There is more and more research that indicates a healthy brain plays an essential role in mental health, including one’s ability to sleep. Research has led to advancements in treating depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other psychological illnesses. For instance, researchers are beginning to see that the shapes of certain parts of the brain are different among those who have Bipolar Disorder, for instance, versus those who don’t. Another example is the way that the amygdala functions differently in those that have mental illness. There are four parts of the brain that significant in research and have their influence on mental health.
Two of these four parts of the brain play a significant role in alertness and one’s ability to fall asleep. The thalamus and hypothalamus are small but significant. They regulate important levels of functioning, such as sleep and body temperature. The thalamus is responsible for the messages received by the senses and then delivers it to the cerebral hemispheres for processing. It is also responsible for our experience of consciousness, sleep, and alertness. The hypothalamus regulates temperature, hunger, thirst, and energy cycles.Continue reading
Most people who don’t get enough sleep are usually irritable, grumpy, or even angry throughout the day. And in fact, without enough sleep, mental and physical ability change getting worse and worse with the longer an individual has been awake. After 17 hours of no sleep, cognitive ability drops to a point that is similar to having a blood alcohol level of .05 (characterized by impaired judgment and coordination). After 24 hours of no sleep, it’s practically like being legally drunk. Over time a chronic lack of shut-eye makes you more prone to accidents, depression, and anxiety.
However, more and more experts are recognizing what’s called “short sleepers”, people who don’t need more than four or five hours per night. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours to feel rested and rejuvenated throughout the day. True “short sleepers” are rare, according to sleep specialist Carol Ash, DO, a member of the Ladies Home Journal Medical Advisory Board. “Only a tiny percentage of people can function well with that little [sleep],” she says.Continue reading
Recent studies indicate that when an individual suffers from depression and from insomnia, treatment of both psychological illnesses dramatically improves the chances of healing from both. It’s common for both insomnia and depression to exist concurrently. Although experts are not sure if one causes the other, research indicates that treating both disorders can bring significant healing.
Researchers found that among those who were treated successfully for insomnia, depression was also successfully treated. In one study, the insomnia treatment included four individual sessions of psychotherapy for over eight weeks. During the sessions, participants were provided with specific instructions to manage their insomnia – establish a specific time to wake up, get up and out of bed when not sleeping but do not eat, read, or watch television, and do not take any naps during the day. The results found that nearly 90% of those who followed the instructions and who fully participated in the study saw their depression lift.Continue reading
According to Fox News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new insomnia drug made by Merck & Co.
It should be noted from the start that insomnia is much more serious than the sleep disturbances that many people have. To be diagnosed with insomnia, you must have at least six months of chronic sleep loss which have created a disturbance in your ability to function at home, work, or in relationships. In fact, several studies indicate that insomnia can lead to many other health challenges, including physical and psychological illness. At the same time, it is a sleep disorder that can develop as a result of other illnesses.Continue reading