Depression – Medications Play a Key Role in Recovery

Depresssion Medications Recovery
What is antidepressants and mood elevators?

Depression – caused by the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Therefore, medications play a key role in recovery. Thus, antidepressant or mood elevator, prescribed to patients with depression to alleviate their symptoms. Antidepressant medicine not only used for the treatment of depression. Additionally, also prescribed in other psychiatric conditions. These include anxiety disorders, social anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), dysthymia (mild chronic depression), etc,.

The use of antidepressants is on the rise. Although, antidepressants do not cure depression, they relieve the symptoms. Andipressants come in various types. The first medication to try may not benefit. However, one must consult their doctor and find the right choice of medication/s for their condition.

Antidepressant adherence

Non-adherence to antidepressants – one of the causes of major negative consequences on health. Nonetheless, it also majorly contributes to the under treatment of anxiety and depression in maximum cases in the population. Consequently, a set of reasons why people do not comply with their therapy or treatment must be explored. Firstly, forgetting to take the medicine. Secondly, other factors that contribute to non-adherence of antidepressants include –

  1. Fear of addiction
  2. High cost of medications
  3. Fear of drug-induced sexual dysfunction
  4. Delayed onset of action of the medication
  5. Poor instructions and protocols by the doctor
  6. Fear of side effects
Benefits of Adherence

Nevertheless, adherence to the medication with proper guidance from the doctor will decrease the symptoms of depression. Thus, leading them get back to their normal life. Also, under-treatment of depression at times fatal. However, if the depression escalates, suicidal tendencies can follow. Inspite of and apart from these, suddenly stopping the medications – associated with withdrawal symptoms which can get fatal in severe cases.

Indeed, in recent times – depression – a common problem and the reason for the rise of fatalities that it causes. Thus, the importance to consult a doctor to get the condition’s diagnosis and get on the right treatment. Also, of equal importance to adhere to their therapy and abide by the guidelines.

Depression – Types and Symptoms

Depression is frequently confused with natural and circumstantial feelings of grief or sadness. However, depression is not merely a weakness. It is not something to be taken lightly. Indeed, it is quite a serious issue and can last for long periods of time. Accordingly, there are different types of depression and they could present with more than a couple of symptoms.

In fact, depression does not merely involve feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. To summarize, it is much more terrible and has a negative effect on your day-to-day functioning.

Further, there are many different types of depression. These are:

  1. Firstly, Major depression
  2. Secondly, Bipolar depression
  3. Thirdly, Psychotic depression
  4. Fourthly, Chronic depression (even dysthymia)
  5. Fifthly, Seasonal depression
  6. Sixthly, Substance-induced depression
  7. Seventhly, Postpartum depression
  8. Eighthly, Double depression
  9. Ninthly, Treatment-resistant depression
  10. Tenthly, Secondary depression
  11. Finally, Masked depression
Symptoms

First off, signs and symptoms of clinical depression vary. Secondly, they depend largely on how severe, how long lasting and how often they come into play. In addition, there are individual differences. Therefore, while some experience a few signs of depression, others experience more. Hereunder, is a list of symptoms that might indicate that you may be suffering from depression and that you might want to consult a psychiatrist:

  1. Firstly, Being sad for most parts of the day, especially in the morning
  2. Secondly, Feeling like blaming yourself unnecessarily or feeling worthless almost every day
  3. Thirdly, More inclined towards being negative
  4. Fourthly, Sleep Difficulties i.e. Loss of sleep or Excessive sleep
  5. Fifthly, Regular contemplations of death or suicide
  6. Sixthly, Significant weight gain or weight loss
  7. Seventhly, Appetite loss or overeating
  8. Eighthly, Feelings of high fatigue and low energy levels almost every day
  9. Ninthly, Inability to make decisions or impaired focus and difficulty concentrating
  10. Tenthly, Lack of interest in almost all daily activities or hobbies, including sexual activity
  11. Eleventhly, Irritability and restlessness
  12. Twelthly, Cramps, headaches and digestive problems which persist even with treatment
Causes

Although, the exact cause of depression is not yet determined, depression is supposedly caused by a combination of a number of factors:

  1. Biological differences
  2. Hormonal imbalances
  3. Brain chemistry
  4. Inherited traits or genetic disorders.
  5. Social and Psychological factors.
  6. Also, Co-morbid or Chronic Medical conditions.

And finally, 7. Treatments with certain Medications.

Schizophrenia – The “psycho” disorder?!

Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder, with its pathogenesis in neurodevelopmental anomalies. The 5 domains of schizophrenia include:

  • Positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations).
  • Negative symptoms.
  • Ubiquitous cognitive deficits
  • Motor symptoms (dyskinesias).
  • Deficits in social cognition, or socio-occupational functioning.
Negative Symptoms: 

Negative symptoms include blunted affect, alogia, avolition, asociality, amotivation, anhedonia, ideational constriction, apathy or inertia, and abulia.

  • Blunted affect: This refers to the decreased intensity and repertoire of emotional expressions.
  • Alogia: This refers to the paucity in the speech content that is evident in patients of schizophrenia.
  • Avolition: This refers to the deficits in initiation and maintenance of goal-directed behaviors.
  • Anhedonia: This is the decreased ability to experience and anticipate pleasure, or pleasurable emotions. Recent studies have pointed out that patients with schizophrenia have the ablility to enjoy the pleasurable experience. However, they display a lack of wanting to experience these pleasurable pursuits or enjoyable experiences. Consummatory hedonia is the ability to experience an emotion. Also, anticipatory hedonia is the want to experience a pleasurable pursuit. Patients with schizophrenia display anticipatory anhedonia. However, negative symptoms have not been unique to schizophrenia alone.
Classification of Negative Symptoms:

Deficits in the brain circuitry concerning reward (nucleus accumbens), motivation and pleasure are the reason for negative symptoms.

Negative symptoms are further classified into:

  • Enduring Primary Negative Symptoms: The enduring primary negative symptoms can consistently present over long periods of time, despite fluctuations in other aspects of the disease. These enduring primary negative symptoms constitute what is called the deficit syndrome in schizophrenia.
  • Transitory Secondary Negative Symptoms: Secondary negative symptoms can occur transitory in nature, fluctuate largely over the course of the illness, and abate with reduction in the other aspects of the disease.
What Causes Secondary Negative Symptoms?
  • These are secondary to positive symptoms. That is, if a patient hears voices commanding him not to venture out of his home, lest he is attacked by his arch nemesis, such an individual is bound to stay at home for the fear of being attacked. Such an individual will also limit his social interaction, and display paucity in his speech content. People mistake this for apathy and alogia. However, in fact it is a reflection of the aftermath of auditory hallucinations, a positive symptom.
  • Secondary negative symptoms are attributable to chronic social deprivation. This is evident in patients who are chronically institutionalized in asylums. Such long bouts of social isolation serve to remove all motivation in these individuals to interact with the outside world, especially at a time when they are overwhelmed by their illness, and are unable to integrate their inner perceptual experiences. Chronic institutionalization comes across as a severely under-stimulating environment. 
  • Lastly secondary negative symptoms may be due to medications themselves. In medical terms, it is called neuroleptic-induced dysphoria. The medications which are used to treat a psychotic breakdown cause a reduction in the levels of the happy hormone serotonin, and this may produce a depression like picture. However, this is not to be confused with the post-psychotic depression that is commonly seen after a psychotic episode. Although the treatment does not differ in both these scenarios, recognition of the individual clinical scenario has important prognostic ramifications. In theory, risk of exacerbation of the psychotic symptoms exists, when the post-psychotic depression is treated with antidepressants.
Deficit Syndrome:
  • Indeed, deficit syndrome or a clustering of these negative symptoms entails a poor quality of life, and impaired socio-occupational functioning.
  • Subsequently, individuals become unproductive, and lead a life of social isolation and deprivation.
  • The motivation to go out and do something beautiful, achieve a target, strive towards betterment of oneself diminishes and stops. Also, work towards a greater good of one’s community, all day to day goals in the lives of a regular individual, cease to exist.
Degree of Future Negative Symptoms:
  • Firstly, Among the strongest predictors of the degree of future negative symptoms is Duration of Untreated Psychosis, or DUP.
  • Thus, DUP refers to the time lag between the appearance of the first psychotic symptoms, and the treatment sought for these symptoms.
  • However, greater the duration of the untreated psychosis, greater is the future occurence of negative symptoms and cognitive deficits.
  • Indeed, an individual with a substantial cognitive reserve offers some protection against the cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, and dementia.
  • Since the nature of these cognitive deficits is ubiquitous, these may be evident as early as the prodromal phase of schizophrenia.
  • Indeed, greater the volume of grey matter loss, greater is the cognitive deficit syndrome. Also, greater the duration of untreated psychosis, greater is the grey matter volume loss.

