Tag Archive: sleep

May 17

Sleep and the Lunar Cycle

One of our readers wondered if bipolar people are more sensitive to lunar cycles. I could not find any evidence for that, but I did run across a recent research report suggesting that everyone (bipolar or not) may have a sleep cycle that corresponds to the phase of the moon. Researchers at the University of …

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Apr 01

Internet Therapies Generate Interest

There is increasing interest in “apps” that can support mental health (one of our most enthusiastic readers recently posted a query on this topic on the forum). Apps are rarely intended to deliver “therapy” – they are usually not written by mental health professionals (although mental health professionals may be consulted along the way). Their …

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Feb 13

Smart Phones May Disrupt Sleep

There is no “off” switch for our brains. Going to sleep, for most people, involves a process of “coming down” from our hectic and sometimes stressful lives. In the past, when there was no electricity, the sun went down and we went through a natural process of getting tired and then falling asleep. But now …

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Jan 15

Sleep Deep Cleans Your Brain


Beep, beep, beep, beep! Snooze……Beep, beep, beep, beep! You open your eyes, roll out of bed and start wondering why you stayed up so late to watch another episode of your favorite TV series, play another video or computer game, or catch up with your friends, etc. We have busy and full lives, which results …

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Jan 10

The Evils of the Snooze Button – Why Sleeping In Makes You Feel Tired

Winter is the time of year that the snooze button on your alarm clock can wreck havoc with your mood. Just as waking up early and getting light and exercise is the fastest way to improve depression, trying to sleep in, or lying in bed thinking about why you don’t want to get up, is …

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Dec 26

Using a Therapy Light

Christmas vacation is ending, It has been wonderful to spend some relaxing time with family, getting up later in the day, lounging around and playing games, reading, or watching TV… and eating too much good food. Now the challenge is getting back to a more productive schedule. For many of us, our bodies are in …

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Nov 28

Sleep Therapy and Depression

What would you do if you could double the effectiveness of your antidepressants? Let’s say that this new treatment also had no known side effects, and was completely safe. That is what four studies have suggested could happen if people who were started on antidepressants received cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). However, this treatment …

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Aug 24

“Normal” Sleep

One of the justifiable criticisms of psychiatry is that it has a tendency to define a relatively narrow range of behavior as normal. We often tell the psychiatry residents to watch out for this tendency, and try to avoid it. Certainly sleep medicine is at least as prone to this tendency as psychiatry, as we …

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Aug 12

Mood and the Brain’s Clock

As we slowly move from summer to fall, it may be timely that the issue of Biological Psychiatry that arrived in the mail today is devoted to how the brain’s clock affects mood. It points to growing evidence that part of what drives mood cycles are disruptions in the brain’s daily (circadian) rhythms. It appears …

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Jul 15

Treatment for Insomnia when Bipolar

Many people with bipolar disorder also experience symptoms of insomnia and sleep disturbance.  Researchers have been investigating treatments for this condition that do not involve medications. After numerous clinical trials, there has been significant success with CBT-I treatment. CBT-I is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and it involves sleep restriction and stimulus control. The purpose …

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Jun 26

SHUTi: Work towards a better night’s sleep

Having trouble sleeping? We think the website SHUTi may be helpful to you. Sleep is a crucial component for the happiness and well being of an individual. An appropriate amount of sleep can lower anxiety levels, help prevent overeating, and improve memory. On the moodsurfing website, Dr. Forster plans to recommend SHUTi as a resource …

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Jun 14

Sleep Strategies

One of the most frequent causes of insomnia is anxiety. Insomnia of this kind is caused by increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system at night. The body releases norepinephrine (the flight or fight hormone) at night when that system should be inactive. You wake up and you feel “wide awake.” A current patient of Dr. …

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Mar 30

Nature’s Cycles

It should be raining. It is March in the San Francisco Bay area, and we have had hardly any rain for the past three months. It’s a funny thing, but even though I have been taking advantage of the good weather to go out bicycle riding and hiking, there’s a part of me that doesn’t …

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Jan 28

Sleep and Memory

An interesting story published in the New York Times suggests that the reason we are less able to remember things as we get older is that we sleep less well. The article is based on a report posted online on Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The report suggests that as the brain ages, changes take place that …

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Oct 31

Time Change: Fall Back

The time change in the United States is the classic “time of challenge and time of opportunity.” First, the challenge – If you wanted to do something to make America more depressed you would be hard pressed to come up with a better intervention. Shift everyone’s schedule so that they wake up an hour later …

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Oct 13

Bay Area Blues

If you live in the bay area you probably noticed that this past week you felt a little less energetic. It was the first cold and rainy week of the season, and the days have been getting noticeably shorter (maybe you used to wake up after dawn and now it is dark). We are naturally seasonal …

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Sep 19

Insomnia: Counting Sheep

Maybe Grandma was right. After all of the years of research and development trying to find medications to help with insomnia, we ran across a recently published paper which suggested that a single session devoted to teaching people with chronic insomnia to focus their attention on some idea, image, song, memory, that was not associated …

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Sep 08

Night Shift

A young ER doctor came in to see us because he works the night shift, and found that he was having trouble getting enough good quality sleep, and also being alert enough during his shifts. He worked four or five night shifts in a row and then he had several days off. And his goal …

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Aug 22

The End of Summer

Every year we notice two weeks that seem to affect a number of folks who have had seasonal depressions. The first period is the “End of Summer” – a foreshadowing of the coming fall that happens in late August or early September (depending on the weather, we guess). The second period is the “Beginning of …

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Aug 11

How to Change Your Sleep Pattern

One of the  best studied and fastest treatments for depression is not a medication, it is waking up earlier and get bright light exposure…e We will write at a another time about the evidence for this, and maybe even why it works. But for now let’s talk  about the practical question. How do I change when …

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