The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Sleep. 9 Tips better sleep improve quality Update 05/2024

There may be something more serious going on if your sleep patterns have been disrupted for more than two weeks and are disrupting your everyday activities. There are several probable causes of sleep problems. Here’s what you can do to get a better night’s sleep if you have bipolar disorder.

How Bipolar Disorder Affects Sleep

Bipolar disorder can affect a person’s ability to sleep in many ways. It could, for example, lead to:

  • Insomnia is defined as an inability to sleep or to sleep long enough to feel rested (resulting in feeling tired the next day).
  • More often than not during moments of depression, bipolar illness patients are prone to hypersleep, rather than sleeplessness.
  • Sleep deprivation, unlike insomnia, does not cause a person to wake up the next day feeling groggy.
  • Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that can cause insomnia and daytime drowsiness.
  • Vivid or strange dreams may be caused by anomalies in rapid eye movement sleep. a problem with REM sleep
  • Unbalanced sleep-wake cycles as a result of an overly active nightly lifestyle.
  • It is possible that co-occurring substance addictions can aggravate the bipolar disorder.
  • Bipolar illness and sleep apnea are common co-occurring conditions that contribute to daytime sleepiness and impairment of concentration in as much as a third of those who suffer from this mental health condition.

When bipolar disorder’s highs are in full swing, you can go days without sleeping and not feel tired the next day (mania). About 75 percent of bipolar sufferers say that sleep difficulties are the best predictor of an upcoming manic episode. A lack of sleep or jet lag can trigger manic or hypomanic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. When sleep is scarce, persons with bipolar disorder may not miss it as much as other people. There are several health consequences of sleep deprivation, even if your body appears to be able to function well on so little sleep. For instance, you could:

  • Be susceptible to mood changes.
  • If you’re experiencing physical or mental discomfort or both, get immediate medical attention.
  • Have trouble concentrating or making decisions?
  • Possess a greater propensity to perish in an unfortunate event.

As you may already know, people with bipolar disorder frequently have difficulties sleeping. Even without a full-blown episode, bipolar disorder can still interfere with sleep. Is it conceivable that you’ve figured it out?

  • Anxiety levels have skyrocketed recently.
  • Anxiety over getting enough sleep at night
  • Sluggishness during the day.
  • the predilection for making irrational sleep assumptions

Get Better Sleep With Bipolar Disorder

In the event of a mental disorder, sleep deprivation can intensify symptoms. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss all the possible causes of your insomnia. Try keeping a sleep journal to see if it helps. There are a few things you’ll need:

  • How long does it take for you to fall asleep, on average?
  • During the night, how many times do you need to get out of bed?
  • A typical night’s sleep for an adult is somewhere between seven and nine hours.
  • When you consume drugs, booze, coffee, or nicotine,
  • When and how often do you exercise?

Some bipolar medications might cause sleep disturbances as a side effect. The body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, for example, maybe disrupted by them. You could also try adjusting your sleep and waking hours later in the day one step at a time until you reach your goal. Another way to cope with this issue is to use bright light treatment in the morning and the hormone melatonin at night, as well as avoiding bright light or overly stimulating activity before bedtime. It’s possible to work out in front of a television, phone, or computer screen. You may, of course, be advised by your doctor to switch to a different medication. There may be additional medications or medical conditions that are interfering with your sleep, such as migraines or a back injury. With the help of cognitive-behavioral treatment, it may be possible to return to a regular daily routine and sleep schedule. Taking the following actions can help you get some shut-eye:

  • At night, cut back on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you take.
  • In the bedroom, the temperature should be neither too hot nor too chilly, and it should be as silent as possible.
  • Use sleep aids such as fans, heaters, shades, earplugs, or a sleep mask if necessary to help you drift off to sleep.
  • If your partner is complaining about your snoring or other sleep patterns, it’s time to have a talk about it.
  • Do not overdo the physical exercise.
  • Use relaxation methods like deep breathing and visualization to help you de-stress.
  • As soon as you can, turn off your television, laptop, and/or phone.

Creating a schedule

It can be a good idea to stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up hour. Bipolar patients may find it particularly helpful in managing their mood fluctuations if they acquire this practice.

Optimizing your bedroom

Creating a relaxing environment in the bedroom is an essential component of healthy sleep hygiene. With the right bedding and pillows, as well as a peaceful environment, you can get a good night’s sleep.

Limiting activities

The bedroom’s primary purpose is to provide a space for sleep. You shouldn’t use your bedroom to watch TV or work on your laptop.

Diet and exercise

Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the hours preceding up to bedtime may be all it takes to have a better night’s sleep. It’s also a good idea to give yourself plenty of time between working exercise and going to bed. You can get a good night’s rest by working exercise, but it might also make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Taking time to relax

Take a few minutes to unwind before you go to bed. Begin the night by taking a bath, reading a good book, or simply meditating.

Sleep as a Precipitant of Mania with Bipolar Disorder

You may be surprised to learn that a lack of sleep can lead to manic and hypomanic episodes. Decreased sleep isn’t limited to those suffering from mania.

Before a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder have been shown to experience social rhythm disturbances. Sleep disturbances can occur from anything as simple as staying up late to watch television or getting sucked into an interesting internet chat, or from worrying about the health or death of a close family member.

