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Sleep in the Summer is Crucial!

As a therapist and university instructor I've receive good questions on the functional purpose of sleep, and have worked with people who have struggled with regulating their sleep. What is clearly evident is that there is really good research which shows that sleep, and receiving a 'good night sleep' is crucial to one's physical and mental health.

In regards to serious mental health matters. . .

I've had experience working as a therapist in the acute, locked, psychiatric units, namely Century City Hospital, North Hollywood Medical Center and Huntington Hospital in the San Fernando Valley, in these environments individuals were admitted to the hospital in involuntary and involuntary basis, due to an acute mental health episode, such as suicidal ideation and behaviors, threatening self and/or others, delusional and psychotic conditions (i.e. not eating for 3 days because "My roommates are trying to poison me".)

What I have observed in working in these environment is that sleep is connected to mental health and illness. In these acute settings patients reported significant sleep disturbances (hypersomnia and/or insomnia). What was so interesting was to witness the progression from illness to health and healing. . . first, some resistance, eventually, when the patient felt safe, they would become more open, relaxed to receive comfort, support and healing. Patients would be invited to participate in individual and group therapy, including art, music, dance therapy. Also, in good, well run units, the doctors, nurses and staff would enthusiastically support patient's rights in refusing treatment too (as long as it did not cause undue harm or suffering to self or others). What was one of the correlates in the change from dysfunctional behaviors to health and healing was SLEEP, and sleep regulation with the environment (sun up-sun down).

Good general practitioners will ask you about "Sleep Hygiene" during your yearly wellness check up.

So, take care as the summer approaches, and get those blackout curtains at IKEA, or a soft eye mask at New Seasons Market, and ear plugs at the local pharmacy to block the sunlight and sound (sensory signals which tell the body to 'stay awake"), so that you can 'kick-on' your sleep behaviors.

Take care and be well!

Bjorvatn, B., Fiske, E., & Pallesen, S. (2011). A self‐help book is better than sleep hygiene advice for insomnia: A randomized controlled comparative study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 52(6), 580-585.

Omnigraphics, Inc., Issuing Body. Sleep Information for Teens : Health Tips about Adolescent Sleep Requirements, Sleep Disorders, and the Effects of Sleep Deprivation including Facts about Why People Need Sleep, Sleep Patterns, Circadian Rhythms, Dreaming, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, and More. Second ed. Teen Health Series. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2018

Yang, C., Lin, S., Hsu, S., & Cheng, C. (2010). Maladaptive Sleep Hygiene Practices in Good Sleepers and Patients with Insomnia. Journal of Health Psychology, 15(1), 147-155.

Omnigraphics, Inc., issuing body. Detroit, MI : Omnigraphics 2018,

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