Mental Illness in America

We’ve come a long way as far as cultural perception and stigma surrounding mental illness are concerned. As far back as ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, mental illness was viewed as divine punishment or unholy possession, and this perception continued on through the Middle Ages. In America, by the time the 18th century rolled around the perceptions had changed but the stigma had not. Although supernatural factors were no longer believed to be the common cause of mental illnesses, the lack of understanding and preconceived ideas about mental illnesses perpetuated the desire for the confinement of these individuals.

The first major move in the treatment of mental illness in America came from Dorothea Dix, an American teacher and author turned activist who sought to expose and change the horrific conditions of the mental institutions that existed throughout the nation. In the 1800s, the stipulations for institutionalization were vast and arbitrary. On top of the horrific terms on which people could be committed, the conditions in these places were shockingly terrible. One example of this occurred at Auburn Prison in 1821where the majority of 80 male patients in solitary confinement either broke down mentally or committed suicide. Dorothea saw the injustices these people faced — in her words, being kept “in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens! Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience!” —and pledged to help them the best she could.

Over a 40-year period, Dorothea was directly responsible for the United States government’s funding of 32 state psychiatric hospitals across the country. While her work did wonders for the advancement of people who are mentally ill, it also lead to mass institutionalization where any people seen as public nuisances or were viewed as dangerous were committed to these institutions.

The early 1900s offered some strides as well as some fallbacks. The use of electroshock therapy became widespread in the treatment of mental illness, often without the use of anesthesia. Patients were also subjected to frontal lobotomies and hydrotherapy where patients were submerged in or blasted with water as means of treatment. However, in the 1950s, new medications that could help stabilize unstable patients mixed with funding cuts to large, scandal-ridden state hospitals lead to deinstitutionalization which dramatically reduced the number of patients being held at these centers.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the series of Mental Illness in America.

Houseplants to Help You Breath Easily

The average adult American spends 8.8 hours a day working and 7.8 hours a night sleeping. That means that nearly 16 hours each day or two-thirds of our lives are split between only two spaces where we work, socialize, eat and drink, and most importantly, breathe. This means that any allergens, dust, pollen, and chemicals that wind up in the air of your home or workspace are being filtered through your lungs constantly during those hours. The levels of airborne pollutants can be anywhere from two to 100 times more concentrated than levels outdoors. Cleaning products,      even things that are fire retardant or waterproof can contain chemicals that are able to leech into the air and thus, into our bodies.

These airborne toxins and chemicals can lead to health problems like headaches, sinus pressure, nausea, difficulty breathing, and can even exacerbate existing medical conditions like asthma, respiratory conditions, and allergies. Fortunately, it’s easy for you to do your part to help keep the air you breathe cleaner and healthier; all you need are some potted plants!

Plant life converts CO2 into oxygen through photosynthesis, and it filters the air around it in the process. Keeping a few specific plants around your home and office can help remove chemicals and toxins. To help you breathe easier and healthier, here are a few houseplants to keep around that will help filter your air.

Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum

Bromeliad – Bromeliaceae

  • If you want a functional plant that doesn’t require too much maintenance and will also liven up the room, bromeliads are a good choice for you. They actively work to clean the air at night, and are hearty enough that they don’t require much water or sunlight to do so. Oh, and they’re incredibly vibrantly colored.

Aloe VeraAloe Vera

  • If you sunburn easily, chances are in the summer months you’ve eased the pain with some sort of aloe vera-based lotion. Aloe vera’s use dates back to 2100 BCE, and its mineral-and-vitamin-rich composition has kept it relevant ever since. It’s used in everything from lotions to cosmetics to even food (where the list of the plants’ benefits extends even further), and it also made NASA’s list of plants that help improve air quality. Like the spider plant, aloe vera also removes formaldehyde from the air.

Bamboo Palm – Dypsis lutescens

  • The third most effective at overall purification, the bamboo palm needs a bit more room than some of the others but will definitely make up for it with the benefits it provides. NASA found that bamboo is effective at not only removing formaldehyde but also benzene, a chemical found in gasoline and crude oil, and trichloroethylene, a chemical often found in solvents. As a bonus, it doesn’t require too much water and sunlight.

Aside from purifying the air, houseplants can provide your home or workspace with other benefits. Because plants undergo transpiration during which they emit water vapors, they can also work to help you control the levels of humidity in your room or home.

