Music is an incredible tool for emotional health, daily performance, and sleep.
Music is a regular fixture in my daily life. I listen to music to keep me motivated while I exercise, to relax and distract me when I travel, and for a quick creativity boost when I’m writing. My family—especially my kids—have music playing around the house all the time. I also use relaxing music to unwind before bed. Music is an especially effective part of my own Power Down Hour on nights when my brain is wired or I’m feeling tense.
Music is an incredibly therapeutic tool for emotional health, daily performance, and sleep. It has been used as a healing therapy for most of human history. Ancient Arabic cultures had musicians working alongside physicians. The Greeks used music to treat mental illness. After WWII, musicians were brought to US hospitals to aid the healing of soldiers’ physical and emotional trauma. more
The death of a spouse can understandably bring sleepless nights. Now, research suggests those sleep troubles raise the odds of immune system dysfunction — which in turn can trigger chronic inflammation.
For the surviving spouse, that could mean an increased risk for heart disease and cancer, though the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link.
“We think these individuals are more vulnerable to the negative effects of poor sleep,” said corresponding author Diana Chirinos. She’s a research assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
The study included 101 people, average age 67. Half had recently lost a spouse, while the other half were married or single.
Researchers found that the association between sleep disturbances and inflammation was two to three times higher in the grieving spouses, according to the study published recently in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. more
Not so long ago I had to approach a friend to discuss what appeared to me to be a battle with depression. It was clear to me that this debilitating disorder was affecting both him and the people around him, and that some type of loving intervention was needed. But wow, was this a nerve-wracking conversation to have. And I’m a therapist!
Part of the difficulty was that my friend’s symptoms were more about impatience, irritability, and anger than behaviors we typically associate with depression, such as crying, moping, and an inability to get started with any task because everything seems so daunting. And this is often a reason why depression in men can be more difficult to identify than depression in women. Depressed women tend to “act in” (sleeping too much, crying, overeating, drinking too much, failing to fully function, etc.), while depressed men tend to “act out” with unpleasant behaviors. So a depressed woman might look and act depressed, while a depressed man might just seem like he’s being a jerk. more
‘I know I will be so tired’: a teenager on living with insomnia
Thousands of children and teenagers face a mounting sleeplessness crisis, with the number of admissions to hospital of young people with sleep disorders rising sharply in six years, the Guardian can reveal.
Experts have described the problem as a hidden public health disaster, putting the surge down to a combination of exploding obesity levels, excessive use of social media before bedtime and a mental health crisis engulfing young people.
The Guardian analysed data from NHS Digital, the national information and technology partner to the health and social care system in England, revealing that admissions with a primary diagnosis of sleep disorder among those aged 16 and under has risen from 6,520 in 2012-13 to 9,429 last year. more
When someone is diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety, first-line treatments usually include psychological therapies and medication. What’s not always discussed are the changeable lifestyle factors that influence our mental health.
Even those who don’t have a mental health condition may still be looking for ways to further improve their mood, reduce stress, and manage their day-to-day mental health.
It can be empowering to make positive life changes. While time restrictions and financial limitations may affect some people’s ability to make such changes, we all have the ability to make small meaningful changes.
Here are five lifestyle changes to get you started: more