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 interfere with sleep quality, which …

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 animals trying to live in …

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 with strong emotions (especially negative …

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 was to work 9 pm …

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 Winter” – which usually takes …

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… 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 I get up? First I …

Riding the Waves

MoodSurfing is about the idea that the ups and downs of mood are normal (we aren’t trying to achieve some elusive “stability”).  But dealing with moods requires focus, discipline and some common sense. You can’t go to Maverick on your first day surfing and not get hurt (see photo to the right). The first step for many people is to …

Mood and Cognitive Functioning

Mood can have a profound impact on cognitive functioning. In fact, over the years, we have found that the most likely diagnosis when someone comes in complaining of “suddenly becoming demented” is a mood disorder (people with dementias tends to have a more gradual onset of symptoms and often don’t notice the impairments). There seem to be three types of …

Sleep: Helpful books for Insomnia

It’s one of great ironies of working with people with trouble sleeping that often the path to better sleep heads first in an unexpected direction. Most of the people we see with complaints of fatigue are having problems because they are sleeping too long, and with poor quality. In fact, most people can get by with just seven to seven and a …