Avoiding the crushing consequences of studying too hard

As September and the fall semester begins, I remember the rush I had as a university student caught up in the swirl of energy of my fellow students and myself, more than twenty years ago now. A smile lights up my face as I recall, and then I think of a dark joke that my brother taught me his freshman year of MIT.  A professor stands in front of a window after leading a tour around the campus, and he asks the students, “Do you know why MIT’s colors are gray and red?” All the freshmen students shake their heads. Just then, outside of the window, everybody sees a body falling to the cement below. “That’s why.” says the professor.

MIT has a higher suicide rate than the national average, but the joke reflects an underlying truth about campus life all over the United States. According to Collegedegreesearch.net, there are about 1,100 suicides on campuses around the USA each year, and, shockingly, six percent of all undergraduates have seriously considered suicide.  Why is contemplating suicide so common among university students these days? A lot of stress, abuse of drugs and alcohol, as well as underlying clinical depression and anxiety are risk factors. Even if you are a learning machine, my advice is to take time to smell those roses because too much stress will take down even an ubermensch gifted student.

The Statistics

One in four Americans suffer from a serious mental illness during their lifetimes, most often depression or anxiety. Serious mental issues can be triggered by the stress of university or years of workaholism. It is no coincidence that depression is soon to become the number one cause of long term death and disability worldwide by 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

Reading and Mental Illness

University students read a lot. Problem? Maybe. Even high-achieving readers are predisposed to bouts of melancholia, according to medical history. Before the 19th century doctors thought that the mere act of reading books could cause mental instability. See: A Text-book on mental diseases By Theodore H. Kellogg. Also, see Wikipedia’s article on the History of Depression: “Since Aristotle, melancholia had been associated with men of learning and intellectual brilliance, a hazard of contemplation and creativity.”

According to the Census of 1890 about one percent of one percent of the population or one in ten thousand people in all of the United States had a hospitalization for depression. Today approximately one in seven people in the US suffers from clinical depression and the rate keeps going up. In 1890 few people had the opportunity to educate themselves beyond a basic level of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Today, one in four people in the US is a college graduate.  As rates of college graduation go up year to year, so does the figure of people becoming clinically depressed.  The question becomes, what can be done to stay healthy?

Protection: Omega-3 Fish Oil and the Prevention of Clinical Depression

Disclaimer: I worked as a medical library chief  at the leading psychiatric hospital in the United States, New York State Psychiatric Institute/ Columbia Psychiatry, so I have a bad habit of quoting MEDLINE to prove points. From the journal Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, Epub 2014 Mar 18.: there is a journal article titled “Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: scientific evidence and biological mechanisms” wherein the abstract states that “..several epidemiological studies reported a significant inverse correlation between intake of oily fish and depression or bipolar disorders.”   Free full text of the article is available to anyone who wishes to explore the article in more depth at pubmed.gov .

Back when I was an undergraduate, we did not know as much as we do today about the science behind a healthy brain and body, so we can do much more today than before to keep our minds and bodies healthy. Paradoxically, college students are less fit and more prone to suicide than ever before. According to Collegedegreesearch.net suicide rates for our youth are three times what they were back in the 1950’s, and diabetes rates are going through the roof among the Internet Generation.

If you feel suicidal please Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Editor’s Note: William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at www. mentalhealthbooks.net . He also is editor-in-chief of Mental Health Books Review

 

Recovering from Trauma Must Include Self-Care

By Debra Faes-Dudden

Recovering from trauma is an ongoing process that involves awareness, abreaction,  acceptance, and change on emotional, physical, and psychological levels. Self-care during recovery is essential in order to achieve wellness.  But for many survivors of trauma, self-care needs to be taught during the recovery process because they often have very low self-esteem and self-worth.