There are countless benefits to incorporating houseplants and greenery into your home, office, and life.

Foods That Keep You Fuller Longer

Let’s face it, one of the most difficult things to do while trying to lose weight is portion control. We’ve all been there. I mean, if you love food, cutting it back can be quite a task! Won’t it be awesome if there was a way to eat fewer calories and still not have to starve yourself to death? Well, I am here to tell you, there is! The best way to do this is to pick food items that are healthy, low in calories and still keep you full for a longer time. So, give your unhealthy snacks the boot and try these wholesome foods that will keep you fuller longer!

1. Eggs

Eggs, preferably organic, are arguably the best breakfast food. They have a great combination of protein and fat that satisfy hunger than almost any other breakfast food. Research has also shown that people eating eggs for breakfast take a longer time to feel hungry. Eggs can suppress the release of a hormone called Ghrelin which is an appetite-stimulating hormone telling the brain to eat. Many people try to avoid eggs because of the cholesterol. However, studies have shown that the cholesterol content in eggs is not the main culprit of causing high cholesterol levels. If you are still concerned, you can try eating egg whites that have no cholesterol whatsoever.

2. Legumes and beans

All kinds of beans, lentils, and chickpeas are full of lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. This combination can keep you full for a longer time. Research has shown that the combination of these three ingredients can help to stabilize the blood glucose level leading to the feeling of satiety for a longer time. As a bonus beans and legumes have a ton of fiber as well. And the fact that they taste so good is a huge plus too; don’t you think?

3. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt, or how I like to call it “Real Yogurt”, is a delicious way to cut down the calories and still staying full. It is packed with protein, calcium and has very few calories. The high protein content keeps you full longer. As a matter of fact, one six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has about 15-20 grams of protein. Protein makes you feel satisfied for a longer time and does not cause a spike in insulin levels either. The combined effect is you eat less and feel full longer! As not to offend other nationalities, Icelandic, Swiss, Blugarian and Indian yogurt are also outstanding.

4. Almonds and other nuts

It is no secret that nuts are good for you. They are packed with healthy fat that is good for the heart. They also have a lot of fiber, especially Almonds. The high fiber content of almonds keeps you full for a long time. So, instead of eating any processed snack, try a few almonds during your mid-day snack breaks. They are delicious, nutritious and keep you full longer. What else can you ask for, right?

5. Water

Yes, good old water, preferably filtered! Water has no calories at all and occupies a lot of space in your stomach. Apart from the obvious benefits of keeping yourself hydrated, water can also reduce your appetite. A study had shown that participants who drank just one glass of water before each meal, consumed up to 90 fewer calories per meal. So, raise your glasses, to H2O!

6. Avocadoes

Avocados are nature’s gift to humanity! They are rich in heart-healthy fats and did I say delicious! They also have a lots of fiber as well. The combination of monounsaturated fat and fiber make them ideal for keeping you fuller longer. Try and include Avocadoes in your meals. They go great in salads and sandwiches as well!

7. Apples

When they said, an apple a day keeps the doctor away; they were not exaggerating. Well, maybe a little bit! Nonetheless, apples are perfect for snacking in between your meals. They are rich in fiber and vitamins and of course delicious. If you feel a bit peckish during the day, grab an organic apple rather than a bag of chips from the vending machine!

How Common are Mental Health Problems?

Mental health problems in the U.S. are more common than you realize; every year over 42 million people in the U.S. suffer from some kind of mental illness such as bipolar disorder, depression or schizophrenia. Other types of mental illness are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders and personality disorders.

Additional mental health problems include stress response syndromes. Stress response syndromes happen when a person develops emotional or behavioral symptoms when faced with a stressful event or situation. Stress events that cause stress responses are a major illness, a natural disaster like a tornado, death of a loved one, divorce or marriage, or a major move overseas. Those who suffer from these dissociative disorders suffer with severe disturbances or changes in memory or identity.

Keep in mind; there are many things which can cause mental illness such as inherited traits. It probably is no surprise that mental illness is more common in those who have blood relatives who have a mental illness, and genes linking certain conditions are being described frequently. Another factor is exposure to environmental stressors before birth such as alcohol or drugs.  In utero exposure or circumstances can bring about epigenetic changes which will shape one’s life for better or for worse.  Imbalances in neurochemistry or brain chemistry are often biochemical reason or a cause of mental illness.

