Using a Helpful Cognitive Tool During the Pandemic

The adjustments and changes we have made during the days of the pandemic have been a testimony to our collective ability to adapt and persist. We’ve been tested in deep ways from our disconnection from the greater community, to performing at a distance, roles so grounding to our sense of self. 

We’ve also had the structures that keep us in rhythm challenged and this imbalance has increased stress in unsuspecting ways. For this, we need to draw on one of our most meaningful psychological tools. Cognitive Override enables us to take the “high road” and align with values at times when we are tempted to resign to less motivated and sluggish states. It’s the force that enables us to rise instead of hitting the snooze five times or commit to a walk when the couch has us firmly in its grasp. 

Here are five important daily uses of Cognitive Override as we manage the pandemic: 

Natural Rhythms

When quarantining or working from home, it is easy to push the natural brackets of the day. Our wake-sleep cycle is vital to our energy and mood. When we stretch these boundaries and are over or under-slept, we can experience shifts in mood and motivation. Sometimes these shifts are subtle, and other times we can get way off course.

Commit to waking and retiring at set times. This is a time to cognitively override attractions or distractions and the rationalizations supporting the allure of staying up or sleeping in.  


It’s easy to brush off or postpone routines when each day has a similar “look” and tone. But just like our natural rhythms, we have motivational rhythms in getting things done, particularly the long list of “have-tos.” Overriding distractions and procrastinations to stick with routines brings a sense of reward on the

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Treating mild sleep apnea: Should you consider a CPAP device? – Harvard Health Blog

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder characterized by repeated episodes of partial or total upper airway obstruction that result in arousals from sleep, and changes in oxygen levels during sleep. OSA is one of the most common conditions I see as a sleep medicine specialist. This is not surprising, considering that OSA is estimated to affect about 20% of the general population, and is even more prevalent in patients who are obese, or who have heart or metabolic conditions like diabetes.

When untreated, OSA can negatively impact cardiac and metabolic health, quality of life, and result in excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, problems with thinking, and depression or anxiety. OSA impacts people of all ages, backgrounds, shapes, and sizes, and while both patients and doctors have become increasingly aware about OSA and its effects over recent years, about 80% of patients with OSA still go undiagnosed.

How is OSA diagnosed?

The severity of OSA is based on the number of respiratory sleep disruptions per hour of sleep during a sleep study, also called the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). Basically, the higher the AHI, the more severe the sleep apnea. Most population studies suggest that about 60% of people with OSA fall into the mild category. In general, many studies demonstrate a linear relationship between the AHI and adverse health outcomes, lending strong support for treatment of moderate and severe OSA, but with less clear-cut support for clinical and/or cost-effective benefits for treating mild OSA.

Scores for OSA don’t always correlate with symptoms

Regardless of the criteria for categorizing OSA as mild, moderate, or severe, the severity of disease does not always correlate with the extent of symptoms. In other words, some people with very mild disease (based on their AHI) can be extremely symptomatic, with excessive sleepiness or severe insomnia,

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