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..
- Go to bed about the same time each night.
- Eat and drink in a healthy way throughout the day, and not too close to sleep.
- 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.
- Create a dark, quiet place where you can really relax for sleep.
- Limit long daytime naps
- Include Exercise in your day. Even a little exercise will help you to sleep better.
- Limit Stress in your life.
- 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.
- For your iPhone just change your settings to stop blue light. There is nothing to download. See: https://www.howtogeek.com/246582/how-to-enable-night-shift-on-your-iphone-for-easy-nighttime-reading/
- For your Android install from Google Play the app called Blue Light Filter- Night Mode
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 60+ books, including bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. See his Amazon Author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/williamjiang
For Great Books and wisdom check our Main Page www.mentalhealthbooks.net .
Please enjoy your free Meditation MP3s! Using meditation and wisdom, my wish to you is that you may find peace in your life, your mind, and your heart! Paz y alegria! – William Jiang, MLS
FREE MP3s for Meditation- Follow the Breath
Simple yet effective. Sencillo pero eficaz.
FREE MEDITATION MP3
MEDITACION MP3 GRATIS
Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is William Jiang, MLS and I am exquisitely chemically sensitive to the extent it almost took my life three years ago. Let me tell you a tale I’m lucky I am alive to tell. I was stricken with an illness that had no name while attending CUNY Baruch going for an MBA. I could not even take the trains or buses because they were “too clean”. How so? I had a battery of tests for my symptom of an illness that few mainstream medical practitioners would even consider exists. My symptom? I choked on any air that had even minute amounts of cleaning products or other man-made chemicals in it. Believe it or not, they clean the buses, trains, and subway. All tests came up negative. You can imagine that the mystery of my illness and my despair deepened.
Things went from bad to worse. I was homeless on the streets of Manhattan in the cold autumn months of 2014 despite the help of my friends and loved ones. I went without sleep for six straight days because my landlord decided to do some welding of a heater in my bedroom, making it unlivable, and my backup, my parents home, was rendered temporarily unlivable due to industrial chemicals that were being used in a construction site nearby. I could not even go to a homeless shelter due to my exquisite sensitivity to cleaning products. I am lucky to be alive because after six days of no sleep some friends of mine had a place that was barely chemically-neutral enough to sleep for 17 hours straight. After three more sleepless days and nights after this needed, nourishing sleep, I was able to return to my parents home to the jubilation of my entire family. The construction site chemicals that nobody else even noticed had dissipated from our living space. Let me tell you, I was so drained. I am a man of 6’2” and wide in the shoulder, yet I sank to my knees and cried when I realized survival, a lost dream, was a possibility. My point is that my issue, called by Environmental Medicine Practitioners in the United States, MCS or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity can be life threatening even with much support.
I am not alone. There are thousands of people in the United States with MCS. As of today, no government agency on the local, state, nor federal level specifically supports the right to live of people with MCS with strong tangible action and help. This is the reason for this letter. I and the undersigned from New York petition you who have the power, for tangible help for this small, marginalized, and as of yet totally disenfranchised community. People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities desperately need access and accessibility to special housing, transportation, and medical care. Thank you for your attention, and God bless.
William Jiang, MLS and the undersigned
If you wish to “sign” the letter please send me your name, post address, and photo or scan of you signature to firstname.lastname@example.org also check my FEDERAL Petition at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/help-chemically-sensitive-acquire-special-housing-medical-care-and-transportation-among-other-needs
Forget about Walking Like an Egyptian- Walk like a Tsimane of Bolivia
I give the Tsimane of Bolivia much respect. Who are the Tsimane of Bolivia, and why should I care? The Tsimane are a tribe out of touch with modernity in the Amazon of Bolivia, but they have the “healthiest hearts in the world” because of their high fiber, high plant-content diet with about 15% of their calories from lean meats and fats, the rest, about 70% from carbohydrates. This diet does not sound so healthy because they have so many carbs! Do not worry, the average Tsimane walks over 6.5 miles per day when they are over 60; and the women who are under 60, they average 8 miles per day. The women burn about 1,200 calories per day walking. They’re all endurance athletes!
I used to walk up to 10 miles per day but was sidelined by the painful foot condition called plantar fasciitis due to inappropriate footwear and lack of stretching. I aspire to start walking long distances again some day after Amniofix injections to repair my feet. Wish me luck people. And YOU. Walk a little more! We as a society sit too much these days. And for what? Getting out for a brisk walk feels really good, if you can do it. You do not need to run a marathon every day. Just walk more, like a Tsimane.
The Mentalhealthbooks.net synthesis of it all by author William Jiang, MLS (check out his books about health and wellness here): A diet high in quality carbohydrates helps with anger and depression as long as you get exercise. Your head will feel better if you mimic the Tsimane of Bolivia. Also, walking a lot not only is good for the heart, but also you will lose weight. Beyond those benefits, I remember that my hunger was much more under control when I walked more, compounding the benefit. As if that were not enough, walking more is good for the health of the brain and nervous system. Taking a good brisk walk every day fights depression and anxiety. Sitting in front of Facebook is not fighting your depression and anxiety. Maybe check out my new book about heart health and be a heart superstar: The Medical Librarian’s Guide to a Naturally Healthy Heart and Circulatory System.