Treatment:

Factoring in all these points, it becomes imperative to seek comprehensive professional psychiatric help early in the course of the illness. The prodromal phase of schizophrenia presents with memory disturbances, vague anxiety and depressive symptoms, progressive social withdrawal, before the positive symptoms set in. This prodrome can last as long as 5 years before the onset of core psychotic symptoms, like delusions and hallucinations.

Management of Negative Symptoms:
Non-pharmacological Management:
  1. Psychosocial interventions: Indeed, this is as important as psychopharmacological interventions. Thus, forming support groups, and meeting at regular intervals of these groups is important. Nevertheless, these group meetings give voice to individual experiences and problems. So, thereapists give encouragement to client participation. Assessment is done of the progress so far. Therapists also ascertain the goals for the future.
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Therapists aid the clients in recognizing cognitive distortions. Subsequently, they help in unlearning older maladaptive behaviors, and focusing on learning newer adaptive ones. Individualized therapy is suitable. Because, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Studies consistently show that individual therapy is better than group therapy in the treatment of negative symptoms.
  3. Cognitive remediation therapy for cognitive deficits: This includes pencil-paper tasks, sudoku, crossword, computer exercises. Therapists tailor some of the exercises to focus on deficits in individual domains like attention, speed of thought processing, verbal working memory, reasoning, and social cognition.
  4. Others: Thus, aerobic exercises help in neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and modulate neuroplasticity. 
Pharmacological Management:
  1. In fact, Amisulpiride and Fluoxetine treat the negative symptoms. Amisulpride increases levels of the hormone prolactin in the long run. Hyperprolactinaemia can set the precedent for osteoporosis.
  2. However, recent studies have shown that Clozapine has the highest level of evidence in the management of negative symptoms.  With Clozapine, the improvements can be visible even after 6 months of initiation of treatment. 
  3. Moreover, Clozapine trial requires regular monitoring of the White Blood Cell counts, and causes constipation, weight gain, salivation, postural hypotension, and palpitations as common side effects.

Brain Stimulation Techniques:

  1. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Firstly, TMS of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has proven to be very effective in the treatment of negative symptoms.
  2. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, it is not as effective for negative symptoms, as it is for depression and positive symptoms.

Novel Treatment Approaches:

  • Emerging molecular targets – These include GABAergic modulation, targeting oxytocin receptors (implicated in the social cognition deficits in schizophrenia, along with mirror neurons). Also, countering neuroinflammation by using cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors like Rofecoxib. Others include – NMDA (N-Methyl-D-Aspartate) antagonists like Memantine, Glycine-reuptake inhibitors like Bitopetrin, and Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 2/3 agonists like Pomaglumetad. Memantine, Bitopetrin and Pomaglumetad come under the purview of glutamatergic modulation.

There is definitely hope for those afflicted with the deficit syndrome, with researchers identifying a plethora of molecular targets.

Hallucinations Delusions Schizophrenia ?

hallucinations delusions schizophrenia

Weird, Bizarre, Incoherent – Hallucinations Delusions Schizophrenia ?! Serious Mental Illnesses (SMIs) and side effects to varied medicines may cause hallucinations in many individuals. Psychosis and Schizophrenia are the most commonly known causes that may cause this condition. Hallucinations are sensations and feelings that may appear as real to the patient. Thus, convincing him or her of the occurrence of things that are not really happening in reality. Hearing voices, seeing people, and experiencing things that no one else can, are some of the ways in which hallucinations work.

Let us find out the varied signs and symptoms of this condition.

Hearing Voices: One of the most common signs of hallucinations includes hearing voices. You may hear voices from people who cannot be seen or heard by other people around you. In such cases, you may have the distinct feeling of hearing these voices from within. However, this could also be from a source outside your own mind and body. In many cases, you may feel like these voices are trying to talk to you or give you a certain message. Ringing of the ears on a persistent basis may also be experienced in such cases.

Visual Hallucinations: Such hallucinations will make the patient see things. In such cases, the patient may be witness to a scene that cannot be seen by anyone else. Essentially, it is a scene that may not be happening in reality. In visual hallucinations, the patient may also see people that other people in the room or the area cannot see. The patient may also see objects and other creatures. For example, insects crawling across his or her hand. Subsequently, the patient reacts with fear or anxiety, when in reality, no such scene may be happening. These kind of hallucinations also cause occipital seizures where the patient will see spots, shapes and rings of brightly coloured lights. They may be coming towards him or her, or even encircle him or her.

Other kinds of hallucinations

Tactile Hallucinations: In this kind of hallucinations will make the patient feel things that may not really be happening. For example, these hallucinations will make the patient feel hot during winters. They may also feel a blast of air even when there has been none.

Taste Hallucinations: In these hallucinations, the patient may get a salty taste from sweet food, or vice versa. Such hallucinations make the patient imagine that he or she tastes a certain flavor when in reality, this is not true. They are also called gustatory hallucinations.

Olfactory Hallucinations: These hallucinations have to do with odd smells that the patient may get a whiff of. In these hallucinations, the patient imagines certain smells like burning, or other odours. Patients may also feel that their own bodies are letting out certain odours which may not be the actual case.  

Delusion vs. Hallucination

A delusion is a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes. This is also despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture For example, it is not an article of religious faith.

A hallucination occurs when environmental, emotional, or physical factors such as stress, medication, or extreme fatigue. In a mental illness the mechanism within the brain that helps to distinguish conscious perceptions from internal, memory-based perceptions misfire. As a result, hallucinations occur during periods of consciousness. They can appear in the form of visions, voices or sounds, tactile feelings (known as haptic hallucinations), smells, or tastes.

Delusions are a common symptom of several mood and personality-related mental illnesses. These include schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, shared psychotic disorder, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. They are also the major feature of delusional disorder. Individuals with delusional disorder suffer from long-term, complex delusions that fall into one of six categories. They are persecutory, grandiose, jealousy, erotomanic, somatic, or mixed.

So… are all hallucinations delusions schizophrenia ?! If you notice any of the above, it may be time to consult a neuropsychiatrist OR visit your nearest doctor to find out more.

Fits Seizures Epilepsy Treatment

fits seizures epilepsy treatment

Fits, Seizures, Epilepsy is a form of chronic disorder and it is characterized by recurrent seizures and importantly does have treatment options. The episodes of epileptic seizures may differ from person to person. These seizures could be a result of genetic disorder or a result of trauma or stroke. During a seizure, a patient may also experience symptoms of neurological disorders and sometimes lose consciousness. However, treatment is available.

Medical help for fits seizures or epilepsy i.e. treatment

Medications cannot cure seizures entirely. However, proper medicines help in eliminating recurrent seizures. These medicines stabilize the electrical activity within the brain preventing seizures.

How effective is the medication treatment for fits seizures or epilepsy?

The success of controlling seizures using medicines depends on the type and severity of the epilepsy. Medicines for epilepsy are usually very effective and may fully keep seizures under control. However, brain problems can cause seizures. In such cases treatment may be more difficult. Usually, epilepsy medicines can control seizures for a long period of time when they are taken regularly.

Need for medical help

The decision about when to start medicines for epilepsy is a tricky one. This is because a first seizure cannot confirm whether a person has an on-going epilepsy problem. A second seizure may occur after many years or may not happen at all. Prediction of seizures is also quite difficult.

The severity of seizures also indicates when to start medicines for treatment. In case a first seizure is quite severe, medication should be started at once. Some people have very mild seizures even though they may be recurring in nature, and medication can be avoided in this situation.

All the pros and cons must be thought over before starting medications for the treatment of fits or epilepsy. It is advisable to wait for a second seizure and then start medications for treatment. You should always consult a doctor to know when you need to start taking medicines to treat the condition.

For making the most out of the medicines to control seizures, you should follow certain steps:
  1. You must take medications exactly as your doctor has prescribed.
  2. Before switching to generic versions of your medicines or before taking other prescribed medicines, you must consult your doctor.
  3. You should never stop taking the medicines.
  4. In case you experience enhanced depression, mood swings and suicidal thoughts, you should talk to your doctor immediately.
  5. In case you have migraine, you should let your doctor know so that he can prescribe you anti-epileptic medicines, which also prevent migraines.

Medicines cannot treat the underlying cause of epilepsy, but these help in controlling seizures and this is the most common symptom of epilepsy. Visit with a neuropsychiatrist after making an appointment.

Quit Smoking Now !!

Quit Smoking Tobacco Cigarettes Cigar

Indeed, this post will help you quit smoking now. So, listen on. Nicotine or tobacco addiction refers to an acute dependence upon tobacco products primarily due to the presence of the nicotine drug. In other words, nicotine addiction refers to an inability to stop using tobacco products despite the knowledge and awareness that it is harmful to you. While nicotine only induces addiction, it is the presence of other substances in tobacco which makes it damaging and injurious to health.

Nicotine has the tendency to produce effects in the brain, both physical as well as mind altering, that give temporary satisfaction. This is precisely why people get hooked into the habit of tobacco consumption, which eventually leads to addiction.

Unfortunately, stopping tobacco use immediately can also lead to several withdrawal symptoms, like agitation and restlessness, and therefore you would need the help of a psychiatrist who is an expert in de-addiction. Therefore, quit smoking now might not not literally mean quitting cold turkey but liturgically over a period of time.

Causes

The main reason why tobacco is so addictive is due to the fact that nicotine releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the reward centre of the brain, which in turn improves your mood and gives you temporary pleasure.

Causes of nicotine addiction can either be physical or behavioral, for instance situations or feelings, which make you crave for tobacco. These include:

  1. Specific times during the day, say after every meal or during breaks at work
  2. While defecating
  3. While drinking alcohol
  4. Stressful or depressive situations
  5. At the sight or smell of a burning cigarette
  6. Peer pressure
  7. While driving

Symptoms of nicotine addiction include:
  1. Inablility to quit smoking despite frequent attempts.
  2. The experience withdrawal symptoms after attempting to quit.
  3. Continuing to smoke despite the awareness that it is injurious to your health.
  4. You forego social as well as recreational activities because of your need to smoke.
Effects of Smoking on Sexual Health

Smoking, in general, has a negative effect on the human body. It can cause a host of disorders such as mouth cancer, blood pressure problems, and lung cancer. Smoking affects the sexual performance of both men and women.

Here are some effects that smoking has on sex

  1. Impotence: Smoking can damage the blood vessels that lead to erectile dysfunction (a condition where the penis cannot sustain an erection).
  2. Decrease in libido: Smoking can cause various physical problems such as stamina reduction and lack of desire for sex. An individual who smokes won’t be able to give an optimal sexual performance and this can further lower satisfaction levels.
  3. Erectile dysfunction: Smoking can cause problems related to the circulation of the blood in the body. It can narrow the arteries that supply blood and this is directly linked with erectile dysfunction.
  4. Tissue damage: Smoking can damage the tissues inside the penis thus impairing your ability to have an erection during sexual intercourse.
  5. Early onset of menopause: It can affect the estrogen (a sex hormone) levels in the female body; so, women who smoke tend to reach menopause early.
  6. Reduction in penis size: It can reduce the penis size in men by damaging the blood vessels and the structure of the tissue around the penis. This is more common in younger men.
  7. Reduction in stamina: Smoking can cause a reduction in the stamina, thus a person will not be able to perform well sexually. It can lead to fatigue and tiredness during sex.
Therapies

Of course, there are a lot of therapies which can help you recover from the damage already happened because of smoking and prevent further damage.

Smoking is a phenomenon where the smoke emanated from a burning substance, usually tobacco, is inhaled. Smoking is a major cause for multiple diseases such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, blood pressure disorders etc.

Cigarette or Cigar or Beedi smoking tends to limit the capabilities of the immune system. Thus, this makes it easier for various diseases to affect the body. Smoking can lead to problems in the teeth where the gum tissues that attach the bone with the teeth are affected. This may cause the blood flow to the gums to be impaired and affect the functioning of the teeth.

The changes that the teeth undergo due to smoking are –

1. It may increase teeth sensitivity.
2. Smoking causes the teeth to be pulled away from the gums.
3. It can result in swollen and bleeding gums.
4. It may cause pain while chewing food.
5. Bone loss around the jawline occurs in smokers.
6. It can result in stained teeth and bad breath.

Disorders related to the teeth caused by smoking

There are various disorders of the teeth which are directly linked to smoking, they are –

  1. Mouth cancer – in this condition tumors are formed in the mouth
  2. Smoking can cause plaque to accumulate in the teeth
  3. Tobacco may cause gum disease that can result in tooth loss
  4. Also, smoking may interfere with healing period of any dental treatment
  5. Tobacco usage reduces the success rates of teeth implants
  6. Sweeteners present in the tobacco can also cause tooth decay

The effects of smoking on the tooth can be minimized by avoiding smoking altogether. Apart from that, following proper dental hygiene such regular brushing and flossing of the teeth will keep the teeth healthy. Avoiding smoking also reduces chances of lesion leukoplakia (white patches near teeth and gums).

Unfortunately, stopping tobacco use immediately or to quit smoking now, can also lead to several withdrawal symptoms, like agitation and restlessness, and therefore you would need the help of a psychiatrist who is an expert in de-addiction.

Love and Relationships

Love Sex Relationships

It often becomes exasperating and excruciating if we find ourselves feeling unloved frequently. This may lead to much confusion, especially with love and relationships, and possibly will lead to numerous fights or conflicts, resulting in both partners to feel worn out and bleak.

