system in the …

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Oct 18

Sleep Deprivation in Western Society

Sleep Deprivation in Western Society

In February the National Sleep Foundation announced the publication of new guidelines for the amount of sleep that we should be getting based on a rigorous review of the literature. The guidelines suggested that adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep. The results were widely distributed and commented on. It was noted …

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Oct 13

Getting Up Early

Getting Up Early

Getting up early is one of the best ways of counteracting depression. And having a strong circadian rhythm is especially important for people with bipolar depression because their internal “clock” may be less powerful. But it can be a challenge making a change in your sleep cycle, especially if you have always been a late riser. …

Continue reading »

Jun 28

Sleep and Learning

sleep and learning

What is the point of sleep? We have a page on this blog devoted to the question but in the last couple of years there’s been an outpouring of research pointing to the critical importance of sleep in sorting out memories (getting rid of unuseful ones) and generally “tuning up” the brain. A fascinating article …

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Jun 14

Chronic Insomnia Treatments

chronic insomnia treatments

A recent study confirms that cognitive behavioral therapy is effective for chronic insomnia and is often more effective than medications. “What surprises us is that there isn’t more awareness of this treatment’s effectiveness and that there haven’t been more attempts to make the treatment more available to patients,” James M. Trauer of the Melbourne Sleep …

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Mar 27

Insomnia Treatment Reduces Brain Stress

Insomnia Treatment

Insomnia treatment may have long-term beneficial effects on the health of your brain. Study in the Journal Biological Psychiatry published in February, 2015 looked at 123 older adults with chronic insomnia who were randomized to one of two active treatments (twice-weekly cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) for 4 months or a relaxation therapy) or …

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Mar 16

Chronotherapy for Depression

Chronotherapy for Depression results

Chronotherapy for depression was recently shown to be effective in a fairly large and well designed study from New Zealand. What is chronotherapy? As discussed in the article, which appeared in Acta Scandanavica Psychiatrica, chronotherapy involves some combination of three separate sleep and wakefulness related interventions: Wake therapy. Wake therapy (previously known as “sleep deprivation” therapy, …

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Feb 25

CBT for Insomnia Reduces Suicidal Thoughts

CBT for Insomnia

CBT for insomnia (CBTi) is clearly preferable to taking sleeping medications for most people. Studies show that cognitive behavioral therapy is associated with greater improvements in sleep quality than sleeping medications, and that those improvements are more durable, and, particularly in the elderly, sleeping medications are associated with significant adverse effects, including an increase in mortality. But …

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Feb 15

Travel and Mood

Travel and mood are very much related. Often a trip is associated with a significant change in mood. This can be due to many factors. Getting out of a rut, experiencing new locations and meeting new people can bring you out of the depression. However there is also the possibility that travel may disrupt circadian rhythms …

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Jan 16

Sleep Fatigue and Depression

sleep fatigue and depression

Yesterday I gave a presentation at UCSF to the Mood Disorder Clinic psychiatrists and residents: An Update on Bipolar Depression.  Much of that material is focused on psychopharmacology and so I will be writing about that on the gatewaypsychiatric.com blog. However, one important pearly derives from a series of studies that identify a strong link between …

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Nov 30

Circadian Rhythm Self Assessment

circadian rhythm self assessment

I ran across a wonderful tool for circadian rhythm self assessment on the website of the Center for Environmental Therapeutics. The Center is devoted to providing the public and clinicians with high-quality information about natural interventions for people with stress, anxiety, and depression. I took the online test and it said I was definitely a morning …

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