Archive for July, 2012

Retail Therapy

It’s not exactly an intelligence test, but can you find the link: 1,200 pairs of shoes, wretched excess and political corruption and long-term self-directed psychotherapy. A clue: It’s not Imelda Marcos (although few of our readers would recognize or remember the name of the wife of the one-time Philippine dictator).


The answer: “Retail therapy.”


Imelda, of course, was so famous for her shoe collection – found in the presidential palace and other sites around Manila after her husband’s overthrow – that she became a supermodel for wretched excess and political corruption. But, if the wives of infamous dictators like Marcos and Syria’s Assad are notorious for their lavish spending, it may be that they’re simply saving on psychiatric bills. Hey, nobody ever said it’s easy being the wife of a murderous dictator and, a woman’s got to save a little spending money somewhere. After all, consumers often shop to cope with stressful situations.


However, researchers Soo Kim and Derek D. Rucker of the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) now report that consumers are much more selective when it comes to shopping as a way of coping with future challenges.


While it’s been well-established that “retail therapy” is a common (sometimes expensive) coping mechanism after stressful experiences challenge an individual’s self-image – they shop to “forget about it” and distract themselves, the researchers found that consumers also shop when facing potential future challenges to their self-image. They practice retail therapy proactively and to protect themselves against potential challenges.


However, the researchers found proactive consumers are very selective in choosing only products that are specific to the potentially negative situation. For example, buying “smart water” before a math test or the Law School Admissions Test or that “absolutely perfect outfit” for a class reunion with once very judgmental classmates – guarding themselves against others’ perceptions of being a failure at some level.


“Prior to receiving any negative feedback, consumers select products that are specifically associated with bolstering or guarding the part of the self that might come under attack,” the authors conclude in “Bracing for the Psychological Storm: Proactive versus Reactive Compensatory Consumption” in the December 2012 edition of the . Journal of Consumer Research. “After receiving negative feedback, consumers seem to increase their consumption more generally as consumption may serve as a means to distract them from the negative feedback.”

Stress  is still another area in which the Brain Training Centers of Florida help individuals by using brain wave optimization.  For further information, please call (305) 412-5050.



Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.


Posted in: Brain Training, Brain Wave Optimization, Stress

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Of Interest to Everyone

Drug and alcohol addictions have long been called “Suicide on the slow.” Now, there’s a new member of the suicide class: Suicide by sugar.


Orlando Sentinel writer Mami Jameson provides a valuable insight:


A slightly expanded version, based on Jameson’s work, can be found in The Chicago Tribune:

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Reasons not to Skimp on Sleep

Sleep. It’s so easy. Just turn out the light and put your head on the pillow. Nothing to it!
If it’s really that easy for you, count your blessings instead of sheep. In sleep deprived America, you’re truly fortunate.
In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 35 percent of adults regularly clock (you’ll pardon the pun) fewer than seven hours per night and 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea that affect their daily functioning and may negatively affect health.
To mark National Sleep Awareness Week in March, U.S. New & World Report writers Sarah Baldauf and Angela Haupt updated an earlier article – “13 Reasons Not to Skimp on Sleep.”
The highlights:
1. Insufficient sleep appears to throw appetite suppressing hormones out-of-wack and people who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are at greater risk of being obese.
2. Individuals – especially women – with obstructive sleep apnea or other severely disordered breathing while asleep tend to consume a diet high in cholesterol, protein, total fat and total saturated fat.
3. Individuals regularly getting five or fewer or six or fewer hours of sleep a night were 2.5 and 1.7 times respectively more likely to be diabetic.
4. Too little sleep appears to promote calcium buildup in the heart arteries – a critical factor in heart attacks and strokes.
5. Sleep apnea has been associated with chronically elevated daytime blood pressure.
6. Nearly 20 percent of serious automobile accidents involve a sleepy driver and you don’t want to know the percentage of airline pilots, train operators and truck drivers who admit they’ve made a serious error due to lack of sleep, but we’ll tell you it’s 20, 18 and 14 percent respectively.
7. If you have an elderly parent whose sleep schedules are way off, you already know that when they are drowsy, they are more prone to serious falls.
8. Sleep deprived adults regularly reported higher levels of depression, mental distress and alcohol use; high schoolers experience the same problems, and sleep-deprived middle schoolers report more symptoms of depression and lower self-esteem.
9. Perhaps there’s a reason why Miami is reportedly home for so many rude servers and others: they may be sleep-deprived; a 2011 study in the Academy of Management Journal reported that a lack of sleep increased deviant and unethical behaviors, making people ruder and more likely to respond inappropriately.
10. It’s been well-known to educators that sleep promotes learning and helps the brain commit new information to memory; individuals who sleep after learning a task do better on later tests. But, regularly getting less than six to eight hours of sleep a night can age your brain by four to seven years.
11. It may not be the “terrible twos.” In children sleep deprivation and disordered breathing during sleep may result in behavioral issues like attention deficit disorder.
12) “Vanity, thy opposite is sleep deprivation.” Let’s face it, when you’re sleep deprived you just don’t look your best. “ ‘Nough said.
13. Five or fewer hours of sleep per night can increase the risk of early death by as much as 15 years.
So…. “Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