Fortunately, as I did the work to heal from trauma, there was attention and guidance given in self-care.  The first symptom of my mental illness was debilitating panic attacks.  I was pregnant at the time and when I had one. It literally brought me to my knees.  My family  physician recommended psychotherapy to learn relaxation techniques versus taking anti-anxiety medication due to the pregnancy.  The psychologist made a tape that involved progressive relaxation exercises combined with breath work.  I practiced the taped exercises three times a day and found they stopped the panic attacks.  After the birth of my son, I continued psychotherapy because I had found a place where there was room for my authentic voice to surface.  Memories of early childhood sexual abuse gradually surfaced in the form of night terrors, flashbacks, body memories and abreactions.  At that time I had two children and a husband to care for as well as a part-time night job that left little time for self-care.  I was so used to taking care of other people all my life I really did not know how to focus on self-care.  I also did not feel worthy of taking the time.  As the years passed I felt more and more anxious.  I found the meditation was not enough to stop the panic attacks so I began anti-anxiety medication.  Some years later I was admitted to the psychiatric floor of a local hospital due to severe dehydration and low body weight.  I was diagnosed as having a dissociative disorder, anxiety, and depression.  I was told I needed to take care of myself and went on to learn that taking care of one’s self means becoming aware of what one needs in each moment of the day  and giving it to one’s self.  Recovering also meant working on my self-esteem and self-worth.  In time, I came to acknowledge that I am important and worthy of good health, joy and nurturing from other people.

As part of the recovery work, I compiled a list of activities and ideas for emotional, psychological, and physical health that I gained from what people have told me and ideas that best fit my authentic self and unique needs (see below).  Trauma affects the body, mind, and spirit; therefore, remember that an important part of recovery is in feeling worthy of giving time and attention to one’s self in order to achieve wellness.

ACTIVITIES FOR EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

  • Mantra:  “May I let go and be filled with peace.”
  • Meditate and journal daily.
  • Take 3 deep breaths 5 times per day.
  • Focus to find peace and joy in your home.  
  • Know you are safe.  
  • Stay in the moment.
  • Yoga once a week.  
  • Walk in nature for fresh air, the quietness or to music 3x/week.
  • Get a massage or facial.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Paint how you feel.
  • Listen to birds chirping, waves crashing, fire crackling.
  • Sleep/rest when fatigued.
  • Daydream your desires.
  • Look at the natural beauty around you (sky, trees, flowers, streams).
  • Look at the stars and moon at night.
  • Experience how a work of art moves you.
  • Know that there exists something greater than any negative feeling you are experiencing.
  • Find and commune with people who share your personal spiritual beliefs.
  • Wear comfortable clothes you like.  
  • Ask for a hug when you need one.
  • Feel cool rocks, earth, and flowers.
  • Burn lavender incense.
  • Gather fragrant flowers for your home.
  • Drink comforting herbal tea.
  • Eat comfort foods.
  • Make healthy self-care choices each moment.
  • Say ‘No’ when you need to —  healthy boundaries are ok.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Stop judging, mind-reading, fortune-telling, and catastrophizing.
  • Be aware of what you expose yourself to because it can activate repressed trauma.
  • Put in place a support network.
  • Call help-lines when you need to.
  • Schedule an extra therapy appointment when needed.
  • Focus on healing (release of emotions) in psychotherapy each week.
  • Prioritize when making a ‘to-do’ list, including time for self-care.
  • Socialize with positive people, family and friends you can be yourself with.
  • Laugh and be silly.
  • Remind yourself you are worthy of attention, healing, and joy.

Editor’s Note:  Debra Faes-Dudden is the author of When Cries are Silenced.  It is a book of artwork and poems created during her healing from early childhood sexual abuse.  The book is available in print on Amazon.com.

The Reason Bestselling Author and Former APA President Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman Wrote Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

By Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD
Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Psychiatrist In Chief New York Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia University Medical Center
Past President, American Psychiatric Association

As a psychiatrist who has cared for patients and conducted research for over 30 years, I have published over 600 scientific articles and 10 books for scientists and health professionals, but never anything for the public at large. Then I came to a realization.

