Sleep before you’re dead, not after

Scientists are sounding the alarm on a new public health crisis on the scale of obesity—sleep deprivation. Don’t hit snooze on these findings, because they suggest sleep loss may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, strokes, and anxiety. Check out this TED Ed video about a kid who didn’t sleep for 11 days if you’re not scared yet. You’re supposed to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, and according to the CDC over a third of Americans don’t. So yeah, the obesity comparison checks out. We don’t know a lot about sleep yet, even though we spend 33 years of our life in bed, so maybe this will serve as a wake-up call for research funding.

Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots

Thanks to LMFAO ft. Lil Jon for their lyrical prowess. While some shots are exciting (here’s a top 25), kids don’t have access to that kind, and their only real experience with them is going to some weird place where a strange person makes their arm hurt. So as expected, some kids experience intense medical anxiety when they have to receive them. If you’re a parent/guardian of a kid who experiences this, it can drive your own anxiety up, and it even causes 1 in 25 parents to postpone vaccine appointments. So if you need some tips to help your kid overcome their fears, we’d advise you to check out this roundup of age-appropriate solutions. The overlying message is to listen and acknowledge your kid’s fears—everyone likes knowing they’ll be okay (link warning: cute overload.)

Wild thoughts

Most people feel sleepy, grumpy, or dopey when they haven’t gotten enough hours of sleep. A new study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry puts forth a theory on why sometimes less sleep can also lead us to be more depression-y and anxious-y. Their research takes aim at a common symptom of those conditions known as repetitive negative thoughts (RNT), which is basically your mind being a jerk and not letting you stop thinking about bad things. Using eye-tracking technology, they showed volunteers positive, negative, and neutral images, and found that volunteers fixated on the negative images longer and more intensely than the neutral and positive ones. They blame a lack of cognitive resources caused by not enough sleep for their inability to filter negative thoughts.

4. Not spending enough time on the (psychiatrist’s) couch?

Sometimes what seems like a lot is still insufficient. That was the gist of at least one psychiatrist’s response to the finding that 17% of American adults take a psychotropic medication to cope with conditions like depression, anxiety and insomnia. Given the “rate of psychiatric disorders in adulthood being close to 25% of the population in any 12-month period” Dr. Victor Fornari hypothesizes there is still a proportion of the population going untreated. However, the study found most RXs were written by a primary care physician rather than a psychiatrist, indicating patients lost out on psychotherapy and other means to learn coping strategies for mood, thought and behavioral issues, which can lead to long-term use, dependence and adds to rising costs of healthcare.

5. Feed your head

What’s worse than having anxiety and depression? Having anxiety and depression about your cancer diagnosis and the potential for relapse. While the mushrooms your mother gives you may not do anything at all, two separate studies have shown that a single dose of magic mushrooms demonstrated “immediate, substantial, and sustained clinical benefits” with respect to anxiety and depression for about 80% of study participants with minimal side effects. Furthermore, these psychological benefits were immediate for most patients (unlike antidepressant meds that might take weeks to show benefit) and lasted longer than 6.5 months, the duration of the follow-up period. This is particularly good news because cancer-related psychological distress can be resistant to conventional therapy, and cancer treatments have been a gateway to recreational use…thanks, marijuana.