Sleep problems are often part of our patients’ symptoms, and recent research has provided a better understanding of why it is important for mental health professionals to ask about sleep and include treatment for sleep problems in our treatment plans.

  • St. Paul psychologist Michael DeSanctis, Ph.D., has an article, “Circadian Factors in Mental Health,” published in the current issue of the National Psychologist. Dr. DeSanctis provides a brief, but thorough, survey of the basics of sleep and mental health.
  • A recent study of hunter-gatherer communities, summarized in a New York Times article “Do We Really Need to Sleep 7 Hours a Night?” questions existing guidelines and concerns that most Americans are sleep deprived.
  • On the other hand, there is emerging evidence that true and chronic sleep deprivation may leave the person vulnerable to problems even after getting more sleep. As reported, again, in the New York Times, recent research finds that people who are chronically sleep deprived and get “caught up” on sleep are more vulnerable to cognitive problems when the re-experience sleep deprivation.
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