Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By: Julia Keys

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been normalized and trivialized in society as a need for everything to be meticulously clean and organized when in reality it is a serious psychological disorder that can cause significant distress for those who have it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by a pattern of uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts, known as obsessions, which can only be remedied by certain behaviors, known as compulsions. People with OCD are commonly depicted as being ultra-neat or afraid of germs, which is true for some people, but the way OCD expresses itself is unique to the individual.

There are several common themes that psychologists have determined when treating patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. One common theme is contamination. This may take on the literal meaning in which an object or place can be perceived as dirty, but it can also mean that contact with a person, place, or object will cause great harm. Checking is another typical behavior. One may check if something is safe or turned off over and over again. Checking can also express itself in the need for constant verbal reassurance, so a person with OCD may ask the same question over and over. People with OCD may be worried that they will suddenly lose control and hurt themselves or someone else. In efforts to qualm these obsessions, one may avoid certain places or people or have plans set in place that could prevent them from acting out these thoughts.

Common obsessions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Common compulsions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

When reading these lists one might think that these behaviors are relatively typical, however people with OCD spend an excessive amount of time and effort thinking about obsessive thoughts and preforming rituals to control them. A person with OCD may feel brief relief after preforming a compulsion, but they do not feel pleasure from such acts. Obsessions and compulsions are very difficult to control and may result in significant problems in one’s daily life or relationships.

If you or someone you know is struggling OCD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-ocd/201107/the-many-flavors-ocd

Source for Picture:

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Loneliness

Loneliness

By Lauren Hernandez

            Have you been feeling lonely? Feeling alone, like you have nobody to turn to, depend on or trust, is a very common experience, even if you do have a social support group. Social isolation and loneliness can affect people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. One of the most common groups to face loneliness include teenagers and adolescents due to social media and because they are figuring themselves out and are trying to fit in. The elderly are another at risk group due to increased rates of isolation and death of close family and friends caused by aging. Physical limitations, social anxiety, or other emotional or social barriers may also prevent an individual from seeking relationships with others. Loneliness is considered to be a risk factor for an increase in stress, chronic inflammation, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as anxiety and depression. It has also been found that loneliness may increase drug use.

It is important to note that social media has been linked to the rise in feelings of loneliness especially among teens because these platforms create a false sense of connection. Rather than visiting a friend or speaking with someone in person, this communication has been digitized and allows for there to be limited physical interaction.

Loneliness creates feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders and it is important to seek help. If loneliness has been overwhelming for you, it may be time to seek professional help.

If you or someone you know is feeling lonely, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

 

Bullying: Impact of Bullying on Children’s Mental Health

Bullying: Impact of Bullying on Children’s Mental Health

By Lauren Hernandez

            National media has created a frenzy of coverage surrounding Wisconsin’s controversial ordinances which fine parents if their children are bullies in school. Some may disagree with this new policy; however, others believe this harsh measure will help to eliminate bullying among school children.

Bullying can be physical, emotional, or verbal, and is a pattern of harmful, humiliating behaviors directed towards people who seem vulnerable to the bully. Oftentimes bullying happens in school, but with the rise of technology, cyberbullying is also becoming a problem. Children who are victims of bullying are typically vulnerable to mistreatment because they may be smaller, weaker, younger, and fearful of the bully; however, this description is general and does not apply to everyone. Bullies use their power, whether that is physical strength, popularity, or intimidation to harm others. Bullies tend to demonstrate signs of aggression or hostility beginning around 2 years old. It has been found that bullies have mental health issues such as lack of emotional understanding, lack of prosocial behavior, and increased rates of hostility as well as insecurity. Additionally, bullies typically have difficult relationships with their parents, teachers, and peers.

Victims of bullying not only suffer from physical consequences, but being bullied negatively impacts their mental health and overall well-being.  These detrimental social and emotional abuses can foster the development of mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression.  Victims of bullying often experience feelings of low self-esteem, isolation and loneliness. Some children create somatic symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches and other complaints which might not be valid, in order to prevent attending school. Victims of bullying generally stop liking school because they associate it with the threat of a bully. Incidents of bullying should immediately be reported to a school official, parent, or other adult that can help the victim and resolve the situation.

It is important to recognize that in most cases both the bully and the victim are suffering from mental health issues and they would benefit from treatment by a school counselor, psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

If you or someone you know who may be suffering from bullying, depression, or anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bullying

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/resilience-bullying/201906/can-wisconsin-get-rid-bullies-fining-their-parents

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199509/big-bad-bully

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Anxiety: Why Do Negative Things Happen To Me?

Anxiety: The Locus of Control

By Lauren Hernandez

            It is easy to assign blame when something unfortunate happens in life. The locus of control is the perception an individual has regarding their sense of control in life. The way in which an individual perceives a negative event to happen is dependent upon their internal or external locus of control.

An internal locus of control is when an individual believes that the things that happen to them are a product of their own actions or mistakes. An individual with an external locus of control believes random occurrences, environmental factors, or other people are more responsible for events that occur in their life.

Studies have shown that people of high socioeconomic status typically demonstrate an internal locus of control due to their financial stability. Those of low socioeconomic background blame their environment and have an external locus of control. Children typically have an external locus of control because they lack maturity and control of their emotions. As we age, our locus of control develops internally because we are aware of the consequences of our actions. However, some adults continue to demonstrate the external locus of control and blame outside factors. This continuation of external locus of control into adulthood is thought to be caused by lack of maturity, and lack of guidance throughout childhood. It is possible that genetic factors may play a role in an individual’s locus of control in addition to their childhood experiences and their caregivers.

Studies have shown that individuals who have an internal locus of control are more successful in their personal, financial, and social lives compared to people with an external locus of control. An internal locus of control is typically associated with higher rates of health and happiness. An external locus of control may lead to anxiety, depression, and learned helplessness, causing a person distress or other mental health issues.

If you think you might have an external locus of control and believe that this perception is causing you distress or symptoms of depression and anxiety, it is important to reach out to a professional such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. A provider will help you to learn coping skills and how to handle difficult obstacles in life, as well as they will be able to treat your depression or anxiety in the process.

If you or someone you know who may be suffering from depression or anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/darwins-subterranean-world/201803/florida-teens-and-the-let-me-talk-the-manager-effect

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/locus-control

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/handy-hints-humans/201608/take-back-control-and-reach-the-stars

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-personal-renaissance/201404/how-much-control-do-you-have-in-your-life

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Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

By Crystal Tsui

At one point or another, we have all seen or engaged in passive aggressive behaviors, whether it’s giving the silent treatment, making subtle insults, or sending one of those “as per my last email” emails. We do this because we are suppressing our anger or frustration from someone or something. Fear and anger are controlled by a region in the brain called the amygdala. Passive aggressiveness stems from that basic emotion of anger.

Anger is neither good nor bad. It is a basic, spontaneous, neurophysiological part of human emotion. As children, we were often scolded or punished for expressing anger. For example, throwing a temper tantrum is considered unacceptable. So at a young age, we started to perceive anger as taboo. As a result, we learned to suppress our feelings and engage in an indirect expression of hostility through subtle acts.

Children are most likely to act in a passive aggressive manner. Nonetheless, children are the most susceptible to change. Teaching our children that anger is just like every other emotion and directing their anger towards a positive, productive activity will help the child grow into an adult knowing how to manage their emotions properly. Some positive activities may include writing, exercising, drawing, meditating, and listening to music. These activities provide a form of distraction that can alleviate one’s mood, by stimulating another part of the brain that is not associated with the amygdala.

However, adults act this way as well because it’s easier to be passive than to be assertive and emotionally open. When children are taught to suppress their anger and they mature into an adult, it’s harder for them to stand up for themselves and to confront their source of anger.

It is best to avoid raising your voice, lecturing, or knee-jerk consequences that can exacerbate the situation. If an individual is trying to express their anger through communication, it is best to listen instead of reprimanding them for being angry.

When someone is passive-aggressive towards you, fight the urge to mirror their behavior. Instead confront the behavior because when passive-aggressive behavior is confronted directly and assertively, the hidden anger is weakened. Assertive communication and being emotionally open, no matter how hard it is, is the most effective way to acknowledge and accept anger. This builds a foundation for lifelong emotional intelligence and strong, secure relationships.

If you or someone you know has difficulty managing their anger, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201712/the-angry-smile-responding-passive-aggressive-behavior

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201709/how-respond-effectively-young-persons-anger

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-passive-aggressive-behavior-2795481

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/pixar/images/7/7a/Io_Anger_standard2.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/2000?cb=20150425021210

Suicide Prevention: What Can You Do to Help?

Suicide Prevention: What Can You Do to Help?

By Lauren Hernandez

                If someone you care about has recently expressed suicidal thoughts or has told you they have attempted suicide, it is important to offer support to that person and to seek professional help. Suicide attempts are often triggered when a person cannot handle the certain stressors and do not have stable coping mechanisms to overcome these obstacles. People considering suicide typically struggle with other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as a variety of other conditions. If someone has shared their suicidal thoughts with you, provide them with close comfort by staying with them. Even if you are unsure of what to say, it is important for that person to know that they are not alone.

It is important to make a plan, that encourages at risk individuals to see a provider such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can offer professional help. If they are overwhelmed by their workload, perhaps try to ease their worries by offering to help them complete specific burdening tasks. It is important to offer them a way in which they can surround themselves with supportive people, perhaps invite them to a relaxing and judgement free space with a few friends. Additionally, help them to find ways in which they can practice self-care, healthy eating, exercise, and sleep, as well as listening to music and other activities that help to boost mood.

It is important to recognize that although you are trying to help a loved one to the best of your ability, the person struggling with suicidal thoughts needs professional care and therapy. There is only so much you can do to help and that is why reaching out to safety networks is essential. Other resources you should find in your area include mental health providers such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can work with the patient to create a plan and prescribe medication. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 to request immediate assistance and hospitalization to prevent self-harm or a possible suicide from happening. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24/7 confidential Lifeline which is available at any time for anyone in the United States to get support if you or a loved one is in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number is 1-800-273-8255. To find more information on how to help yourself or someone in crisis can be found on these websites:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/

https://afsp.org/find-support/my-loved-one-made-attempt/loved-one-made-attempt/.

If you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts please contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/

https://afsp.org/find-support/my-loved-one-made-attempt/loved-one-made-attempt/.

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Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

By Lauren Hernandez

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a disorder characterized by a pattern of disruptive, argumentative, and hostile behaviors towards authority figures. The condition is present within children and teenagers and is oftentimes difficult to diagnose primarily by a parent may believe their child is simply stubborn or overly emotional. However, if the child’s behavior is intentionally persistent with extremely negative, angry, or uncooperative attitudes, treatment options should be considered.

Oftentimes children with ODD are exposed to several risk factors such as poverty, family instability, trauma, a significant transition, a parent with a behavioral or mood disorder, and neglectful parents or parents who are punitive or overly strict. Additionally, if a child struggles to fit in at school with their peers, they may be at more risk towards engaging in ODD like behaviors because they feel as though nobody can relate to them. Children with ODD are likely to have coexisting disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, depression, or learning disorders.

Symptoms of ODD according to PsychologyToday:

  • Angry Irritable mood
    • Losing temper
    • Touchy or easily annoyed by others
    • Angry and resentful
  • Argumentative/ Defiant Behavior
    • Argues with authority figures or adults
    • Defies or refuses to comply with authority figures or rules
    • Deliberately annoys others
    • Blames others for their mistakes or unruly behavior
  • Vindictiveness
    • Spiteful or vindictive at least twice within the past six months

If your child or a child you know is engaging in these types of behaviors, it is important to seek treatment from a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. The typical method of treatment includes behavioral and family therapy, parental training, and medication. Treating ODD early helps to prevent the development of a more serious and urgent mental health disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ODD like behavior, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/201603/how-tell-if-your-child-has-oppositional-defiant-disorder

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/oppositional-defiant-disorder

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Postpartum OCD: More Common Than You Think

Postpartum OCD: More Common Than You Think

By Crystal Tsui

We’ve heard of postpartum blues or depression, but what about postpartum OCD? Postpartum OCD, or also known as PPOCD, is an anxiety disorder that is associated with have reoccurring disturbing thoughts or images. The thoughts and images revolve around common OCD obsessions, such as fear of contamination, fear of losing control, or a fixation on certain numbers/colors. In postpartum OCD, the most common obsessions are fear of harm and sexual obsessions. Both obsessions are caused by the distress about their child’s safety and ability to keep the child safe.

Postpartum OCD can happen to anyone, even to those who have never experienced OCD symptoms before. It most often affects people who are least likely to ever present harm to their children. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Excessively sterilizing or washing baby bottles
  • Isolating the baby to keep family members or others from “contaminating” the baby
  • Constantly checking on the baby
  • Having thoughts or images of harming the baby

You are not alone.

This is not an exhaustive list, but if you or someone you know is suffering from Postpartum OCD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

http://beyondocd.org/information-for-individuals/symptoms/postpartum-ocd-ppocd

https://www.intrusivethoughts.org/blog/what-is-postpartum-ocd/

https://media.self.com/photos/598b229643b42c7bf89bc168/4:3/w_728,c_limit/postpartum-ocd.jpg

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

By: Julia Keys

The child brain grows and makes connections at a rapid rate and is extremely emotionally sensitive. Unfortunately, children that experience some sort of major trauma such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, war, poverty, or unsafe living conditions can be greatly negatively impacted later on in life.

Children who have parents that are for some reason unwilling or unable to provide the love and care they need oftentimes blame themselves for the lack of parental attention. In response to this lack of care, children may start to act in ways in which they feel would help the parents love them more. As the child grows up, they can become detached from their own needs because they are so focused on the love they receive from others.

Another effect of childhood trauma is victimhood thinking. Although a child may have been helpless when they were raised, self-victimization does not help an adult in the long run because it robs them of the self-empowerment they need to change their lives in the ways they desire.

Children growing up in environments where anger is expressed violently may begin to learn that anger is dangerous and therefore should be avoided. However, suppressing emotional expression is unhealthy and can cause individuals to be passive aggressive, which is an ineffective way to communicate. The most damaging effect of childhood trauma can have on an adult is the development of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of childhood trauma, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/. 

Why Is Sleep So Important?

Why is Sleep So Important?

By: Lauren Hernandez

            Sleep is one of the most important lifestyle choices besides nutrition and exercise. In order to gain the benefits of sleep, one must complete the 5 stages of the sleep/ rest cycle that occurs at night. It is essential that you strive to sleep the appropriate amount of hours necessary to maintaining a healthy lifestyle- physically and mentally.

These are the nightly sleep recommendations per age:

  • Infants four to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children one to two years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours (including naps).
  • Children three to five years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children six to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours per 24 hours.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours

Lack of sleep causes negative mental and physical effects such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Likelihood of infections
  • Chronic diseases
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Increased chances of anxiety
  • Increased chances of depression
  • Forgetfulness

If you or someone you know has a sleep disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201606/how-much-sleep-is-required-optimal-health-age-matters

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-resilient-brain/201704/restorative-sleep-is-vital-brain-health

 

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