13 Reasons Not to Skimp on Sleep
Too busy to go to bed? Having trouble getting quality sleep once you do? Your health may be at risk
March 5, 2012

It’s National Sleep Awareness Week. Before hitting snooze on this news, consider that scheduling a good night’s sleep could be one of the smartest health priorities you set. It’s not just daytime drowsiness you risk when shortchanging yourself on your seven to nine hours. (More than 35 percent of adults routinely clock less than seven hours per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.) Possible health consequences of getting too little or poor sleep can involve the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. In addition to letting life get in the way of good sleep, between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder—such as insomnia or sleep apnea—that affects daily functioning and impinges on health. Here’s a look at the research:
1) Less may mean more. Among people who sleep under seven hours a night, the fewer zzzz’s they get, the more obese they tend to be, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report. This may relate to the discovery that insufficient sleep appears to tip hunger hormones out of whack. Leptin, which suppresses appetite, is lowered; ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, gets a boost.
) You’re more apt to make bad food choices. A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that people with obstructive sleep apnea or other severely disordered breathing while asleep ate a diet higher in cholesterol, protein, total fat, and total saturated fat. Women were especially affected.
3) Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, its precursor, may become more likely. A 2005 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people getting five or fewer hours of sleep each night were 2.5 times more likely to be diabetic, those getting six hours or fewer were 1.7 times more likely.
4) The ticker is put at risk. A 2003 study found that heart attacks were 45 percent more likely in women who slept five or fewer hours per night than in those who got more. And a 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that too little sleep promotes calcium buildup in the heart arteries, leading to the plaques that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
5) Blood pressure may increase. Obstructive sleep apnea, for example, has been associated with chronically elevated daytime blood pressure, and the more severe the disorder, the more significant the hypertension, suggests the 2006 IOM report. Obesity plays a role in both disorders, so losing weight can ease associated health risks.
6) Auto accidents rise. As stated in a 2007 report in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly 20 percent of serious car crash injuries involve a sleepy driver—and that’s independent of alcohol use. Sleepiness affects professional drivers, too. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2012 Sleep in America poll, released Saturday, found that 20 percent of airline pilots admit they’ve made a serious error due to lack of sleep, compared with 18 percent of train operators and 14 percent of truck drivers.
7) Balance is off. Older folks who have trouble getting to sleep, who wake up at night, or are drowsy during the day could be 2 to 4.5 times more likely to sustain a fall, found a 2007 study in the Journal of Gerontology.
8) You may be more prone to depression. Adults who chronically operate on fumes report more mental distress, depression, and alcohol use. Adolescents suffer, too: One survey of high school students found similarly high rates of these issues. Middle schoolers, too, report more symptoms of depression and lower self-esteem.
9) You won’t be as nice. In general, sleep loss is likely to negatively affect your mood, causing irritability, impatience, and an inability to concentrate. A 2011 study in the Academy of Management Journal found that a lack of sleep increased deviant and unethical behavior, making people more rude and more likely to respond inappropriately in situations.
10) Your smarts may suffer. Sleep promotes learning, according to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch. It helps the brain commit new information to memory, and researchers have found that people who sleep after learning a task do better on later tests. In 2011, University of London scientists said that getting less than six to eight hours of sleep a night can age your brain by four to seven years—increasing the speed of cognitive decline, and worsening vocabulary and reasoning abilities.