Over the course of human history until the latter part of the 20th century, untold millions of people suffered from mental illness and substance use disorders because there were no treatments and little that could be done to help them. However, now that is not the case. We have an array of evidence-based treatments that work, for most mental and substance use disorders. However, because of lack of awareness, shame and embarrassment or lack of access to competent care or insurance coverage, people just aren’t getting them. Imagine if the population of our country was afflicted with infectious diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis, smallpox and HIV and they did not seek or could not get antibiotics, vaccines or protease inhibitors.

This is the reality for millions of people in the U.S. and around the world and it is a reality that is no longer tolerable. It is simply unacceptable that the greatest barrier to symptomatic relief and recovery for mentally ill persons is not a lack of scientific knowledge or effective treatments, but stigma.

It is for this reason that I wrote Shrinks, The Untold Story of Psychiatry; to tell the fascinating and scandalous story of mental illness, and psychiatry’s efforts to understand and treat them.   Shrinks describes the origins of our understanding brain disorders that affect mental functions and behavior and the evolution of the field of medicine responsible for their understanding and care. It describes psychiatry’s development from a mystical pseudoscience to a bona fide scientifically guided medical discipline that helps people and saves lives, while revealing exemplary case studies of patients. The book also makes an urgent call-to-arms for the public and media to start treating mental illness as a disease rather than a state of mind. As a member of this profession, I think you will find this story incredibly illuminating and inspiring.  

But don’t just take my word for it, here is what some other distinguished authors said.

“Jeffrey Lieberman has produced a masterful behind-the-scenes examination of psychiatry—and, by extension, the human condition. His epic narrative charts the unlikely ascent of the ‘stepchild of medicine,’ paralleling Lieberman’s own professional transformation from eager psychoanalytic student of Freud to neuroscience-minded president of a reformed American Psychiatric Association. A wise and gripping book that tackles one of the most important questions of our time: what is mental illness?

—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon

This is an astonishing book: honest, sober, exciting, and humane. Dr. Lieberman writes with the authority of an expert, but with the humility of a doctor who has learned to treat the most profound and mysterious forms of mental illnesses. This book brings you to the very forefront of one of the most amazing medical journeys of our time.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies

“Shrinks is a must-read. . . A smart, important, accessible book.” (Patrick J. Kennedy, former congressman, founder of The Kennedy Forum, and co-founder of One Mind).

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/books/review/shrinks-by-jeffrey-a-lieberman-with-ogi-ogas.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-psychiatry-emerged-from-the-wilds-to-become-a-medical-discipline/2015/03/06/dba5733c-b939-11e4-9423-f3d0a1ec335c_story.html

Weekend Edition with Scott Simon NPR 3/14/15

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/03/14/392798128/from-freud-to-possession-a-doctor-faces-psychiatrys-demons

Charlie Rose PBS Interview 4/8/15

http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60542652 http://www.hulu.com/watch/775815

For additional information visit:

http://www.jeffreylieberman.com/shrinks.html

www.amazon.com/Shrinks-Untold-Psychiatry-Jeffrey Lieberman

 

 

 

 

 

The 3 Physical Reasons Buddhism is Good for Mental Health

 

Imagine  a photo of the Buddha seated upon a lotus flower meditating.  Let me guide you through this photo. The Buddha is meditating, that is obvious. He’s the Buddha. One of his hands is down on the ground. Touching it. He’s Seated on the lotus flower. There, in plain sight are the three reasons why Buddhism is very good for the health, for mental health. How so?

Firstly, meditating is good for the mental health. Everybody knows this. It reduces  anxiety and helps with the immune system general health. Also when one meditates enough it can combat depression, anxiety, as well as other mental disorders because it seems to calm the amygdala and this by itself helps with anger, fear, and other horrible for preoccupations of the Mind.