In spite of being aware that your partner does love you, and still feeling unloved, that’s when you should know that there are other major factors which are playing a role behind it. Not the least of which is sex.

The consequence of feeling unloved perpetually leads to inferior self-esteem. This can further result in you becoming clingy, not self-reliant, and other individuality traits which can propel any probable lover to become restless. Here are some ways which you can follow to rekindle your love life and relationships:

ALTERING YOUR PERCEPTION

The foremost thing that can help is changing perspective and looking at things in a diverse manner. Hunting for the positive side, retrieval of self-esteem, and being strong enough without seeking anyone’s validation can also help.

LISTENING PATIENTLY

Building a strong and mature relationship needs both verbal and non-verbal communication. In a relationship only speaking your heart out won’t help, listening and paying attention, while your partner speaks is also essential.

BEING STRAIGHTFORWARD

One should not lie and cheat on his or her partner in a relationship. Communicating whatever comes on mind and spilling it can hurt the other person’s feelings. In a relationship, both partners need to understand each other.

SPEAKING YOUR MIND OUT

Keeping secrets from each other while in a relationship can deteriorate situation. Disregarding one’s feelings, emotions and discussing the problem is a better idea than keeping things to oneself.

PAMPER YOURSELF

Try to take out some time for yourself giving your life and connection a profound thought and shape things out to make your relationship stronger. It will further boost your wish to explore intimacy. Loving yourself is also needed in place of thinking only about your partner’s happiness.

Why feel unloved in your relationship unnecessarily when you are actually loved?  Free yourself from this illusion by functioning at understanding, considering, and knowing your partner better!

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence

Adolescence

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Therefore, during teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behaviour of young people. Many mental illnesses have their onset in adolescence, including those that run a chronic course resulting in significant disability.

So what is so distinct about this age group? Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Therefore, during teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behaviour of young people. Adolescence is the period in life marking the transition from being a child to being an adult, and it overlaps with teenage. In other words, it is a phase where one gradually moves from being a dependant to becoming an independent person. This is the time when one’s personality starts to evolve. There is physical, social and intellectual development. This period is one of the busiest times of life; there is so much happening.

Imaging studies and brain development

Using structural and functional MRI scans in their research on adolescents, a team of scientists in London found that strangely the brain reduces in size by a tiny proportion, losing some nerve cells during the phase. It is reported that some connections between nerve cells are eliminated by discarding some neurons, while strengthening those connections is deemed important. The brain development that is correlated with hormone-related to puberty, usually occurs at the beginning of teenage for boys and just before teenage for girls. The scientists rightly argue that there is a biological reason for what happens during the adolescent period of life.

At this age they develop curiosity to explore and experiment. They have reduced communication with parents and start spending more time with friends in school and college. They come under peer influence easily. Scientists found that there is high risk-taking behaviour, especially if they perceive motivation by peers watching them closely. However, they seem to perform well when they are not being watched by peers. There is also an urge to perform an act to stand out or do something exciting. Because the front part of the brain is evolving, that creates inhibitions to certain kinds of behaviour. There will be mood swings, and decision-making is likely to be inconsistent.

Fear of peer rejection

It is common for young people to start spending excessive amounts of time with friends, more than with family members. Very few people prefer to remain aloof or alone during this period. Peers can influence ways of thinking, although thoughts are generated in their own mind. In fact, it is the individual who has to take responsibility for their own thoughts. If they feel they are having frequent and excessive intrusive thoughts, termed automatic thoughts, then they should seek advice without delay.

Being hypersensitive towards the reaction of peers is very common, but at the same time they can be hypersensitive in terms of emotional reactions towards family members. It is believed that the commonly occurring mood swings around this time can lead to conflicts about decision-making, hinder communication with family members as they easily misread the expression and body language of the family members.

Other reasons for low self esteem

Another reason for this is that their social development is still taking place and they are beginning to learn social interactions. Lots of activities occur as group activities and no one likes to be left out of a group. The person feels indirectly forced to accept an offer of alcohol or drug by peers, just to be part of a group, feeling that otherwise they will be isolated. There is the risk of using the substance weighed up against the risk of being isolated.

Individuals at teenage may become extremely anxious over the prospect of being rejected, and this could lead to using substances. Thus they become vulnerable to peer influence. On the positive side, peer influence motivates the person to attend college regularly and take part in physical activities such as sports or cultural activities. It can be difficult to pick and choose. Some peer group behaviours and activities can be highly unpredictable. Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Hence, during teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behaviour of young people.

Social development

There is a change in the social interaction patterns occurring due to changing roles. From being daughter or sibling, roles change to being a friend, college student, then employee. The individual is moving from dependency to independence during this time. The person is expected to take up new responsibilities. There will be direct or perceived family expectations that the person, after completing his or her education, could take up paid employment in the next few years. This could even create a conflict if goals that are set are not in line with expectations.

Impulse control and addiction

The urge to do an act develops through the stimulation of the limbic system, which is the area that deals with emotions, with the intention of seeking instant rewards. Therefore the acts that give instant fun to the individual through this process get reinforced. The person gets into the vicious circle of seeking immediate reward and performs acts. This can be one of the main reasons for behaviours such as smoking, and drug or alcohol use. Involvement in social media groups for prolonged lengths of time that affects daily functioning, academic performance and the ability to work towards their own goals needs early intervention.

Areas of the Brain involved

At this stage, the front region of the brain that is to do with inhibition of impulses, called the pre-frontal cortex, that is generally well-developed in humans, is slowly evolving, towards making a person’s mind mature. Teens also go with the trend of phone use, gadgets, social media use and clicking selfies. Several deaths have occurred during clicking of selfies due to risk-taking behaviour. Alcohol or drug use could persist through adulthood, and often such behaviour has its beginnings at this age.

Lots of Change

There are changes in so many dimensions, that the person may struggle to adapt if not given support. There is change in physical body structure in girls and boys. Girls start to have regular monthly periods. There are hormonal changes that can lead to changes in emotions and this in turn can affect thoughts. Sexual orientation develops and a few can have excessive sexual urges. Adaptations are required to cope with the new roles of the person. Career choices may need to be made. Generally they may feel under the influence of their parents and agree with them, but may later feel it was not their own choice. Some people may struggle in their careers and manage somehow, but it can trigger anxiety and depression in some.

Body image perception

In a survey, a majority of teens reported that they needed to maintain a certain body shape and size, being influenced by magazines. Media influences the image perception of self. An individual may develop a fear of gaining weight and appear obese, may become preoccupied by intrusive impulses, urges or thoughts, which take precedence over any other activity for them for weeks and months. These conditions are Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa, one concerning eating disorders that is commonly seen in a small percentage of girls. Again these may be due to the fear of being rejected by peers, or may even have been a result of bullying for being obese in the past.

Is It something else like an eating disorder?

Firstly, missing meals and significant reduction in quantity of food intake in order to lose weight are common. Sometimes, immediately after a round of binge-eating, to avoid the guilt, they induce vomiting to avoid gaining weight. However, these behaviours need early attention, so the deterioration to the extent of harm to physical health can be prevented. Even though, there may be significantly and morbidly low in weight or in body mass index, they still can get intrusive thoughts of feeling obese, or there is a part of their body seen in the mirror as fat. Consequently, this condition needs attention, and assessment by psychiatrists and suitable treatment must begin at the earliest.

