Winter SAD, Sleep and COVID-19 – A Trifecta of Mental Health Challenges

Winter SAD, Sleep and COVID-19 – A Trifecta of Mental Health Challenges

It’s the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when daylight length and sun angle relative to the horizon shrink to their lowest levels of the year, and the darkness of night descends in the late afternoon hours. And with that comes the mental doldrums of winter Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.  Individuals vulnerable to seasonal effects may experience anxiety, sadness, sleep problems, loss of focus, mental fog, weight gain and loss of energy or drive. Suicidal thinking is always a factor to consider when significant depression sets in. Body image can take a hit as there may be a

A Body Clock Perspective on Daylight Savings Time

A Body Clock Perspective on Daylight Savings Time

As most individuals are aware, there is ongoing controversy over continuing the Daylight Savings Time (DST) policy generally in place in the United States and implemented in various overseas countries.  This question is most pertinent to those residing in temperate zones around the globe. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has issued online a position statement on DST (Rishi, M.A., Ahmed, O., Perez, B.H.J., Berneking, M., Dombrowsky, J., Flynn-Evans, E.E.,… Gurubhagavatula, I. (August 26, 2020) Daylight saving time: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement).  They advocate for discontinuing DST. General application of DST, in which the clocks are

Musings on The Nature of Sleep and COVID-19

Musings on The Nature of Sleep and COVID-19

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.

Sleep Deprivation, Suicide Risk and Motor Vehicle Crashes

Sleep Deprivation, Suicide Risk and Motor Vehicle Crashes

Sleep deprivation is pervasive in our fast tempo, 24/7 culture of commerce and daily activities.  This article discusses two potentially serious consequences of disrupted sleep or prolonged wakefulness. The first issue concerns Insomnia, a condition that involves difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep and/or awakening prematurely in the early morning hours. Insomnia is a common source of misery for millions of Americans at one point or another in their lives. For some the problem is chronic, for others, it may be triggered by situational factors.  In response to the invisible and relentless COVID-19 virus circling the globe, citizens have become vulnerable