Read more abou the Tsimane here
Race and Mental Health in the United States: The Statistics, The Facts (2017)
I read in the US News and World Report article that “Dying Preventable Deaths Suicide, alcohol and drug abuse are raising death rates for white, middle-aged Americans”.By Lloyd Sederer, Opinion Contributor published on Nov. 4, 2015 that.White, middle-aged males aged 45-55 are dying faster than any other group. So that hurts, as a male aged 44. So, that made me think about the question of race and mental health. It turns out that MANY of us need help. Here are the statistics about race and mental health among non-whites in the United States of today:
Latino Mental Health Statistics
Lifetime prevalence rates among Latino Americans born in the U.S. are lower than those for non-Latino whites, vary among ethnic groups, and are higher among U.S.-born Latinos than they are among foreign-born Latinos. According to the 2008 article, “Prevalence of Mental Illness in Immigrant and Non-Immigrant U.S. Latino Groups” :
- Lifetime prevalence rates are more than 50 percent for non-Latino whites born in the U.S., versus between 30 and 40 percent for Latino populations born in the U.S.
- Among U.S. born Latinos, Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have comparable lifetime prevalence rates, around 40 percent, while Cuban Americans and other Latinos have lifetime prevalence rates closer to 30 percent.
- Among immigrants, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos all have lifetime prevalence rates below 30 percent.
Despite these generally lower rates, according to CDC data reported in 2012 :
- Latino high school males are just as likely to report suicidal thinking as non-Latino whites (10.7 percent versus 10.5 percent), and more likely to attempt suicide (6.9 percent versus 4.6 percent).
- Latino high school females are more likely to report suicidal thinking than non-Latino white females (20.2 percent to 16.1 percent) , and more like to attempt suicide as well (13.5 percent to 7.9 percent).
- As the CDC data suggest, young Latino females are nearly twice as likely as males both to think about suicide and to attempt suicide.
Black Mental Health Statistics
From Mentalhealthamerica.net )http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/african-american-mental-health)
According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health :
- Adult Black/African Americans are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites.
- Adult Black/African Americans living below poverty are three times more likely to report serious psychological distress than those living above poverty.
- Adult Black/African Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than are adult whites.
- And while Black/African Americans are less likely than white people to die from suicide as teenagers, Black/African Americans teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than are white teenagers (8.3 percent v. 6.2 percent).
Black/African Americans of all ages are more likely to be victims of serious violent crime than are non-Hispanic whites, making them more likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Black/African Americans are also twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. 
- Black/African Americans today are over-represented in our jails and prisons. People of color account for 60 percent of the prison population. Black/African Americans also account for 37 percent of drug arrests, but only14 percent of regular drug users (illicit drug use is frequently associated with self-medication among people with mental illnesses). 
- Because less than 2 percent of American Psychological Association members are Black/African American, some may worry that mental health care practitioners are not culturally competent enough to treat their specific issues.  This is compounded by the fact that some Black/African American patients have reported experiencing racism and microaggression from therapists. 
- Stigma and judgment prevents Black/African Americans from seeking treatment for their mental illnesses. Research indicates that Black/African Americans believe that mild depression or anxiety would be considered “crazy” in their social circles. Furthermore, many believe that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family. 
Asian Mental Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , in general Asian Americans report fewer mental health concerns than do whites. However:
- 18.9 percent of Asian American high school students report considering suicide, versus 15.5 percent of whites.
- 10.8 percent of Asian American high school students report having attempted suicide, versus 6.2 percent of whites.
- Asian American high school females are twice as likely (15 percent) to have attempted suicide than males (7 percent).
- Suicide death rates are 30 percent higher for 15-24 year old Asian American females than they are for white females (5.3 versus 4.0).
- Suicide death rates for 65+ year old Asian American females are higher than they are for white females (4.8 to 4.5).
Best Books about Bipolar as Curated by former Columbia Psychiatry Library Chief
Bienvenidos! My name is William Jiang, MLS and I was the Chief of the Patient Library at Columbia Psychiatry / New York State Psychiatric Institute for almost a decade from 2004-2011. According to the Surgeon General, more than one in four people in the United States struggles with mental health issues: anxiety, bipolar, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and more. Bipolar disorder used to be called manic-depression. The following were the best books about bipolar of the Columbia Psychiatry Patient Library during my tenure and of today.
- An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison “An international authority on manic-depressive illness, and one of the few women who are full professors of medicine at American Universities – a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic depression, and how it shaped her life. With vivid prose and wit, she takes us into the fascinating and dangerous territory of this form of madness – a world in which one pole can be the alluring dark land ruled by what Byron called the “melancholy star of the imagination,” and the other a desert of depression and, all too frequently, death.”
- Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania by Andy Behrman “Electroboy is an emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression. For years Andy Behrman hid his raging mania behind a larger-than-life personality. He sought a high wherever he could find one and changed jobs the way some people change outfits: filmmaker, PR agent, art dealer, stripper-whatever made him feel like a cartoon character, invincible and bright. Misdiagnosed by psychiatrists and psychotherapists for years, his condition exacted a terrible price: out-of-control euphoric highs and tornado-like rages of depression that put his life in jeopardy.”
- Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies by William Jiang, MLS “In this useful guide, Jiang gives a short practical summary of a wide variety of mental disorders ranging from the classical bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia to the more modern affliction of digital addictions. In each category, he supplies a list of non-pharmacologic treatments, providing for each item a reference with abstract. He also offers resources such as national networks and local support groups.” – Marjorie Ordene, MD
- 100 Questions & Answers about Bipolar Disorder by Ava T. Albrecht “Whether you’re a newly diagnosed patient, a friend, or relative, this book offers help. The only volume to provide both the doctor’s and patient’s views, 100 Questions & Answers About Bipolar (Manic-Depressive) Disorder, gives you authoritative, practical answers to your questions about treatment options, coping strategies, sources of support, and much more. Written by a prominent psychiatrist, with actual patient commentary, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone coping with the medical, psychological, and emotional turmoil of this debilitating condition.”
- Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness by Jessie Close “In RESILIENCE, Jessie dives into the dark and dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror and turmoil. With New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Pete Earley, she tells of finally discovering the treatment she needs and, with the encouragement of her sister and others, the emotional fortitude to bring herself back from the edge.”
- Touched With Fire: Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison “Drawing from the lives of artists such as Van Gogh, Byron and Virginia Woolf, Jamison examines the links between manic-depression and creativity.”
- Shock by Kitty Dukakis “Kitty Dukakis has battled debilitating depression for more than twenty years. Coupled with drug and alcohol addictions that both hid and fueled her suffering, Kitty?s despair was overwhelming. She tried every medication and treatment available; none worked for long. It wasn’t until she tried electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, that she could reclaim her life. Kitty?s dramatic first-person account of how ECT keeps her illness at bay is half the story of Shock. The other half, by award winning medical reporter Larry Tye, is an engrossing look at the science behind ECT and its dramatic yet subterranean comeback. This book presents a full picture of ECT, analyzing the treatment’s risks along with its benefits. ECT, it turns out, is neither a panacea nor a scourge but a serious option for treating life threatening and disabling mental diseases, like depression, bipolar disorder, and others.”
- A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction by Patrick J. Kennedy “Patrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman and youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care’s history in the country alongside his and every family’s private struggles. On May 5, 2006, the New York Times ran two stories, “Patrick Kennedy Crashes Car into Capitol Barrier” and then, several hours later, “Patrick Kennedy Says He’ll Seek Help for Addiction.” It was the first time that the popular Rhode Island congressman had publicly disclosed his addiction to prescription painkillers, the true extent of his struggle with bipolar disorder and his plan to immediately seek treatment. That could have been the end of his career, but instead it was the beginning. Since then, Kennedy has become the nation’s leading advocate for mental health and substance abuse care, research and policy both in and out of Congress. ”
- The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams “If you’ve ever struggled with depression, take heart. Mindfulness, a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all. In The Mindful Way through Depression, four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience. This enhanced e-book includes an audio program of guided meditations narrated by Jon Kabat-Zinn.”
- Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky “Developed by two master clinicians with extensive experience in cognitive therapy treatment and training, this popular workbook shows readers how to improve their lives using cognitive therapy. The book is designed to be used alone or in conjunction with professional treatment. Step-by-step worksheets teach specific skills that have helped hundreds of thousands people conquer depression, panic attacks, anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, eating disorders, substance abuse and relationship problems. Readers learn to use mood questionnaires to identify, rate, and track changes in feelings; change the thoughts that contribute to problems; follow step-by-step strategies to improve moods; and take action to improve daily living and relationships. The book’s large-size format facilitates reading and writing ease.”
- The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, Second Edition: What You and Your Family Need to Know by David J. Miklowitz “Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward reclaiming your life from bipolar disorder. But if you or someone you love is struggling with the frantic highs and crushing lows of this illness, there are still many hurdles to surmount at home, at work, and in daily life. You need current information and practical problem-solving advice you can count on. You’ve come to the right place. Trusted authority Dr. David J. Miklowitz offers straight talk, true stories, and proven strategies that can help you achieve greater balance and free yourself from out-of-control moods. The updated second edition of this bestselling guide has the latest facts on medications and therapy, an expanded discussion of parenting issues for bipolar adults, and a new chapter, “For Women Only.”
I invite you to add your own favorite books about bipolar disorder in the comments.
William Jiang, MLS