Are we the Animal of our own Mental Health?

Are we the Animal of our own Mental Health? Dr. Conor Hogan @drconorhogan When we wake in the morning there is a brief silence within us. C.S Lewis encapsulated this moment best when he wrote: “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back...”[1] In the Bible, the cock crows for the second time to signify the dawn of day [2]. Science is religion`s ally here when it states that roosters' crows are actually inspired by their testosterone. Due to male chickens’ light cycles, regulating their endogenous cycles stimulates them to crow [3]. Humans have a natural inbuilt clock named the circadian rhythm. Younger humans tend to need more night-time rest that more developed ones. Toddlers need at least 10, and even up to 14 hours sleep nightly. Despite napping during the day, it is important for them to sleep uninterrupted at night to keep with their natural circadian rhythm which keeps them from feeling sleepy during the day or even alert at night. When children reach about 18 months old their naptimes decrease to only once a day lasting about one to three hours in length [4]. Children’s cognitive learning in the morning is related to their quality of sleep, whereas, their ability to perform in the afternoon is linked with their level of tiredness [5]. Of course, during the light of the waking day, children of this age are overly fond of play. After all, playing is a natural form of learning for children so young. Being Able to play properly allows young children become prepared to learn reading and literacy [6]. Traditionally, reading allows a person to understand communication. The brain becomes more aware of new phonics and spellings and with this awareness come the knowledge of words. Words form sentences and, from reading, the attentiveness to grammar allows a person to format thoughts and sentences. In turn, opinions can be given a communicative articulation. Reading then feeds into writing which is another wing of communication. Clear and concise communication builds policies and laws. Reading and writing allow people to form personal opinions and to foster human connections [7]. In recent years, Nikolopoulou and Gialamas (2015) brought a modern twist to how young children use their waking day and encounter play with the potential for overall learning. They wrote how 190 early childhood teachers in Greece were given a comprehensive 28 item questionnaire. Within their research they discovered that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) had largely replaced traditional play for pre-schoolers. Present day children are interacting and becoming highly component users of mobile phones, digital videos, video game consoles, computers and communication-based devices even without being formally taught. From 101 research studies on video gaming the results found that, in the main, there is minimal increased aggression, academic performance, or symptoms of depression, yet the authors of this article did state that the psychological community ought to improve their research within this area [8]. Perhaps this study`s inference on there being a greater need for research in the area of mental health is the most vital conclusion from the overall research addressed, as a more recent study (only last year) pointed towards a wariness of technology for young people and their mental health. From a study of 151 adolescent participants it learned that excessive time on mobile technologies is associated with a greater risk of poor mental health as well as Attention and Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD) [9]. Charmaraman, Gladstone and Richer (2018) make it known that adolescents mental health, including feelings of social anxiety, alienation, eating issues, depressive episodes body dissatisfaction and potential exposures to sexual content, are maladaptive issues that are present for the regular use of technology for young people [9]. The great Irish writer, C.S Lewis, noted that our waking thoughts rush at us like wild animals so it is worth bearing in mind that children who go to sleep with digital screens being only recently left aside can have their circadian rhythm tricked into believing it is morning again. This can hamper their overall development and potentially thwart their opinions in the future [10]. Reading is a personal journey into a person`s mind and by intercepting the motivation to read that journey may become as vivid as the C.S Lewis' story of a land of talking animals and mythical creatures and a white witch all nestled within a 100 year dark winter. With an overall substitution of childhood play with technological activities this winter may become a reality within young minds and their thoughts and opinions may closely govern a real life world of Narnia once they reach adulthood. References: 1. Lewis, C.S. 2018; Available from: 2. Hub, B. Cock-Crowing. 2017; Available from: 3. American, S., What Time Does The Cock Crow? 2018. 4. Foundation, N.S., CHILDREN AND SLEEP. 2018. 5. Könen, T., J. Dirk, and F. Schmiedek, Cognitive benefits of last night's sleep: daily variations in children's sleep behavior are related to working memory fluctuations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2015. 56(2): p. 171-182. 6. 2011, Teaching and Learning Reading Through Play. Ali, A; Aziz, Z. and Majzub, R. 7. Molaro, C.a.H., G;, Is Reading Really That Important? 2014. 8. Ferguson, C.J., Do angry birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game influences on children’s and adolescents’ aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior, and academic performance. Perspectives on psychological science, 2015. 10(5): p. 646-666. 9. Charmaraman, L., T. Gladstone, and A. Richer, Positive and Negative Associations Between Adolescent Mental Health and Technology, in Technology and Adolescent Mental Health. 2018, Springer. p. 61-71. 10. MEDIA, F.E.G. AN EXPLORATION OF CIRCADIAN RHYTHM. 2016; Available from: