Weekly Newsletter

Why do we feel more pain at night?

As we face darker days ahead, explore why many symptoms flares at night, the upside to anger and why we often need to know how someone died.
Woman in red dress moving in red dress in the sunlight.

Each one of us carries a little darkness inside. Mentally and physically, the darkness can feel impossible to resist during the long night hours.

As the sun sets early in the weeks ahead, let’s embrace that darkness… a little. Here’s the latest on the upside of anger, why illness can affect sleep + how cognitive closure can provide relief after a death. Plus, updates on the black hole of our healthcare system. May this email bring you a little light—and a good night’s rest.

  • The Checkup: skin + shoes + soup + more
  • The Dark Side: anger + flares + death fears
  • Healthcare: doubt + debt

The Checkup

The upside of anger?

Surreal portrait of an anonymous burning man inside a dark smoke cloud during sunset near the ocean

A new study shows that humans perform best when angry!

Researchers tested + compared college-age participants who felt angry, neutral, sad or amused. Contrary to what we might expect, the angry students completed more puzzles, got higher video game scores + had faster reaction times while working on challenging tasks than any other group.

Prior research shows that anger is an emotion that often happens after we’ve been offended—and we know how to make the confused circumstance right again. Knowing how to process that anger through healthy communication can lead all involved to the best solution.

So, how do mental health professionals suggest we use anger to benefit our professional and personal relationships and goals?  Learn more at the New York Times.

Things that go ow in the night

Wide angle portrait of sitting woman in a dark bedroom with soft window light

A few weeks ago, we shared fall sleep tips + an article about why colds (and Covid-19) can start to feel worse just as we’re falling asleep. But people with chronic pain because of inflammatory conditions like sinus infections + allergies can also feel worse at night. And studies show that gout—a common form of arthritis—is 2.4 times more likely to cause excruciating pain at night than during the day.

A mix of factors can trigger nighttime flares.

Cortisol levels move with our circadian rhythm and drop at night. As stress suppresses the immune system, the drop in cortisol (the stress hormone) can unleash our immune system as a result. As it fights infections, it increases inflammation.

Dehydration can thicken mucus (for sinus issues) or raise uric acid levels (for gout). The sleep problems—or full-on sleep deprivation—can then make us feel worse during the day, too!

How can you ease painful inflammation for a better night’s sleep?  Learn more in this resource article.

Or start a $15 online consultation for prescription relief with Dr. B.

"How did they die?"

A beautiful plus size woman in her twenties stands in shadow in front of a sepia toned gauzy window curtain.

Our brain needs us to believe that we’ll die peacefully when we're older so that we don’t fixate on everything that could kill us right now. So when someone young(ish) dies, finding out how they passed protects us from that fear. (Psychologists call this cognitive closure.)

But not knowing can cause anxiety—especially if you grew up with the internet’s constant information stream. A general interest in a cause of death is healthy. But it becomes problematic if we fixate or impose ourselves on the bereaved.

How do we not become consumed by the need to know? Head to Head to HuffPost for more details and tips.

Healthcare 411

Health misinformation and lack of confidence in vaccines continue to grow… (CNN). Vaccine confidence has declined. The belief that vaccines cause autism, cancer + other illnesses has increased—despite no studies showing a link between vaccines and autism. Experts warn misinformation from uncredited sources is the cause, as those who use mainstream media sources have higher vaccine knowledge + trust in public health experts.

Patients don’t know how to navigate the US health system—and it’s costing them (Vox). Studies show that we often don’t know how to pick, use or challenge our health coverage. In the past year, 60% of Americans have had a problem using their insurance. 70% received an unaffordable medical bill. And one in three skipped care because of the cost. It’s a messy system Dr. B aims to ease. So come to us for $15 online treatment for 30+ common conditions. Here’s how Dr. B works for you.

As some medical debt disappears from Americans' credit reports, scores are rising (NPR). Major credit agencies have removed medical debt under a year old below $500 from credit reports. This lowered the percentage of adults with reported debt from 14% to 5% and increased average scores from 585 to 615, moving borrowers out of high subprime interest rates. In the future, the Biden Administration plans to remove all medical debt from credit scores.

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