Suicides and mental illness

Mental Illness and suicides are prevalent, and rising in this age group. As per Census in 2011, 30% of the population of India was between 10 and 24 years of age. The mental health care needs of the segment is increasing. Public health education and engaging teens are ways of early identification and prevention of breakdown, anxiety and depressive illness. Even if there is illness, with appropriate engagement and consultations with psychiatrists this can be treated.

Self-esteem and identity

At this age, individuals are searching their own identity — who they are and how they fit into the society. For some, they will not know what’s really going on with so many changes happening. They should try avoiding comparisons with their peers. They can start to set small achievable goals that they can achieve. With every small achievement, their self-esteem increases. Self-appreciation is something that needs to be emphasised in colleges. Because of low esteem they try seek attention, and they cannot cope with rejection by peers. They may slowly indulge in risk-taking behaviour, try drugs or alcohol or smoking. Patients need to be aware of the influence that their peers can have on them. Clients need to be able to weigh the pros and cons and learn to be assertive, and say “no” at times.

Coping mechanisms

Everyone tries to cope with stressful situations when face them and develop certain coping mechanisms. Mal-adaptive coping mechanisms include use of substances, self-harm, shouting, screaming, abusing or use of foul language. It is the time they need to learn adaptive coping mechanisms, which include sports, hobbies, ignoring, self-distraction, meditation, exercise, yoga and reading, and focus on higher achievement or charity work.

Cognitive behaviour therapy

Principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) involves examining one’s own thoughts, challenging own thoughts and slowly changing them to adaptive thoughts, by understanding their influence on emotions and their own behaviour. However, a negative thought brings about anger or sadness, which leads to a person becoming less sociable, whereas a positive thought would cheer up, leading to more socializing. Thus, understanding their own thought patterns and working on them by keeping a diary of their own thoughts, might help. Remember that Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy.

Mindfulness

Lots of countries are reportedly trying to help adolescents learn to practise mindfulness, which is learning to experience only the present moment. Indeed, this may generally work well if it is combined with a suitable meditation technique. Practising meditation regularly will give the individual good control over thoughts. 

Tackling peer pressure

Remain aware of the extent of the influence. Set your own goals and focus on your disciplined routine, including with regard to sleep hygiene. Learn to be assertive. Examine your own self-esteem level and work on them. Take time to make decisions as you may have mood swings that have interfered with your decision-making. Discuss with mentors or even with your sibling or mother. You should believe in your abilities. Moreover, fear of rejection or even rejection would not be the end of the world in reality. It is just an anxiety of becoming lonely as people do fear loneliness.

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is not the most easiest of things. However, lots of reasons for lots of things happening around adolescence exist. Society should focus on them. They are able to start learning as it is considered the best time to learn what can sustain for life. Educating teens regularly about their behaviours can be made a part of their curriculum. In conclusion, positive changes brought about can bring them on the right track that can make their future bright, thus creating great advantage to society.

How to Increase Sexual Energy for MEN

Sex Men Energy Kegel Exercises

How to Increase Sexual Energy for Men

What are Kegels?
Firstly, a Kegel is an exercise specifically designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.  This can help you improve erection angle, improve erection quality, give more intense orgasms, indirectly enlarge your penis, cure incontinence, and much more !!! Hence, this is on of the most important ways on how to Increase Sexual Energy for Men.

Kegel History:
Firstly, Kegels were invented by Dr. Arnold Kegel, an Obstetrician, in the 1940s. Although, developed for women, it became clear keels are also great for male sexual health !!!

Find your PC (pubococcygeus) muscle:
While urinating, contract your muscles so you either slow or stop the flow of urine.  Indeed, those are your pelvic floor muscles !!!

4 Simple Steps:
1. Contract
2. Hold
3. Release
4. Repeat

Multi-Orgasmic Men?
YES !  However, with strong pelvic floor muscles and practice, men CAN become multi-orgasmic !!!

Don’t just Kegel
In addition, combine your Kegel with other penis exercises like jells and stretches, to maximize your results !!!

TIP ~

Firstly, have your partner do Kegel too.  In fact, you’ll both enjoy a harder erection and a tighter vagina !!!

In addition, within the framework of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. However, UN agencies claim sexual and reproductive health includes physical, as well as psychological well-being vis-a-vis sexuality.

Therefore, reproductive health implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Therefore, one interpretation of this implies that men and women ought to be informed of and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of birth control.

Also, access to appropriate health care services of sexual, reproductive medicine and implementation of health education programs to stress the importance of women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth could provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.

Indeed, individuals do face inequalities in reproductive health services. However, inequalities vary based on socioeconomic status, education level, age, ethnicity, religion, and resources available in their environment.

Finally, it is possible for example, that low income individuals lack the resources for appropriate health services and the knowledge to know what is appropriate for maintaining reproductive health.

Tips to Prevent Migraine

Migraine

You can do a lot (tips) to prevent migraine headaches.

Migraines can be debilitating, annoying, and impact your quality of life — however there is much you can do to avoid them. From identifying what triggers your headaches to making proactive lifestyle changes, it’s possible to get better control and manage your migraine symptoms. Here are some tips to prevent migraine.

1. Be aware of your triggers.

Migraines do not impact everyone the same way and the events that trigger a migraine can vary significantly from person to person. While you will never be able to avoid all triggers, you will be in a better position if you know which triggers impact you. Common triggers include emotional stress, menstruation and other hormonal changes in women, skipping meals, weather changes, irregular sleep, strong odors, lights and other visual stimuli, sudden noises, smoke, exercise or overexertion, or sex.

2. Watch your diet.

Many patients are not aware that what you eat can significantly impact your migraine symptoms. Studies show as many as 50% of migraine sufferers have headaches triggered by a food item. While I find some patients know that migraines can be related to aspartame or monosodium glutamate, they are often surprised to learn that alcohol, caffeine, cheese, chocolate, and processed meats may also impact migraines. 

3. Keep a headache journal.

Keeping a headache journal can be a great tool to help you. Also, it not only identify triggers, but also figure out what treatments might work best. This is for preventing and relieving your headaches. Make sure to record the date, time, intensity, preceding symptoms, triggers, medication, and response to medication. You may also want to record how frequently headaches are occurring. Other associated symptoms, where the pain is located, and a description of the pain (e.g. throbbing or piercing). In addition, Consider tracking food intake, any over-the-counter vitamins or supplements you are using. Also, what your sleep is like, and how much exercise you have been doing.

4. Consider a medicinal preventive treatment.

Indeed, I find many migraine patients suffer in silence. While there are no hard and fast rules or guidelines, I generally offer preventive therapy to patients. Especially, if they have more than four migraines in a month. Also, if they have significant headaches that last 12 or more hours or if the migraines are debilitating. There are a number of different medication options that will depend on your particular medical situation. Consult your psychiatrist to learn more about these options.

5. Look into alternative preventive treatments.

Feverfew, coenzyme Q10 and butterbur root are the most widely-studied alternative treatments for the prevention of migraines. Butterbur root is an herbal medicine that is marketed in the United States as a food supplement. In addition, several studies have shown that taking 150mg daily can prevent headaches. In a small study using an antioxidant called coenzyme Q10, a significant number of patients reduced migraines by more than half at a dose of 100 mg three times daily. Feverfew, an herbal plant-based remedy, has also had a number of trials but results on its efficacy are conflicting. Moreover, if you decide to implement an alternative treatment, talk with your doctor to make sure these products will not interfere with any other medical treatments. These products are not as widely studied and not as tightly regulated by the FDA.

