The COVID-19 crisis has created misery, suffering and hardship on a global scale. If there is any silver lining, it might be the renewed appreciation of our fundamental linkage with the physical environment and what that means not just for survival, but for resilience as a species. I write on sleep topics and human behavior and emphasize our basic, culturally universal homeostatic and circadian rhythms linked to the solar day/night.
My prior blog discussed the insidious but solvable problem of chronic sleep loss. Now we look at how to establish a rapport with our sleep nature. First, we need to examine our attitude about sleep. Are we guided by prevailing Western cultural signals that sleep is down, unproductive time? Do we fret over losing our advantage or position? Our material, consumptive society bombards us with messages to excel in school, establish a profession, find that perfect employment, toil longer hours, or seek new horizons or challenges. Constant performance pressure and dodging threats activate the fight, flight or freeze responses and
Insomnia is one of the most common health problems that mental health professionals hear about from their patients. In MHConcierge’s experience, many patients are taking, or considering, melatonin. Their PCP may have recommended it, or they may have just decided to try it on their own. “Read This If You Take Melatonin to Sleep at Night” was posted by HuffingtonPost.com recently, and this consumer-friendly article is a concise summary of the benefits of melatonin (limited) and potential concerns (several potential nuisance problems, and possibly significant drug interaction concerns).
“7 Things a Sleep Scientist Wants You to Know About Getting Better Sleep was posted by Happify.com. First, a word about this site – the title always has struck MHConcierge as a bit corny, but the site provides quality, evidenced-based information and resources to help people be feel better, function better – and to be happier. This article is a brief summary of the current science of good sleep. It includes info about the concept of “sleep pressure” – physiological changes that build up between episodes of sleep that create a craving for sleep.
The UK Guardian published “Zzzzzz…12 simple steps to a good night’s sleep,” on 1-31-16. The author, Richard Wiseman, did a study of the habits of successful sleepers and published, “Night School: Wake Up to the Power of Sleep,” which appears to be available for download for free. He found twelve behavioral patterns that promote successful sleep. The Guardian article notes that sleep problems are very common in the general population, with up to 1/3 of us having concern about our sleep. Of course, people with mental health problems have a higher incidence of sleep problems. The article is a helpful