7 Keys to a Successful All-Nighter

Sleep is a wonderful thing. As we rest our eyes at the end of each day, our levels of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that increases throughout the day making us feel tired, decrease. Our memory enhances. Hormones that correspond to both sleepiness and appetite decrease, helping curb our calorie consumption thus enhancing our ability to maintain a healthy weight. Our stress level decreases. Sleeping well makes us less likely to be depressed and more likely to live a longer life. But as a student, sleep is the enemy. Imagine all that we could learn, all that we could do if only we didn’t have to give up some of each day to sleep! And so, we fight our need to catch some Z’s, and if the need arises and we are determined, we can pull what is notoriously known as an all-nighter. All-nighters aren’t just something you do. It takes preparation and careful planning to survive one and be able to face the coming day. As someone who has pulled more all-nighters than any person ever should, I’d like to share with you my best tips to help you with yours. 1. Cut-out Comfortable Clothes You may be tempted to throw on some baggy sweatpants and a loose shirt for studying all night, but you would be wrong. Those clothes scream, “It’s time to sleep!” And far too often...

These Guys Want to Explore Your Dreams. No Inception, They Promise.

What’s your routine when you wake up? For many (like me) it involves a furious rubbing of the eyes, 2-3 huge yawns, a series of exaggerated stretches straight out of The Exorcist,  and a slow, lumbering walk to the bathroom. But as you begin your day, there’s always that shadowy feeling that you’re forgetting something, and in fact, you are. Studies have shown that within 5 minutes of waking, half of your dream is forgotten; within 10 minutes, 90% is gone. So in those first few minutes in between the rolls, yawns, and stretches, we are losing an inordinate amount of data churning through our subconscious adventures. Well now, with the help of Hunter Lee Soik and his new app, Shadow, you can really begin to organize, track, and analyze what exactly is going on in that crazy head of yours. The app will use motion sensor technology to track your sleep patterns to create a smarter smart alarm, one where you can choose the best moment to wake up, maximizing dream recall and starting your day out right. You’ll then be able to record your dreams on the app via voice or text. Once the data is recorded in the app, you can decide how far to share it, and with more use, SHADOW visualizes your sleep and dream patterns, and identifies common themes.   For some extra REALLY COOL facts about Dreams: 1. Blind...

Now You Can Create Your Own Dreams

Recently, I’ve really hated my dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that I have pretty vivid dreams, as I know many people do not and for some reason it seems to be a point of envy for those people, but my dreams center around topics I try to avoid in waking life and so I’m not exactly thankful to my subconscious right now. But what is there was a way to improve not only the quality of sleep, but also improve your dreams? Ever want to become president? Travel in a submarine? Sumo-wrestle a kangaroo? No worries – now there might be a way! Kickstarter, a company devoted to “changing how millions of people around the world connect with art, design, and technology,” is backing the development of The Aurora Headband which can help improve both dream and sleep quality. During a typical-night’s sleep, an individual cycles between different stages of sleep which differ in the types of brain waves occurring during that time. An individual’s dreams usually occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, during which a person experiences rapid movement of the eyes and bodily paralysis. The Aurora Headband capitalizes on this stage of sleep, playing special lights and sounds during REM to help you become aware of your dreams and of the very fact that you are dreaming. The creators of the headband claim that...

How Cord Blood Banking Will Change Medicine

Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, Co-author of The Mommy MD Guides, discusses the limitless possibilities offered by cord blood banking. Regenerative medicine, in particular, is a field with vast potential for stem cell research now that cord blood banking is part of the curriculum for young...

5 First-Hand Survival Tips for First Year Anatomy

Not long ago, my friend Bruce* was a college graduate with fulfilled premed requirements and wavering confidence. After a year of rejections, he decided to seek the help of a friend with experience in medical school admissions. Her advice was simple, medical schools want to know if you have what it takes to maintain a balanced life while hauling academic butt full throttle for four years and beyond. For Bruce, that meant taking extra classes to prepare himself for the rigorous course of study that the first year of medical school requires. He got into Rush Medical College after applying a second time and feels strongly that one of the keys to his success as an M1 was taking Anatomy & Physiology in advance. Luckily for us, Bruce gamely agreed to answer a few questions I posed on what else helped him to ace what students often call the most difficult class of their medical career. Questions and my comments are in bold/italics. 1. What was the best study technique that you found for learning Anatomy? There is no single trick for learning anatomy – the key is studying it with different learning methods from every angle. Introductory anatomy (the kind you take as an undergrad) usually lacks cadaver dissection, so you’ll have to substitute with images, 3D models, and drawing. Also, when you are studying a particular feature...

The Many Definitions of Studying: None of Which Involve Studying

Once in med school, “I have to study” becomes the go-to excuse to get out of anything from that dreaded family reunion to doing your laundry (or practicing personal hygiene in general…). But let’s be real: Most of the time you are “studying” involves at least one of these...

The 4 Kinds Of New Year’s Resolutions, All Of Which Suck

Your New Year’s resolution is stupid and I hate it. Don’t take offense – I hate everyone’s New Year’s resolutions (including my own, which is to stop hating everything). Anyway, it’s not your fault: it’s impossible to make a good New Year’s resolution, unless you’re one of those people who can take a long look in the mirror and come up with a pearl of wisdom like, “Maybe I should stop doing so much Angel Dust.” There are essentially only four kinds of New Year’s resolutions and all of them are inherently terrible. They are shaped by two factors: practicality and desirability. Group #1: Impractical, Undesirable You don’t hear a lot of impractical, undesirable New Year’s resolutions, for obvious reasons. Then again, maybe we should try some of these out, as the other three clearly aren’t working either. Some examples of impractical and undesirable resolutions include: • This year, I will scream directly in the face of every person I encounter. • This year, I will gain a tremendous amount of weight and counter this weight gain by purchasing a series of increasingly smaller-sized coats. • This year, I will forget how to read (making medical school an increasingly difficult task). Group #2: Practical, Undesirable This is where the majority of resolutions foolishly fall. Let’s take running a marathon for example. Most people, with the proper mindset and dedication,...

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