Secondly, the Buddha’s hand is on the ground. Back when Adam and Eve and our ancestors were roaming the Earth they did not wear shoes. They slept on the ground.. They are always in contact with the Earth. This by itself was healthy. How so? Well it turns out that the  electrons coming from the earth going to the body actually help with anxiety and rest. This is a medical fact. Today, rubber shoes, wooden floors and carpets and other things block the natural flow of electrons into our bodies. This is one reason we are less healthy. Have you ever felt a sense of well-being walking through a grassy field or on the beach? This is the reason why.

Thirdly, I did not know that one could actually drink Lotus flower tea until recently. But, it is true. Lotus flower tea is the chamomile of the East. It helps with anxiety. Lotus tea helps with restlessness. Also, it helps with a calmer State of Mind.

Those are the three reasons why, hiding in plain sight are the 3 very natural strategies for mental health. They are powerful and have been scientifically proven to help with mental health and wellbeing. I invite you to check out more of my writings on my Amazon author page. I have a lot of great insights like this and to life the universe and everything. I’m the author of over 50 books in four languages English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Thank you for stopping by my little blog article about why Buddhism is good for the mental health.

Finally,  the teachings of the Buddha also can be of help to many people. I myself am a Christian. But I see much wisdom in the Buddhist teachings as well. Jesus was an amazing teacher and role model and if you are Christian or not I hope you can see that he lived an amazing life. I hope you can also see this about the Buddha.

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net or check out his Facebook at Mental Health Books.NET

 

I

How I cured Myself of Clinical Depression Naturally

I was sleeping up to 21 hours per day due to the antidepressant I was taking for clinical depression. My doctor seemed unsympathetic. I will not use the word that, in sum, described this guy in my mind. I soldiered on. I kept taking the medicine every day for more than two years. I knew despite the horrible side effects I was having from the myriad antidepressants they tried me on, Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, and Wellbutrin I was better off using the powerful SSRI and Dopamine Agonists than without them. Why? How could that possibly be? Well, when you have almost an absolutely undeniable urge to end your own life due to your own personal hell you are living in, being awake three hours per day is a gift. Better three than zero, right?

Since these dark days, I have been able to get off and stay off completely from the pharmacotherapy of antidepressant medicines for over two years. How? I’ve written a book called Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction that teaches all my secrets. However, I want to share with you the three main things that have saved me from clinical depression and the one thing that saved my brain the last time I had to take the antidepressants. Ready. Set. Go!

Fish Oil- The Omega3s of fish oil decrease inflammation in the brain and body and have a lot to do with the metabolism and health of the brain. Add this to your daily regimen. Currently there are 784 articles specifically about DEPRESSION AND FISH OIL on MEDLINE the doctors’s database. Fish oil is generally well-known, safe, and helpful for a multitude of mental and physical ailments. Do not take too much of it as it will thin your blood if you take an excessive amount. Also, you generally must stop fish oil a few weeks before a surgery due to this thinning of the blood and preventing it from clotting which is no bueno when you are getting cut open.

Men’s Multivitamin with Zinc- If you are a woman get a women’s multivitamin with zinc. If you are a kid do the kids thing. If you are a senior, do the senior thing. Why? If you are deficient in zinc, this is not good for your hippocampus at any age and when your hippocampus, an important structure in your brain, is not healthy and happy you may be more prone to depression and actually acting on negative thoughts. There is some evidence that a healthy zinc level will help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Conversely, if your hippocampus is functioning well, it should help your overall mental health and make you, theoretically,  be better at spatial memory tasks, (i.e. geometry, calculus, or architecture). Do not take more than the RDA, recommended daily allowance of zinc, as zinc in excess of this can be toxic. Also, always check your other vitamin pills as they might push you over the dose because they also contain zinc. The other vitamins bolster the action of the zinc and along with a healthy diet like the Mediterannean diet, which by itself has shown to act as an antidepressant, you’ll just do better filling in your nutritional gaps doing things like reducing inflammation which can only help.

