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 …

Exercise, Diet and Sleep – Nancy

Exercise, diet and sleep: three important ingredients for health, and also for mood stability.  Keeping our bodies healthy is a vital strategy for mental health as well.  All body systems work together, so it makes sense that a healthy balance in one area will contribute to a healthy balance in others. Try this experiment: make a chart or note of …

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 …

Circadian Rhythms and Food

Scientists are uncovering a fascinating relationship between circadian rhythms and food consumption. It looks as though when you eat can have a big impact on how your body metabolizes the food and on whether or not you gain weight. It has long been clear that light exposure plays an important role in setting a number of circadian rhythms in the …

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 sleep much less productive than …

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 …

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 page. In their review, ACP …

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 that many people in our …

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. This article will talk about …

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 last year pointed to evidence …

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 Disorders Centre in Australia told …