How to Use the Jet Lag Calculator if You’re Not Actually Travelling

People with mood disorders often struggle to establish healthy circadian rhythms.  They often go to sleep later than they should, and wake up later as well.  This affects mood as well as ability to participate in normal life.  For someone who is going to sleep at 4:00 am and waking up at 1:00 pm, changing to a better sleep pattern …

Daytime Anxiety Impacts Insomnia

Insomnia has often been related to anxiety and worry at bedtime, but recent research has linked daytime worry and rumination to nighttime insomnia.  People often realize that their thinking patterns at night are keeping them awake, but may not consider the impact of worrying that they did earlier in the day to their sleep patterns at night. Anxious, repetitive thinking …

Sleep and Temperature

Sleep patterns in pre-industrial communities highlight the importance of temperature changes What is the connection between insomnia and the modern lifestyle?  It has been hypothesized that we sleep less well now than our ancestors did, either because of electric lighting, electronic devices, or increased entertainment options.  However, a group of scientists studying sleep patterns among members of hunter-gatherer tribes in …

Insomnia Treatment Recommendations

New Research on Insomnia Insomnia remains one of the most troubling problems our clients have to deal with and insomnia treatment is always an important issue for us.  Recent updates to insomnia treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine do not change our current practice radically, but they underline and strengthen the basic recommendation that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy …

Sleep Apps

Sleep Apps

Getting better sleep – longer, deeper, more restful – is an important part of managing mental illness and healthy lifestyle.  Lack of sleep, and interrupted sleep, is one of the most common problems mentioned by our clients, and helping people get better sleep is one of our first goals for management of moods and especially major depression. Sleep technology is, …

Sleep deprivation and weight gain

Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain

Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain, but why is this? Is it just because sleep deprivation makes us grumpy and we “self-medicate” with food? People who get poor quality sleep, or not enough sleep, start craving high carbohydrate and high fat foods that are more likely to cause weight gain. And sleep deprivation makes us less likely to …

CBT is Better for Insomnia than Drugs

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) shows better results than medication for overcoming insomnia in a meta-analysis of 13 studies conducted over the past 30 years.  Generally, after 4 to 6 sessions of CBT training patients reported medium-to-large positive effects on their sleep, and the improvements were maintained for three to twelve months post treatment. In the U.K., where this study was …

Insomnia and Technology: Helpful or Not?

Sleep and insomnia are one of the most posted topics on Moodsurfing!  Just try typing “sleep” onto our search box and see how many posts come up.  Sleep is one of the basic building blocks of health and management of mood swings.  And sleep is problematic for many, many people. So what is the best way to deal with insomnia?  …

Exercise Improves Sleep Quality – Nancy

Insomnia is a significant problem in the United States, and for individuals grappling with mood and/or anxiety disorders, sleep loss can contribute to ill health, including immune function, cognitive functioning, and even cardiovascular problems. However, use of medication for insomnia does not have a good track record.  These medications have significant risks and adverse side effects, and often lose effectiveness …

Fatigue Depression and Sleep

Fatigue, Depression and Sleep

One of the curious quirks of how our brain works has to do with how it responds to situations associated with fatigue, depression and sleep. Usually the brain regulates sleep well. Every night, after we have been awake for the appropriate amount of time, our brain responds to signals from the “clock” cells in the pineal gland and to the …

Better Sleep with SHUTi – Gina

Using Shuti to Get Better Sleep Better sleep is a priority for many of the people I see. Recently I’ve started supporting clients in using an online CBTi (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) program. I decided to check out the program for myself to get a better feel for what clients are working with. Ultimately I recommend SHUTi to clients …

Childhood Insomnia

In an era of ever-present video and constant texting and snapchatting, many parents are trying to figure out how to deal with childhood insomnia. Here is a quick guide for busy parents of things to think about and things to do if your child is having trouble getting to sleep or getting enough sleep. Consider possible causes – Stress. Kids, …

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 people with mood disorders, this …

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 SleepBot (available free on Android …

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 introduction to the topic. In …