Vitamin D- Most people are deficient in this “Sunshine” vitamin, especially in the winter when days are long and the sun is weak. One might also be deficient if they live in a colder climate and have darker skin. Or, the person with low levels of vitamin D may just be indoors in their office too much. In the United States about one in two people gets insufficient Vitamin D. Madre always told me that people who lived near the equator were happier, in general. It turns out that there is some truth in this, as many, many people in colder climes such as Sweden and other places have a much higher incidence of a depressive disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, man times known by the acronym SAD. Talk to your doctor about how much vitamin D is safe for you, as too much vitamin D, like too much zinc is toxic. Always check your other vitamins like your multivitamin or specialized vitamin complexes, as they might also contain vitamin D. Always be careful with vitamins and drugs you put into your system, as you may not know it but even water in excess can kill you.

So, I had to get back on the antidepressant Celexa more than two years ago. But, one thing I did differently this time was to bolster my glutathione levels with whey protein. So, I had a healthy sleep schedule- not 21 hours per day of sleep. Wow! So, what is this glutathione and why should you care? It turns out that many psychiatric medications such as antidepressants and antipsychotics drain the brain and body of glutathione, the master antioxidant in humans. This is not a good thing. So, when I took the right kind of whey protein I put that disbalance back in balance. What I am saying here is that when I was sleeping over 20 hours per day, it was due to the action of the antidepressant drugs depleting my brain of glutathione. So, now if I ever really need an antidepressant, I know what to do to keep a better state of health.

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net or check out his Facebook at Mental Health Books.NET

 

Be careful what you take with your psychiatric medicines with

I have a lot of great things going on in my life right now, but one always must be careful what one mixes with one’s psychiatric medicines.  I have a loving romantic woman in my life, she’s my favorite ladyfriend of all time. A great position with a prestigious institution’s library may be mine in the next few months. I am fighting for some justice for my family for my deceased stepfather’s tragic early demise due to COPD due to 9/11 and its aftermath. The fourth edition of The Medical Librarian’s Guide to Natural Mental Health, a follow up to my #1 best seller in the field of holistic mental health is shaping up well. I’m playing with a new potentially dangerous but powerful therapeutic modality, tDCS otherwise known as Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to enhance my meditation, language learning abilities, and mood.  An advanced certification in the Spanish language the DELE level C1 is coming up. Also, I saved mom’s life from a basal skin cancer recently by forcing her to get it checked out. Mom should be around for many more happy years. My brothers are getting on with their lives in a positive manner, and all my nephews and nieces are in good health and growing up beautifully. The house is a lot quieter without Dad around, but he’d be happy and proud of what our family is up to. I hope he is looking down on us and smiling. So, I have a lot of great things happening in my life right now, a lot for which I am  thankful and grateful.

It is pretty common knowledge that there are drug-drug interactions. If one takes ANY medication, and one is going to add a medicine, one must always check for medicines that do not mix, contraindicated medicines. For example, some cough syrups mix badly with some antidepressants. A few years back, I learned the hard way because of a lazy doctors work that the mood stabilizer Tegretol has a major contraindication with the antipsychotic thiothixene. That’s a funny story. I was in the hospital for two weeks. The second day as inpatient my doctor started me on Tegretol. I felt strange. I decided to trust the doctor for once and not check up on her work. Mistake. Days after being discharged I started becoming symptomatic with psychosis. After about a week of becoming sicker and sicker, I went to the Emergency Room. I told them about the medications I was taking, and how I was feeling. Their response? “Your doctor should raise your level of Tegretol if you are not feeling better soon.” I was dumbfounded. This was not how I should be. I know myself and my baseline. So, I Googled “tegretol navane contraindications”. Sure enough, the first hit said that Tegretol and Navane had a MAJOR contraindication. That means as a general rule, you should NEVER mix the two drugs. Anyways, I stopped the Tegretol by myself, and soon after was feeling much better. The way I understand it, Tegretol makes an enzyme that degrades the navane, thiothixene, making it less and less effective the longer the two are taken together and the higher the dose of the Tegretol. So, that’s one medication-medication interaction I had that I fixed myself and lived to tell the tale. Do not get me started on my Metformin Topamax interaction. That was REALLY frightening too. The point here is that one’s doctor should always check for drug-drug interactions. It’s really easy for them. There are databases for this. However, as I experienced, doctors sometimes will not check for even major drug drug interactions. So, ask your pharmacist. Then, do a check on Google yourself. Your life is too precious to trust to take any drug without checking for drug and vitamin/mineral/nutraceutical interactions.