It’s no surprise, I’m sure especially to the younger generation which carries much school debt that stressful life situations include financial problems and can be an additive factor to one suffering from mental illness.  A childhood with abuse or neglect, and a limited social network can set the stage for mental illness.

There are several effective strategies that can be taken that reduce and in some cases reverse mental illness.  One of these pillars is psychotherapy.  Psychotherapy is when mental illness is treated by a trained mental health professional through counseling discussions. Psychotherapy delves into a person’s feelings, thoughts and behaviors to begin heal or improve a person’s well-being. Medication is also prescribed for some mental illness conditions. Case management is another way to treat mental illness and coordinates services for a person with the help of a case manager which can be likened to a “project manager”.  Hospitalization may be necessary for certain patients given circumstances.  Group therapy through support groups, or peer support also may be beneficial in numerous cases.

Other treatments that you can do for yourself, include treating yourself with respect and kindness, not being overly critical of yourself, making time for hobbies or other relaxation strategies.  Even small things like finding time to read a book or do a crossword puzzle. It can not be emphasized enough how important it is to eat nutritious food, exercise, get enough sleep, and to be surrounded by positive or nurturing people; those who are family-oriented and those who support you with your way of life.  Giving back by volunteering to help others, being mindful and learning how to deal with stress through journal writing or simply looking for the humor in life. Taking a moment to be grateful or just going outside for awhile and appreciating what you see; all are activities that can help treat and prevent certain mental health problems.

To conclude, mental health problems in the U.S. are more common than you realize; however, there are many effective treatment strategies which can mitigate mental illness or ideally prevent.

Be Kind To Your GI tract: Understanding Prebiotics VS. Probiotics

You’ve seen them at the drugstore. Boxes and boxes of probiotics that make claims about helping all manner of the stomach, gastrointestinal issues from supporting digestive immunity to straightening out digestive issues. It’s all a bit confusing, but this discussion offers a primer on both:

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics naturally live in some foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, Kimchi, pickles and other dairy products, but they can also be prescribed or purchased in a pill form. People are often advised to take them to combat the gastrointestinal side effects of some medications such antibiotics. Some people also opt to take them as a daily supplement to replace the good bacteria in their digestive tracts that can disappear for a variety of reasons. Studies have shown that probiotics have the ability to combat some gastrointestinal disorders but must not forget about prebiotics, which also is very important.

What is a Prebiotic?

A prebiotic is classified as a specialized plant fiber that encourages the nourishment of good bacteria that is already in the digestive tract. While probiotics produce good bacteria back into the digestive system, probiotics are in a sense a fertilizer for the good bacteria that already resides there. Studies show that by using prebiotics to increase the good to bad ratio of bacteria has a positive effect on well-being including digestive function, brain function and more.

In short, here is a comparison of the two:

Probiotics:

  •      Control the growth of harmful strains of bacteria in the GI tract.
  •      Hundreds of available brands.
  •      Live in yogurt, fermented foods, and pills.
  •      Can be killed by stomach acid, heat, or time.
  •      Have been shown to induce remission of Ulcerative Colitis US when refractory to medication
  •      Reduce the frequency of diarrhea in patients with stable, active Crohn’s Disease (CD) however postoperative CD has not benefited

Prebiotics:

  •      A special form of non-digestible dietary fiber that helps grow the good bacteria in your GI tract.
  •      Comes in powder form or in some foods like bananas, oatmeal, asparagus, bran, psyllium husk, and more.
  •      Chicory Root has the highest density of prebiotics.
  •      Nourishes the good bacteria in the gut.
  •      Have been shown to be effective for some chronic GI disorders such as ulcerative colitis.

Can I use either one to replace medications for stomach disorders?

No, you should never stop taking any medication without consulting your doctor. Studies on both prebiotics and probiotics are very preliminary, but they may help alleviate some symptoms.

Can I take both probiotics and prebiotics?

Yes, it’s safe to take both at the same time, but it’s still advisable to speak to your doctor first before doing this.

Do things like soy and almond milk contain probiotics?

No, most of them do not contain probiotics.

When should I take prebiotics or probiotics?

Any time is a good time to try taking them to see if they make a difference to the functioning of your digestive system and support your general health.  Again, studies are still in the early stages, and our knowledge of the GI microflora is still in its infancy.  That being said, there is a large amount of anecdotal evidence from patients that say they do help tremendously, and anticipation of clinical data is eagerly anticipated.

Who should not take probiotics?

Immunocompromised or critically people should, for the most part, avoid probiotics. Please check with your doctor as each case is unique.


To learn more about how Houston Concierge Medicine & Wellness Center can develop personalized diagnostic and treatment plans using integrative medical care, call 713-333-6464 or schedule an appointment online.

Finding Care in Medical Deserts: How Dallas, TX Struggles to Offer Adequate Help

The quality of healthcare in Dallas, Texas, has been portrayed as a gulf for certain sections of the population, like racial and ethnic minority groups with respect to the quality of practical care services rendered, and hands-on care that can be expected. In a groundbreaking report by the Institute of Medicine Crossing the quality chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century the institute threw a gauntlet at all healthcare organizations to induce encompassing six prominent goals: safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and patient-centeredness. The essence of the proposal was to ensure equal administration of high quality care to all races and ethnicities, irrespective of any discretely private motive a patient might have for seeking medical attention.

Over time, studies of inequalities in admittance, usage, and consequences of health care in Dallas has looked for and continue to critically scrutinize situations that raise questions about moral, ethical, and economic concerns. These often translate to gross injustice that must be addressed if the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine can come to fruition. Based on significant variations in care according to age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, aberrations have been noted in the Dallas system that decries expectations of “best care” for all and sundry. An important aspect to eliminating health care injustices, appropriately directed at tackling equity issues, by highlighting specific objectives targeted at eliminating identified injustices that seek to arrive at a culturally astute health care system, must establish a communally advantageous relationship between healthcare providers and the community. Essential mechanisms for arriving at such a relationship must comprise a strengthening of the patient, primary care provider relationships that mitigate kinks within the healthcare system and enhance patient accessibility to care. This will also assist the development of relationships with pertinent local community leaders/lay health advisors, advocates, and organizations.

In a study conducted by Dallas News at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Memorial Hospital, two iconic medical care providers of Dallas metropolis. The paper discovered at Parkland, decades of elusive entanglements that resulted in serious, and endless harm to an average of two patients per day; according to the hospital’s own admission statement. Records and testimonials from both hospitals, following referral to Federal inquiries, revealed instances of malpractices among loosely supervised residents, as well as, Medicare billing fraud supportive of the Dallas News findings. The paper has posted its archived findings, along with other investigative writings at its blog “DMN Investigates”. Which is accessible at www.dallasnews.com/medinvestigation. The findings are truly informative, exposing a whole lot of shortcomings, particularly, as applies to the Dallas Medical Care system. Procurement of the true information that went into the compilation of the reports proved very challenging as the hospitals refused to share the data on patient outcomes. However, the News channel resolved to ingenious reporting strategies backed by the implementation of the “open record law” and the like, to procure the data for the compilation of the studies.

The reporting uncovered several malpractices with the Medical Care industry and drew the attention of the Department of Healthcare and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General. The investigative story exposed that generally, the Medical Care industry do not like to have open discussions, despite the notable grandness of their practice on human toll, grounded on their intense commitment to preserving what is described as “the privilege of self-regulation”, a concentrated defense against the exposition of shortcomings within the industry. Continuous studies by the newspaper, show that although no one takes delight in needless harm to patients, everything depends on the provision of an indiscriminate patient-centered care. Which will require in part, abandoning a reliance on cheap labor provided by residents, believed to offer new doctors the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Measures to add resident supervision is being emphasized. A replacement of several key officials within the medical system is being implemented. Despite great achievements made because of studies of elusive behavior and malpractices, there is so much at stake with several valuable lives to protect. There is, therefore, still plenty of room for improvement within the Dallas Medical Care system. There exists some evidence that community health workers who play multiple roles in the healthcare system, and act as links between patients and providers, as well as, contributing to the management of patient aftercare can impact the quality of care and help reduce the cost of healthcare. Promotion of sustainable healthcare, disease prevention together with a quality healthcare is only attainable through a delicate balance of “compeers” that eradicates injustices in the healthcare system.

The Link Between Obesity And Cancer

In a world where processed foods, sugar-laden desserts, and the high-fat fast food is easily and readily available, it’s no wonder that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., as in some other countries. Obesity is a struggle for many people, and now there is, even more, reason for alarm as the scientific community has discovered a link between obesity and certain types of cancers. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, about 20% of cancers diagnosed in the United States are in some way related to obesity, poor nutrition or physical inactivity, meaning that they are largely preventable.

abdominal-obesity

Being overweight has been clearly linked to an increased risk for the following types of cancers:

  • Kidney cancer.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Colon and rectal cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Esophageal cancer.
  • Endometrial cancer.

Studies are still being conducted to see if there is a direct link between obesity and an increased risk for other cancers such as liver, cervical, prostate, and other types of cancer. Science has also shown that having an excess amount of belly fat increases the risk of getting colon or rectal cancer, in addition to other types of cancer. Although the connection between excess body weight and increased cancer risks are quite complex and not entirely understood yet, it is believed that excess weight on a person’s body can affect cancer risk by:

  • Hindering the immune system function and increasing inflammation.
  • Increasing certain levels of hormones.
  • Affecting factors that affect cell growth.
  • Affecting how the body uses certain hormones.

weight-loss

So what can you do to decrease your cancer risk? Although the research on weight loss and its effect on cancer risks is still in its infancy, overall health risks associated with obesity are certainly well-documented, so it’s beneficial from multiple standpoints to try to eliminate obesity. Here are some things that might help aid in weight loss:

 

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace.
  • Increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Cut down on foods that are high in sugar and fat.
  • Consume healthy oils like olive oil instead of animal-based oils.
  • Work with a trained diet or nutritionist who can help create a diet and exercise plan that might work best for your lifestyle and body type.

To learn more about how Houston Concierge Medicine & Wellness Center can develop personalized diagnostic and treatment plans using integrative medical care, call 713-333-6464 or schedule an appointment online.

Six Superfoods That Might Help Boost Your Brain Power

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy for your brain to get overstimulated, overwhelmed and overworked. If you need a bit of a brain boost, finding help may be as easy as making a trip to the supermarket. Recent studies have shown that eating certain superfoods have brain benefits like helping with memory, energy, and concentration. Here is a closer look at six superfoods that may help boost your brain power.


  1. Walnuts: Lots of nuts are healthy, but walnuts pack a special punch of energy thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids that they contain. In fact, they contain more of these fatty acids than any other nut. These essential fatty acids protect brain cells and help neurotransmitters function more effectively which can help with impaired cognition and memory. They also contain healing B6 vitamins and magnesium and fight inflammation and improve blood flow in the brain.
  2. Dark Chocolate: This sweet treat is more than an absolutely delicious dessert or snack. Dark chocolate is jam-packed with antioxidants which help with mental acuity and other functions that help protect the systems in your body. Dark chocolate also helps improve concentration and blood flow, so add a little of this sweet stuff to your daily dessert menu.
  3. Coffee: One of the mornings best companions and one of the most popular caffeinated drinks, coffee has been shown to improve mental clarity and its rich antioxidants help maintain good brain health. Some research even suggests that it may help treat depression, but the science is still not solid on this point yet. 
  4. Avocados: This creamy and delicious green fruit (that many mistake for a vegetable) is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet thanks to its high level of monounsaturated fats. With monounsaturated fat levels similar to those found in the olive, avocadoes help improve blood flow not only to the brain but to all of the vessels in the body while also helping to lower bad cholesterol levels.
  5. Lentils: These tasty seeds can be added to a soup, salad, or chili to make for a delicious, healthy addition to your meal. This legume is loaded with folate, a particular B vitamin that helps improve brain power. They also lower levels of amino acids that can impair brain functioning, so load up on some healthy lentils.
  6. Olive oil: Healthy not only for dietary purposes, olive oil is also a superfood that can give you super brain power. It’s a great source of monounsaturated fats, like the avocado, and has been proven to actually slow brain aging. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help combat brain fog, memory loss, and other conditions that are a result of chronic inflammation. Olive oil is also part of the Mediterranean diet which is widely considered one of the most healthy diets in the world.

To learn more about how Houston Concierge Medicine & Wellness Center can develop personalized diagnostic and treatment plans using integrative medical care, call 713-333-6464 or schedule an appointment online.

Struggle with Sleep Apnea: Three Exercises to Try

Sleep disorders are common in the modern age, and many struggle with sleep apnea, a condition where breathing stops and starts repeatedly as people sleep. People with sleep apnea are commonly recognized by a loud snoring and daytime fatigue. Luckily, there are a few exercises people can try to ease the symptoms of sleep apnea:

Throat exercises

One great exercise for sleep apnea victims is to chew gum (or practice chewing gum) for a few minutes. While performing this exercise, people should pay keen attention to make sure they are doing the exercise correctly:

  • Make sure molars touch. The molars should touch slightly and move apart a little on both sides.
  • Keep mouth closed. Lips should be touching throughout the whole exercise.
  • Make humming sounds. The throat opens better when making humming sounds while chewing.

Although an easy exercise, it can make the jaw a little sore. Slowly adding time to the fake chewing can make the transition less exhausting. People can also ease their mild to moderate sleep apnea by learning how to play the didgeridoo or practicing singing.

Tongue exercises

Most of the time when people with sleep apnea snore, the tongue collapses and blocks the airway. One way to remedy this is by sticking out the tongue and holding it place for a few moments. They should do this repeatedly shortly before bedtime.

People should also try to slide the tongue from the back of the teeth to the back of the mouth and hold it in place about ten times before bed. This will help strengthen the tongue and prevent its collapse while reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Yoga exercises

The breathing techniques associated with yoga are great ways to reduce stress and, in turn, improve sleep quality. A subgenre of yoga, Yoga Nidra, promotes sleep.

These breathing exercises help to increase lung capacity (which increases oxygen capacity) while helping the body to relax. Sleep apnea victims should perform these exercises in the evening before sleep.

Conclusion

Sleep apnea is a difficult sleep disorder to overcome. However, there are many exercises to make sleeping through the night more comfortable. Those who suffer from sleep apnea could also benefit from making some lifestyle changes. They should aim to exercise regularly, quit smoking, avoid drinking alcohol, and (possibly) lose weight. They should also stay on a regular sleep schedule and avoid ingesting caffeine around bedtime.

Sleep deprivation: Some unexpected consequences and how to avoid them

I talked in my previous blog about the importance of sleep and how to ensure you’re maximizing the utility of the time you spend sleep by setting regular bedtimes for yourself, reducing your blue-light intake close to bedtime, exercising regularly, and some other activities that will make certain you’re well rested. However, what are the consequences of not getting enough sleep? If all you risk is having to drink a little extra coffee, no worries, right?

As it turns out, there are some serious medical issues that could arise as a result of not getting enough sleep. Not only will your body suffer, but your cognitive capabilities and interpersonal skills will take a hit when you skimp on quality sleep. Here are some maladies you can avoid easily by sleeping regularly.

  • Bone health: In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, Xu et al discovered that rats subjected to sleep deprivation suffered a significant loss in bone density and an impaired ability to rebuild damaged bones. In order to prevent potentially irreversible osteoporosis or other bone conditions, get plenty of rest to let your body handle much-needed maintenance.
  • Leadership abilities: A 2016 study out of the University of Washington indicates that business dynamics suffer when participants lack sleep. Leaders lack charisma when they haven’t rested enough, and those following the leader fail to exhibit enthusiasm when they haven’t had enough sleep. For the sake of office dynamics and effective teamwork, all parties need to be well-rested.
  • Reduced empathy: The University of Calgary studied the effects of sleep deprivation on people’s capacity for emotional empathy. As was their hypothesis, sleep-deprived brains did not react nearly as strongly to stimuli that elicited an empathetic response from well-rested brains.
  • Snacking and weight-gain: While you’re asleep, your body secretes hormones that tell your brain that you’re full and don’t need to keep eating, but when you don’t sleep enough, the production of that hormone decreases, while the hormone that tells your brain that you’re hungry is produced more rapidly. This imbalance may make you feel “snacky” and lead to weight gain.
  • “Microsleeps” throughout the day: According to a study from the University of Pennsylvania, your body makes up for a lack of sleep by taking tiny “microsleeps” throughout the day. These can last for up to 30 seconds at a time, and though your eyes may remain open, most of your other senses, particularly sight and hearing, are severely impaired if not completely turned off. Especially if you’re driving while sleep deprived, this can be extremely dangerous.