6. Try over-the-counter medicines.

Mild headaches are often relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. For example, such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac or paracetamol. All medications can have side effects, so be sure to ask your doctor what OTC medicine is best for you. Thus, if a medication works for you, consider asking your doctor about a prescription product that combines it with caffeine. This is because the combination sometimes works better than the OTC medicine alone. While migraines can be hard to get rid of, treating at the first sign of headache will increase likelihood of relief. 

Migraine We Do Magic

Yes!!! That’s right.If you have migraine we do magic to relieve it  

Firstly, a migraine headache is characterized by a severe headache usually affecting one side of the head. In addition, there are other symptoms along with headaches like nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound. Nevertheless, some patients experience neurological phenomena like changes in vision, temporary loss of sensation and altered sensation, a phenomenon known as an aura (flashes of light, zigzag patterns, bright spots, tingling in the arms and the legs). A migraine headache can last for 2 to 3 days. Migraine ? We do magic!!

Symptoms

The symptoms depend on the stage of a migraine attack. The stages of a migraine attack can be: 

  1. Prodrome, Aura, Headache or attack, and Postdrome. 
  2. Prodrome: One to two days prior to the migraine attack, patient may experience; 
  • Mood swings. 
  • Cravings for food. 
  • Increased yawning. 
  • Stiff neck. 
  • Constipation and frequent thirst and urination. 

In case of an aura (during or before a migraine), there may be visual, motor, speech, and sensory illusions and disturbances such as, 

  • Loss of vision. 
  • A strange sensation of needles pricking an arm or a leg. 
  • One side of the body becomes weak and numb. 
  • There are visual illusions such as the appearance of flashes of light, zigzag patterns, bright spots. 
  • There is a problem in hearing and speaking. 
  • However, in some cases, there may be a hemiplegic migraine (the limb becomes weak). 
During a Migraine Attack (lasts for 4 to 72 hours), there may be 
  1. A throbbing pain on either one or both sides of the head 
  2. Blurred vision, light-headedness. 
  3. Nausea and vomiting 
  4. Sensitivity to light and sound 
  5. Sensitivity to touch and smell (though rare) 

Finally, in Post-drome (after a migraine), there can be 

  1. Mood swings. 
  2. A person may be sensitive to light and sound. 
  3. Dizziness and weakness 
  4. Confusion 
  5. Extreme fatigue 

Indeed, an amalgamation of environmental and genetic factors may be responsible for a migraine. Therefore, triggers varies for each patient: 

  1. Stress and extreme physical exertion 
  2. Obesity 
  3. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks and beverages 
  4. Salty and processed foods 
  5. Altered sleeping habits 
  6. Hormonal alterations in women (Constant fluctuation in the level of estrogen) 
  7. Oral contraceptives and certain vasodilators (nitroglycerin) 
  8. Preservatives like MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) and Aspartame (sweetener) 
  9. Sunshine, certain odors, travel, etc can trigger a migraine. 
Treatment and Prevention: 
  1. Medicines under supervision to abort an attack of a migraine and special drugs to stop attacks as well as to prevent a migraine from recurring, also known as maintenance therapy
  2. Finally, Lifestyle changes are helpful to decrease attacks: 
  • Avoid your trigger for a migraine. 
  • Follow regular sleep-wake cycle. 
  • Regular exercise, meditation. 
  • Avoidance of alcohol, caffeine-containing beverages. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions! Yes… Migraine We do Magic

Insomnia and Sleep Difficulties

Can it affect your Emotions?

Insomnia Sleep Difficulties

Firstly, there is a distinct relationship between sleeping disorders and your emotional health. In fact, both influence each other. However, insomnia and sleep difficulties, are common sleeping disorders, is generally caused due to stress and tension.

In fact, depression and anxiety also account for insomnia. Indeed, it has been proven by research. In fact, people who experience sleeplessness or cases of insomnia are at a higher risk of depression and similar psychiatric disorders.

In fact, insomnia and sleep difficulties are an important factor which cause depression, and many people affected by it commit suicide. However, researchers have found dysfunctional activity in the area of the brain where emotions are processed and regulated. In fact, among people with insomnia, their study explains the mechanism by which insomnia affects and influences emotions. In addition, in people, this leads to depression and other disorders.

The ways in which insomnia and sleep difficulties affect your emotions:

In fact, there is a clear difference in the brain activities of people with insomnia. However, this is when compared with normal people who get good sleep. In fact, there is usually a great difference between the activities of the amygdala. Indeed, these are neurons in the temporal lobe of the brain. Thus, the amygdala is very important in regulation and processing of emotions.

Signs and symptoms
  1. Insomnia disrupts the ability of the brain to process negative emotions.
  2. Nevertheless, insomnia causes neural change and problems with regulating emotions.
  3. Insomnia disables the ability of judging or sensing any kind of emotion by looking at the face of a person. However, it is difficult to judge emotions such as anger and sadness in people suffering from insomnia. This impairment occurs more in women.
  4. Insomnia and similar sleeping disorders affect our inhibition and disrupt our impulse control mechanism. An insomniac person is likely to develop increased impulsiveness to negative stimulus.
  5. People suffering from insomnia develop a perception towards negative stuff and perceive most things in a negative way. However, rather than looking at the bright side which a normal person tends to do. Insomniacs are characterises by a negative mood and are pessimism.
  6. A sleep deprived or insomniac patient shows greater activity around the limbic area of the brain. Emotional regulation and processing undertakes in the limbic area.
  7. A person suffering from insomnia develops a cranky personality. The patient is in an irritable mood. The slightest and pettiest of circumstances triggers him. However, insomnia characterizes other symptoms. Examples include, swinging moods, high temper and general fatigue, which result due to lack of sleep.

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder which directly affects a person’s emotions and the processing and regulation of emotions. There is a direct and important link between insomnia and emotional disorders.  Indeed, if you believe you have insomnia or sleep difficulties then it may be best to contact our psychiatrist. Click HERE for the best advice that we can offer for you.

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene

What is sleep hygiene? 

Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. 

Why is it important to practice good sleep hygiene? 

Obtaining healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health. It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life. Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from practicing good sleep habits. 

How can I improve my sleep hygiene? 

One of the most important sleep hygiene practices is to spend an appropriate amount of time asleep in bed, not too little or too excessive. Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. However, there are recommendations that can provide guidance on  how much sleep you need generally. Other good sleep hygiene practices include: 

LIMITING DAYTIME NAPS
  • Limiting daytime  naps to 30 minutes .  Napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep. However, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.  
AVOIDING STIMULANTS
  • Avoiding stimulants such as  caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.  And when it comes to alcohol, moderation is key 4. While alcohol is well-known to help you fall asleep faster, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night as the body begins to process the alcohol.    
EXERCISE
  • Exercising to promote good quality sleep.  As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality.  For the best night’s sleep, most people should avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime. However, the effect of intense nighttime exercise on sleep differs from person to person, so find out what works best for you.   
FOOD HABITS
  • Steering clear of  food that can be disruptive right before sleep.   Heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion for some people. When this occurs close to bedtime, it can lead to painful heartburn that disrupts sleep. 
THE SLEEP-WAKE CYCLE
  • Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light.  This is particularly important for individuals who may not venture outside frequently. Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle .
A BEDTIME ROUTINE
  • Establishing a regular relaxing bedtime routine. A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime. This could include taking warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches. When possible, try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before attempting to sleep.
SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
  • Making sure that the sleep environment is pleasant. Mattress and pillows should be comfortable. The bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees – for optimal sleep. Bright light from lamps, cell phone and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn those light off or adjust them when possible. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing.

