12.12.16: Sleep Deprivation, Amazon Go, & How to be Bored

Dec 12, 2016

Someone suffering from a major depressive episode may have trouble getting out of bed - sleep too much during the day, and then suffer from insomnia at night. Today, an experimental, and counter-intuitive treatment for depression.

Plus, the benefits of being bored. Whether we're sitting quietly for a cup of coffee, or taking a walk without a destination, one author argues that setting aside time to do nothing can make us more creative, and teach us more about who we really are - she even has some handy tips for how foster a bit of boredom.

Listen to the full show. 

Sleep Deprivation to Ease Depression

Whether caring for an infant, or studying for a big test, most of us have pulled an all-nighter at some point - and while repetitive disruptions in sleep patterns can be bad for general health, staying up all night could actually help relieve symptoms of major depression. Researchers and clinicians are looking into how carefully planned sleep deprivation can be a way for patients to find relief when medication doesn't kick in quickly enough. 

Dr. Louisa Steinberg  is a resident physician and research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center where she works on studies searching for biomarkers and novel treatment protocols for depression.  

Related: Fighting Depression By Staying Awake

Dreaming of Sleep

Sleep patterns are key to remaining balanced mentally. But what happens when your job requires long hours - very long - and being separated from your family?

This story was produced by Todd Melby with support from Prairie Public and Localore.  

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Amazon Go

Online sales were even higher than projected on Cyber Monday 2016. Consumers racked up close to three and half billion dollars’ worth of stuff, all on their smartphones and computers. If only grocery shopping were that easy. Well, Amazon, the company that helped drive commerce online now aims to radically change how people buy groceries.

Amazon Go will track items put into a shopping cart and charge customers on the way out the door. No bottlenecks at the checkout. No bar code reading. Fewer grumpy customers. The concept is now being tested on employees in Seattle, with a planned rollout in 2017.  

Brad Stone is a journalist and author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

The Fight for the Peaceful Pill

In October, Roger Kligler sued the state of Massachusetts. It wasn't because he slipped and fell on the courthouse steps. Instead, if he wins, his lawsuit could authorize physician assisted suicide.  This piece originally aired as part of the WCAI series "Our Mortal Lives: Confronting Death and Dying". Zach Dyer has the story.   

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

How to be Bored

If you've got any vacation time coming up, here's an idea.  Turn off your smartphone. Unplug your iPad, hide the TV remotes, put aside your podcasts, and just try to sit. Eva Hoffman is a former New York Times reporter and editor, and author of many books - her latest is called How to be Bored.

It's part of the School of Life series, a collection of slim philosophy texts that tackle relevant questions of our time...like "how to think about exercise", "how to age", and "how to stay sane." How to be Bored argues for the benefits of boredom, and even offers some tips on how to cultivate it - which in today's digital world, takes more discipline that you might think.