Sometimes an usually harmless food or nutrient can interact badly with a drug.  Grapefruit juice can kill you. Yes. There is something called the “Grapefruit Juice Effect” or something like that. Grapefuit juice, for example, if mixed with some heart medications could kill you.

Don’t drink grapefruit juice if you’re taking any of these medications:

If one drinks a lot of green tea, it’s good for the health, right? Yes, usually, however, if one takes the mood stabilizer lithium, it can change your levels of lithium without you being aware. My primary diagnosis is paranoid schizophrenia, as detailed in my best-selling autobiography A Schizophrenic WIll: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. Paranoid in excess is never good. However, it is good to be cautious about what one is putting into one’s body, for sure.

Two weeks ago, mom made a suggestion me to start taking curumin, the stuff that makes curry yellow. I briefly looked it up. Cucurmin helps  inflammation, diabetes, and arthritis. I did not look into it any more. Curry never killed anybody right? Plus, it tastes so good! No worries, right? Wrong. It was crazy how fast my mind started to devolve into paranoia and insanity.

I felt a bit off the first day I took the curcumin. “No worries,” I told myself, “It is just a bit of a bad day.” The night of the second day on the curcumin, I was teaching my lady about some really cool and useful resources for learning languages. But, I did not sleep well the night before; and about 7pm that night, with her, I could not believe how divorced from reality I became. I took her home 30 minutes later because I was not good company, not even for myself. The third day was horrible. The fourth day  on the curcumin, about 5pm at a Clubhouse I go to sometimes to socialize called Fountain House, I got fully-blown paranoid. Psychotic paranoia can be totally overwhelming. I was almost totally sucked into a vortex of madness totally. I had not been that paranoid for over 20 years! I struggled to get home without unhappy incident. I was successful. At home, I was so sick that I took my medicine 2 hours early, and I started looking for a new anti-psychotic that would not allow me to get this sick, maybe something in clinical trials. There are a few good medicines in the pipeline, but nothing I could easily use. Then, something clicked in my mind. The only new thing in my diet was the curcumin. I thought, grasping at straws, that maybe that this was my issue.

Fortunately, I had in mind something about the liver and the metabolism of the Navane. It turns out that Navane aka thiothixene is metabolized in the liver at CYP1A2. I’m a medical researcher. This took me about 5 minutes to find on Google. Then, I went to the medical database MEDLINE and searched for “curcumin AND CYP1A2”. This is what I came up with: Plant polyphenol curcumin significantly affects CYP1A2. The curcumin was speeding up the metabolism of my thiothixene, my main antipsychotic. I was going loco for curry! Needless to say, I stopped the curcumin; and I am no longer psychotic.

The short take away from this long story is that if you take ANY medication, please check all your drugs against each other yourself as well as all the nutrients and foods in your diet, especially if you start feeling bad after adding a new food, medicine, or nutrient to your mix. It may not be coincidence. That being said, talk to your doctor or go to an Emergency Room to get to a safe place and proper medical care, if you think you have an emergency, and DO NOT STOP ANY MEDICINE without your doctor’s OK. Sometimes, one has to make the best of a temporarily bad situation, or one lands in a worse situation. “Out of the frying pan, into the fire,” as they say.