What are signs of poor sleep hygiene?

Frequent sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness are the most telling signs of poor sleep hygiene. In addition, if you’re taking too long to fall asleep, you should consider evaluating your sleep routine and revising your bedtime habits. Just a few simple changes can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and night spent tossing and turning.

Contact your psychiatrist to find the right kind of therapy for YOU either counseling or medications or a combination or both for good sleep hygiene.

Natural Secrets for a Refreshing Sleep

Natural Secrets Refreshing Sleep
Natural Sleep Secrets Tailored to Your Nightly Needs

Natural Secrets for a refreshing sleep sounds elusive. Sound slumber results in increased energy and productivity, improved heart and immune system health, a better mood, even a longer life. And hey, you just feel so much better after a satisfying 8 hours of rest. But chances are, you’re not getting it. Sleep issues are epidemic among women today,

Plan.

Not surprisingly, women tend to get less sleep than men do overall. Even if you don’t have children, levels of sleep-promoting estrogen sink regularly during menstruation and then permanently in menopause. And symptoms related to both—cramps, headaches, hot flashes, and night sweats—also disrupt slumber.

But experts agree that these biological facts don’t mean that sleep deprivation has to be your destiny. Feeling tired should never be considered normal. Yet there are no stock sleep solutions, either: Finding out what works for you takes some trial and error, but it’s well worth it. Sleep is a basic biological necessity—just like eating—and it has an impact on every aspect of your health and your life. Here are the natural secrets for a refreshing sleep.

Try these 20 ideas to find the sleep formula that works best for you.
Set a Sleep Schedule

If you do only one thing to improve your sleep, this is it: Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady so you rest better. Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or going outside right after you wake up. 

Keep a Sleep Diary

To help you understand how your habits affect your rest, track your sleep every day for at least 2 weeks. Write down not only what’s obviously sleep related—what time you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you wake up during the night, how you feel in the morning—but also factors like what you ate close to bedtime and what exercise you got. Comparing your daily activities with your nightly sleep patterns can show you where you need to make changes.

Stop Smoking

Reason number 1,001: Nicotine is a stimulant, so it prevents you from falling asleep. Plus, many smokers experience withdrawal pangs at night. Smokers are 4 times more likely not to feel as well rested after a night’s sleep than nonsmokers, studies show, and smoking exacerbates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, which can also stop you from getting a good night’s rest. Don’t worry that quitting will keep you up nights too: That effect passes in about 3 nights.

Review Your Medications

Beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure) may cause insomnia; so can SSRIs (a class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Zoloft). And that’s just the beginning. Write down every drug and supplement you take, and have your doctor evaluate how they may be affecting your sleep.

Exercise, But Not Right Before Bedtime

Working out—especially cardio—improves the length and quality of your sleep. That said, 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for about 4 hours, inhibiting sleep. When your body begins to cool down, however, it signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, so then you’ll get drowsy.

Cut Caffeine After 2 p.m.

That means coffee, tea, and cola. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 8 hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it’ll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether.

Write Down Your Woes

“The number one sleep complaint I hear? ‘I can’t turn off my mind,'” – To quiet that wakeful worrying, every night jot down your top concerns—say, I have to call my insurer to dispute that denied claim, which will take forever, and how can I spend all that time on the phone when work is so busy? Then write down the steps you can take to solve the problem—I’m going to look up the numbers before breakfast, refuse to stay on hold for more than three minutes, and send e-mails tomorrow night if I can’t get through—or even I can’t do anything about this tonight, so I’ll worry about it tomorrow. Once your concerns are converted into some kind of action plan, you’ll rest easier. Are You Nice To You?

Take Time to Wind Down

“Sleep is not an on-off switch,”. “It’s more like slowly easing your foot off the gas.” Give your body time to transition from your active day to bedtime drowsiness by setting a timer for an hour before bed and divvying up the time as follows:

First 20 minutes: Prep for tomorrow (pack your bag, set out your clothes).

Next 20: Take care of personal hygiene (brush your teeth, moisturize your face).

Last 20: Relax in bed, reading with a small, low-wattage book light or practicing deep breathing.

Sip Milk, Not a Martini

A few hours after drinking, alcohol levels in your blood start to drop, which signals your body to wake up. It takes an average person about an hour to metabolize one drink, so if you have two glasses of wine with dinner, finish your last sip at least 2 hours before bed.

Snack on Cheese and Crackers

The ideal nighttime nosh combines carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan—studies show that both of these combos boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm. Enjoy your snack about an hour before bedtime so that the amino acids have time to reach your brain.

Some good choices:

  • One piece of whole grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or turkey
  • A banana with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
  • Whole grain cereal and fat-free milk
  • Fruit and low-fat yogurt
Listen to a Bedtime Story

Load a familiar audiobook on your iPod—one that you know well, so it doesn’t engage you but distracts your attention until you drift off to sleep. Relaxing music works well, too.

Stay Cool…

Experts usually recommend setting your bedroom thermostat between 65° and 75°F—a good guideline, but pay attention to how you actually feel under the covers. Slipping between cool sheets helps trigger a drop in your body temperature. That shift signals the body to produce melatonin, which induces sleep. That’s why it’s also a good idea to take a warm bath or hot shower before going to bed: Both temporarily raise your body temperature, after which it gradually lowers in the cooler air, cueing your body to feel sleepy. But for optimal rest, once you’ve settled in to bed, you shouldn’t feel cold or hot—but just right.

…Especially if You’re Menopausal

During menopause, 75 percent of women suffer from hot flashes, and just over 20% have night sweats or hot flashes that trouble their sleep. Consider turning on a fan or the AC to cool and circulate the air. Just go low gradually: Your body loses some ability to regulate its temperature during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so overchilling your environment—down to 60°F, for instance—will backfire.

Spray a Sleep-Inducing Scent

Certain smells, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you sleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.

Turn on the White Noise

Sound machines designed to help you sleep produce a low-level soothing noise. These can help you tune out barking dogs, the TV downstairs, or any other disturbances so you can fall asleep and stay asleep.

Eliminate Sneaky Light Sources

“Light is a powerful signal to your brain to be awake:. Even the glow from your laptop, iPad, smart phone, or any other electronics on your nightstand may pass through your closed eyelids and retinas into your hypothalamus—the part of your brain that controls sleep. This delays your brain’s release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Thus, the darker your room is, the more soundly you’ll sleep.

Consider Kicking Out Furry Bedmates

Cats can be active in the late-night and early morning hours, and dogs may scratch, sniff, and snore you awake. More than half of people who sleep with their pets say the animals disturb their slumber, according to a survey from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. 

Check Your Pillow Position

The perfect prop for your head will keep your spine and neck in a straight line to avoid tension or cramps that can prevent you from falling asleep. Ask your spouse to check the alignment of your head and neck when you’re in your starting sleep position. If your neck is flexed back or raised, get a pillow that lets you sleep in a better-aligned position. And if you’re a stomach sleeper, consider using either no pillow or a very flat one to help keep your neck and spine straight. 

Breathe Deeply

This technique helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, releases endorphins, and relaxes your body, priming you for sleep. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3, then exhale to a count of 5. Start with 8 repetitions; gradually increase to 15. To see if you’re doing it right, buy a bottle of children’s bubbles, breathe in through your belly, and blow through the wand. The smooth and steady breath that you use to blow a bubble successfully should be what you strive for when you’re trying to get to sleep.

Stay Put If You Wake Up

“The textbook advice is that if you can’t fall back asleep in fifteen minutes, get out of bed,”  “But I ask my patients, ‘How do you feel in bed?’ If they’re not fretting or anxious, I tell them to stay there, in the dark, and do some deep breathing or visualization.” But if lying in bed pushes your stress buttons, get up and do something quiet and relaxing (in dim light), such as gentle yoga or massaging your feet until you feel sleepy again.

Tips for a Magical Sleep

Tips Magical Sleep

Good sleep habits or good sleep hygiene, are mostly common sense. However life is very busy and we often don’t think about them. So, here are some tips for a magical sleep which may help.

Value your bedtime and have the same getting up time during the work week, regardless of sleep. The body has an internal clock and hormones that control sleepiness and wakefulness. This clock works best if there is a regular sleep routine. When you feel sleepy at bedtime try not to ignore this by staying up, as this is a window of opportunity for sleep. Some tips for a magical sleep.

Some tips:

Going to bed too early can also disturb your sleep. In the hour before going to bed, it is important that you have a relaxing sleep routine to allow you to wind down. This may include any form of “time out” compared with your day e.g. a warm bath, reading quietly or a warm milk drink.

Falling asleep on the couch during the evening reduces your sleep drive and makes it harder to fall asleep when you go to bed.

Caffeine needs to be avoided for at least four hours before going to bed. This includes colas, soft drinks, coffee and tea.

Smoking makes it difficult to go to sleep, so there should be no cigarettes before going to bed or during the night.

Alcohol might help you get to sleep in small amounts but may make it harder to stay asleep. Too much alcohol will make snoring and sleep apnoea worse as well. Stimulating activities should be avoided in the hour before bed.

Mealtime – Your body slows down at night, and eating too close to bedtime i.e. less than two hours, makes it difficult to sleep. Eating too late may impact your glucose metabolism.

Bed – A Place to look forward to – Your bed must be comfortable, warm and restful. Both the temperature of the room and having enough blankets is important – warm hands and feet are essential. Remove distractions from the bedroom e.g. television, computer, radio and telephone. Any clocks in the bedroom should be covered to avoid clock-watching. If possible, do not allow children and pets to disturb you.

Daytime – Exercise is good for sleep, but not just before going to bed. The best times are in the morning and before dinner. It is best to be outside in the early part of the day. Avoid lying in bed during the day.

Using the bedroom to study, watch television, make phone calls and read books makes it harder to sleep as the brain will no longer link the bed with sleep. The bedroom is for sleeping and intimacy only.

Some more tips:

Can’t Sleep, won’t sleep, what shall I do? – Sleep is not something you can force to happen. If you are not asleep within 20-30 minutes of going to bed, get up, go to another darkened room and sit quietly. Boredom can promote sleep!

Do not watch television, use a computer, eat, drink or do household chores. When you feel tired again go back to bed. This helps your mind link bed with sleep – not with being unhappy and not sleeping. Do not look at the clock. No matter what time it is you will have an emotional reaction.

REST IS GOOD – IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SLEEP

My brain won’t switch off – If you lie awake in bed at night and cannot switch off your thoughts, set aside a “worry time” during the evening. Use this time to think about the day’s event, make plans and possible solutions. Then acknowledge any thoughts and learn to “let them go”. Keep the hour before bed as your wind down time – develop a routine that prepares your body and mind for sleep. Listen to quiet music or do relaxation. Our thoughts continue all the time, so try to make them calmer by creating a favorite fantasy place or daydreaming of your favorite holiday spot. If other thoughts come in, consider them for a moment and then try to gently replace them with calm thoughts.

How much sleep do I need?

Most adults need seven to nine hours sleep each day. Younger people have different sleep needs. If you are a poorer sleeper it is important you learn to match time in bed with perceived sleep time to improve sleep quality. If you spend more time in bed, you will be telling your body that it is OK to drift in and out of sleep all night. Going to bed later at night may be the best thing to reduce your time lying awake in bed at night.

If you are taking short afternoon naps (10-20 minutes maximum) without any problems, then you might want to keep doing this. However, naps in the evening or dozing in front of the television can make it harder to get to sleep at night.

Your doctor and medications – If you are struggling with your sleep, seek advice from your doctor who may refer you to a sleep specialist or psychologist. Some medications make it easier to get to sleep but others will keep you awake. It is best to take them only when your doctor or pharmacist says so. Sleeping pills can be good when a specific event in your life is making it hard to sleep but they are only a short term fix. These are some tips for a magical sleep.

Always consult a psychiatrist if your problems interfere with daily normal functioning.

Tips for Better Sleep

Tips for better sleep.
Insomnia Sleep Disorders Problems Problem Disorder Difficulty
1. Exercise

Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to get your exercise about 6 to 8 hours before going to bed. Do not exercise within two hours of bedtime.

2. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol

Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas and some pain relievers. Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal.

Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep. Avoid all of these things at least 6 to 8 hours before sleeping if you want a good night’s sleep. Also, try to avoid eating any kind of large meal within two hours of bedtime.

3. Darken your bedroom — completely

Recent research has shown that a dark bedroom helps us to sleep better and completely every night. Studies have found that even small things – like the brightness of your watch or the LED of any other device in your bedroom, can reduce the overall quality of sleep.

4. Decrease blue light your Smartphone at night

Sunlight is the largest source of blue light. Blue light regulates our circadian rhythms, which tell us when to sleep, and boosts alertness. Blue light from sunlight can benefit sleep. One of the Tips for better sleep.
It is no secret that most of us have snuggled up with our Smartphone or digital tablet, or watched television from the comfort of our beds at some point. These habits that we have so quickly developed could be heavily contributing to our inability to sleep properly. Research has indicated that blue light emitted from digital devices could increase the risk of sleep complications.
Actually, it is unlikely that any of us will stop using our equipment in the evening, but there are steps we can take to reduce our risk:-

  • limit screen time
  • apply screen filters
  • use the night mode settings on your devices
  • download blue light-reducing apps
5. Sleep up to the sunlight.

If possible, get up with the sun in the morning, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body’s internal biological clock reset itself every day. Sleep experts advised people to contact one hour of morning sunlight for problems sleeping.

6. Don’t be a nighttime watchman

Sticking to a clock in your bedroom, either when you are asleep or when you wake up at midnight, the tension can really increase, making it harder to fall asleep. Keep your watch face away from yourself.
And if you wake up in the middle of the night and do not sleep in about 20 minutes, then get up and listen to a quiet, comfortable activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights down; Bright lighting can stimulate your inner clock. When your eyelids are fluttering and you’re ready to sleep, return to bed. One of the Tips for better sleep.

7. If you do not have sleep problems then meet doctor

If you have trouble sleeping at night after night, or if you feel tired the next day, then you may have a sleep problem and a doctor should look. Your primary care physician may be able to help you; If not, you might meet a sleep specialist in a nearby hospital nearby. Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively, so you can finally get a good night’s sleep that you need.

8. Go to Sleep when you’re tired

It is just frustrating to struggle to fall asleep. If you are not sleeping after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and relax, like reading or listening to music until you get tired enough to sleep.

For more read a related blog. And, do not forget to consult your psychiatrist.

Tips for better sleep.