11) Kids may suffer more behavior problems. Research from a 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that children who are plagued by insomnia, short duration of sleeping, or disordered breathing with obesity, for example, are more likely to have behavioral issues like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
[See: Fight These 4 Causes of Aging]
12) You’ll look better. Beauty sleep is no myth: People are perceived as being less attractive and more unhealthy when they’re sleep-deprived than when they’re well-rested, according to research published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal. Swedish researchers photographed 23 volunteers on two occasions: Once, after getting eight hours of sleep, and again after being kept awake for 31 hours following five hours of sleep. None of the participants wore makeup and all were equally clean-shaven. More than 60 untrained observers rated the photos. Participants were judged to be 4 percent less attractive, 6 percent less healthy, and 19 percent more tired when they were sleep-deprived.
13) Death’s doorstep may be nearer. Those who get five hours or less per night have approximately 15 percent greater risk of dying—regardless of the cause—according to three large population-based studies published in the journals Sleep and the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Updated on 3/5/12: This story was originally published on Oct. 16, 2008. It has been updated.

This is just one of many areas the technicians at the Brain Training Centers of Florida are very successful in helping clients overcome, 7 days per week. For more information please call (305) 412-5050.

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Lack of Sleep – “A Perfect Storm”

It may be a “perfect storm” of mental and physical health plagues.

In three new studies, researchers at Penn State University have reported that obesity and depression are the two main culprits contributing to day-to-day excessive sleepiness and fatigue.

“The ‘epidemic’ of sleepiness parallels an ‘epidemic’ of obesity and psychosocial stress,” said Alexandros Vgontzas, MD, the principal investigator for three Penn State studies. “Weight loss, depression and sleep disorders should be our priorities in terms of preventing the medical complications and public safety hazards associated with this excessive sleepiness.”

The Penn State researchers, who presented their findings at the Boston Sleep 2012 conference in June, examined a random population of 1,741 adults and determined that obesity and emotional stress are the main culprits of the current national “epidemic” of sleepiness and fatigue. In addition, insufficient sleep and obstructive sleep apnea play a role and have been linked to hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, depression, diabetes, obesity and accidents.

Two-hundred and twenty-two of the 1,721 participants in the Penn State study initially reported excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and, for those whose EDS persisted at the time of follow-up – seven and a half years later – weight gain was the strongest predicting factor. “In fact, our results showed that in individuals who lost weight, excessive sleepiness improved,” Vgontzas reported.

In a second follow-up – seven and a half years later – researchers found that depression and obesity are the strongest risk factors for new-onset excessive sleepiness, a finding confirmed by a third study – this time of 103 research volunteers.

“The primary finding connecting our three studies are that depression and obesity are the main risk factors for both new-onset and persistent excessive sleepiness,” Vgontzas said.

The findings regarding EDS are important because it is linked to significant health risks and on-the-job accidents.

The bottom line: sleep disorders are just a “little problem.” Their accompanied by or cause a wide range of often life-threatening problems. If the persists beyond a difficult night or two, address them or risk being drowned in your own sleep-related “perfect storm.”

The Brain Training Centers of Florida are helping people improve their sleep without medication utilizing brain wave optimization seven days a week. Please contact us at 305-412-5050 with any questions.

Posted in: Brain Wave Optimization, Sleep Issues

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