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net

 

A “Hot”, New Technique to Sleep Better

Excerpt From:The Medical Librarian’s Guide to Better Natural Sleep

By William Jiang, MLS

A good night’s sleep can be elusive these days. Why are we sleeping worse than ever before? There are a few simple answers to this complicated question. Light at night (LAN) is not supposed to be in our environment before sleep. It is unnatural. If you look at a computer screen after dinner, you are shifting your circadian rhythm strongly due to the light from the computer monitor, iPad screen, or smartphone screen. All these screens work like light boxes. Before all our technology, indeed, before electricity, primitive societies sleep cycles followed the rising and setting of the sun strongly. They slept as much as we do, but they went to sleep easily and insomnia did not exist. Also, the light from televisions and our house lights can keep us up and activated. Luckily there are alternatives to these lights I will mention later in the book. The further we go from following the natural cycles of the day, the further away from healthy sleep we travel. Long time night-shift workers notoriously have really serious problems with sleep, anxiety, and depression many times.

In this book there is a great article titled “Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep that has many nutrients that can help one go to sleep from chamomile to hops and beyond. That article needs to be be read as there are so many natural interventions to aid sleep that they would not fit in the article summary. Also, most of the articles have links to full text articles for further exploration and learning.

Most of the text of this book is culled from MEDLINE.

There are many medicines that help with sleep, but I feel that one should do everything on one’s power to get sleep naturally before resorting to medicines. Also, if one takes medicine for sleep, why not do everything one can for better natural sleep.

Good Sleep Hygiene Dictates that One Should..

  1. Go to bed about the same time each night.
  2. Eat and drink in a healthy way throughout the day, and not too close to sleep.
  3. Limit Caffeine after noon as it has a long, seven hour half-life, so if you drink a cup of coffee at 3pm, you will have half a cup of coffee in your system at 10pm.
  4. Create a dark, quiet place where you can really relax for sleep.
  5. Limit long daytime naps
  6. Include Exercise in your day. Even a little exercise will help you to sleep better.
  7. Limit Stress in your life.
  8. Increase exposure to nature, decrease exposure to technology.

About The “Hot”, New Technique for Sleep

About number 8, we live in a modern world, and most of us cannot totally avoid technology. I bring good news. The “Hot, new technique to sleep better” is to turn up the temperature of the light on our screens when we don’t need things like photorealism. See below for a list of helpful links to turn up the temperature on your screen.

Why turn up the temperature on your screen? So, when your screen looks more red, it has less blue. Why? All screens are made of Red, Green, and Blue pixels. This is why when designers create graphics for the screen in programs like Photoshop, they work with the RGB colorspace. If you turn up the intensity of the R for Red the longest wavelength, you will decrease the amount of B or Blue, the shortest wavelength reaching your eyes and activating your brain when you are trying to sleep at night. What does this mean? In short, your screen will have a reddish tint, and you will sleep better if you use the apps below.  The good news is that we can reduce our exposure to the blue light from screens using the free settings, apps, and plugins below, thus making sleep much easier and decreasing our daytime stress. That’s the theory anyway, you would have to see how it would work out for you, personally. Some might “See Red” like a bull!

Anyway, how can we increase our red and decrease our blue light from the screen?

 

  • From the Google Chrome App Store for the Chrome Browser get the Extension called the  Blue Light Filter Guard and add it to your browser.

Red light is not for everybody, but it may be for you, at least in theory.

William Jiang, MLS

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net

 

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Author William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net His Facebook page is located at https://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthbooksdotnet

Escritor William Jiang, MLS es un ex Jefe de la Biblioteca de la Universidad de Columbia y autor de 63 libros, incluyendo la autobiografía exitosa Entre la Esquizofrenia y Mi Voluntad: Una Historia de Locura y Esperanza. Un enlace a su página de Autor Amazon y su blog se encuentra en http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net Su pagina de Facebook es https://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthbooksdotnet