A good night’s sleep is good for the brain
Sleep not only makes us alert and rested—it also keeps our brains healthy. One sleepless night is all it takes for effects similar to those sustained in a concussion to arise. Can sleep protect the brain from physical damage? That’s something scientists in Göteborg and Uppsala were wondering, and let 15 young, healthy and normal weight men spend two nights in a sleep laboratory. During one night the men had to stay awake, but the next night they slept eight hours. After the experiment tests were made to measure the amount of two proteins inside the brain’s nerve cells. The tests showed that the amount of the proteins was 20 percent higher when the men didn’t sleep compared to when they slept. ”We believe this mirrors some sort of damage,” says Henrik Zetterberg, professor and physician at the Sahlgrenska Academy. However, don’t fret over a single sleepless night here and there. "The study emphasizes the importance of sleep for our brain’s health, but a person should not lie awake at four in the morning wondering if his or her brain has begun to get damaged,” says Zetterberg.

Prevent seasonal depression
More tired than usual, in spite of that good night’s sleep? Feel like eating more carbs? Or perhaps you feel like giving up altogether and going into hibernation? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually in the winter. It used to be something people made fun of, but today it is accepted by experts. Baba Pendse is a psychiatrist at Lund University Hospital, and he says that 90-95 percent of Swedes experience SAD; and 10 percent of them have minor problems as a result. Another 2-3 percent have such serious problems with SAD that they need clinical treatment, such as drugs or light therapy. Pendse says it's serious "When it begins to affect your function, when you no longer have the energy to get out of bed in the morning, or when you go to bed right after you come back from work ... and when you isolate yourself and don’t feel like seeing anyone.” Most people can treat their SAD themselves. The best way to do it, according to Pendse, is to make sure you take that vacation trip during the darker time of the year. Go someplace sunny or go skiing. And if you can’t do that? ”Then you can take a walk when there’s light outside,” Pendse explains. ”Preferably in the morning. Exercising for half an hour or an hour three times a week, that’s enough to treat light problems.”