According to Dr. Ellen Frank, a researcher who has studied these issues extensively, bipolar individuals tend to have more delicate internal clock functions.

Could Sleep Disorders Actually Lead to Bipolar Disorder?

The rise in the number of people suffering from bipolar disorder may be linked to the use of bright artificial light, according to some studies. People’s sleep/wake cycles were once regulated by the sun. Due to artificial light, people who have a genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder are now more likely to suffer from the disease.

Bipolar disorder patients’ sleep disturbances have not been linked to alterations in the brain’s white matter architecture, therefore the link cannot be considered causal.

Benefits Of Sleep Aids

For a brief length of time, medications can be used to treat bipolar disease. Using them for a short length of time reduces the risk of addiction. Natural sleep aids can also be used. Before ingesting any sleep aid, get an appointment with your doctor.

Side Effects Of Sleep Aids

To help you get to sleep, there are both over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be used. Sleep aids carry a number of risks, including:

  • They quickly become a part of your daily routine. Maintaining order is crucial.
  • They can cause drowsiness and amnesia, in addition to decreasing coordination.
  • Some people may experience aggressive or hostile reactions to these medications.
  • It is not recommended to take sleep aids with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants in them.

9 Tips to Help Sleep With Bipolar

Bipolar disorder sufferers benefit from keeping a regular bedtime and wake-up time. It is possible to avoid mania and depression by making excellent “sleep hygiene” decisions. In today’s fast-paced world, it might be difficult to change one’s sleep patterns, but it is vital to remember that even a few of the tips below can help you reduce the amount of medication you need and avoid mood swings.

You have to determine if you want to work on improving your sleep or if you just want to talk about it.

If you want to see big improvements in your life, you have to be willing to give up some things. A consistent sleep schedule for those with the bipolar disease can have a profound impact on their lives. Even if it’s not enjoyable or equitable, this is a must. For those who suffer from rapid cycling, more than four mood shifts occur per year.

Determine the source of your sleep issues.

Bipolar disorder is often associated with sleep difficulties, however, this isn’t always the case. Take an overnight sleep study to find out whether there is a physical cause for your sleep issues. Menopause, being overweight, shifting testosterone levels as we age, and physical discomfort all have the potential to interfere with sleep.

Sleep deprivation is linked to manic-depressive episodes.

There are several ways in which the symptoms of bipolar disorder mimic the symptoms of a sleep disorder. A manic or depressed episode may cause you to wake up earlier than normal or cause you to overthink things or make you feel like your body has been nailed to the wall. Controlling one’s sleep is an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. As my nurse practitioner at the Pohala Clinic in Portland explains, “Regulated sleep is nature’s finest treatment.

Make sure you know about melatonin, serotonin, and your body’s natural internal clock.

The body has a 24-hour clock when melatonin is secreted at night and serotonin is released in the morning. Dr. John Preston, the co-author of taking Charge of Bipolar Disorder, recommends taking melatonin 30 minutes to an hour before night. There is a correlation between serotonin levels and mania. Before utilizing a lightbox in the morning, or taking SSRIs, bipolar patients are urged not to do so without first taking medicine to avoid mood swings.

You should go to sleep at the same hour every day.

In accordance with this hypothesis, sleeping in sync with your internal clock is a good idea. Your sleep routine might be guided by the hours of 11 pm-7 am as a starting point. It’s hard to say no to things you truly want to do, but it’s a vital step in this process. See how it goes for a month.

Check any supplements and over-the-counter medications to see whether they have an influence on your ability to fall asleep.

It’s concerning that some over-the-counter sleep aids contain potentially dangerous ingredients like 5HTP (a serotonin precursor supplement). Bipolar patients should always check “natural” sleep aids for side effects before using them. Valerian, for example, gives me nightmares. If you have bipolar disorder, you have a brain that isn’t as adept at metabolizing medicines as a normal brain.

There is a lot of information out there about caffeine.

Because of our bipolar sadness, we are frequently worn out. Energy drinks have the potential to lift our emotions when we’re feeling down. Caffeine, for example, is a stimulant substance. It makes it difficult to sleep well at night. Bipolar disorder patients’ restlessness may be exacerbated by caffeine. Dr. Preston advises people who have problems falling asleep to limit their caffeine intake to 250 mg or less before 2 p.m. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to switch to herbal or decaffeinated teas and quit drinking caffeine-containing beverages.

Any profession that involves a continually shifting timetable should be avoided at all costs.

People with bipolar illness should avoid working nights and sleeping during the day, as well as constantly switching up their schedules. This is despite the fact that no matter how hard you try, you may not always be able to have perfect control over your schedule. Sleep difficulties are the second most common cause of manic episodes after substance abuse, according to Dr. Preston.

Make sure you know what you’re doing before eating cannabis to fall asleep.

When exposed to hallucinogenic cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol, people with bipolar disorder are more likely to experience psychosis (THC). If you’re trying to catch some shut-eye, stay away from THC. Pure cannabidiol (CBD) is an option for many individuals with bipolar disorder, but it calms the body while stimulating the mind. My mind is like a racehorse when I’m high on any kind of cannabis.

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