Maria Konnikova explains why hitting the snooze button actually makes the wake-up process more difficult: http://nyr.kr/1buGCgH
“If you manage to drift off again, you are likely plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the worst point to be woken up—and the harder we feel it is for us to wake up, the worse we think we’ve slept.”
Exercise triggers the creation of highly excitable neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with memory, learning, and emotional responses. This speeds up overall brain function, but because of the new neurons’ excitability, it should also make the brain more susceptible to anxiety. Yet it doesn’t.
To find out why, the Princeton team split lab mice into two groups. One group had access to a running wheel (with the mice averaging an impressive 2.5 miles per night), and the other did not. After six weeks, the researchers intentionally freaked out all the mice by dunking them in cold water, then looked at their brains with an fMRI machine. Almost immediately, they noticed that the two groups reacted differently. The brain cells of the inactive mice became agitated and leaped into a frenzy, while those of the active mice did not. The reason: the active mice were able to produce and release more of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps sedate jumpy neurons.
The discovery … marked a breakthrough in understanding how exercise helps the brain regulate anxiety. In essence, exercise creates new, faster neurons, but it also reinforces the physiological mechanism that prevents those uppity brain cells from firing during times of stress.
Music decreases children’s perceived sense of pain, say [researchers]. The team conducted a clinical research trial of 42 children between the ages of 3 and 11 who came to the pediatric emergency department … and needed IVs. Some of the children listened to music while getting an IV, while others did not. Researchers measured the children’s distress, perceived pain levels and heart rates, as well as satisfaction levels of parents, and satisfaction levels of health-care providers who administered the IVs.
"We did find a difference in the children’s reported pain – the children in the music group had less pain immediately after the procedure," says [researcher] Lisa Hartling. “The finding is clinically important and it’s a simple intervention that can make a big difference. Playing music for kids during painful medical procedures would be an inexpensive and easy-to-use intervention in clinical settings."
—————- and this works for adults, too. at least it does for me! music (or another distraction) is how i’ve managed to make through hours and hours and hours of dental surgery.