This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Sleeping with bipolar disorder is very hard so this article is devoted to talking about how to sleep with bipolar disorder, what sleep hygiene is and additional sleep tips. Various studies show that melatonin could help treat insomnia in those with BD, but it’s a good idea to discuss any changes in your treatment with a doctor because he or she better understands your medication regimen. These phases can last for weeks at a time or just a few days, and they can be scary and destructive, sometimes causing financial burdens or legal consequences. Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker, advocate and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. When a person with bipolar can’t sleep, it’s very important to get treatment as sleep disturbances can lead to a decrease in functioning and an unstable mood. CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on identifying behavioral changes like certain thoughts and behaviors that could get in the way of good sleep. Manic phases or “highs” are often caused by extreme stress, poor sleep, or other environmental triggers and sometimes make you feel like you’re on top of the world. What did two sisters learn from their mother’s bipolar diagnosis, and how have they grown stronger through time? r/bipolar: A safe haven for bipolar related issues. They respond with reminders of how loved I am. While in some cases a lack of sleep or lasting sleep inertia are the causes for fatigue, there could be other reasons that your sleep feels insufficient. u/TwaMonkeys. Other sleep tips that can help with bipolar and sleep include: I’ve focused this article on everything but sleep medication. The BBR Foundation hypothesizes that having a strong and regular circadian rhythm tends to mean less depression, so the better you can maintain a schedule, the better you may feel. This means no sleeping in on weekends. Also, you may have to swap out a medication that is too activating or too sedating. In some cases, the condition could be dangerous and requires medical treatment. Managing your Condition with Better Sleep. “Bipolar has provided some heavy limitations, such as having time off work and needing rest when episodes come along unpredicted, and not being able to look after my young daughter when it is in full swing. And they get short-shrift in the narrative about what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder, day in and day out. Depression cycles always feature the worst parts of my personality. Some medications may have side effects and cause insomnia or drowsiness. I was riding the hypomanic wave and it felt great… most of the time. By subscribing, you'll get access to a FREE eBook on coping skills. Bipolar disorder causes a person to experience intense shifts in moods, sometimes from a manic state to a depressed state, for example. It can make you feel groggy, slow your coordination, thought processes, and physical response time. Bipolar is a very complex illness, but no matter what the actual cause and effect, we know we are certain to find an over-active or under-active dopamine circuit somewhere. So, basically sleep hygiene is the stuff that allows you to sleep and sleep is the stuff that allows you to do most everything else. (Dr. Jim Phelps has done an amazing job of discussing how bipolar disorder is a “body clock” disorder and how lithium can actually help fix that clock. There are three kinds of sleep medication and the one that’s right for you, is personal. Here’s where I remind you that I’m not a doctor and you should always have thorough conversations about the positives and negatives of any sleep medication with him or her. Bipolar disorder has one of the most complicated relationships with sleep out there. User account menu. If I could make every person with bipolar disorder in the world do this, our global pain burden would decrease — really. Secondly, when I say I have good days and bad days in bipolar it allows the other party to assume that I am having a good day right now. During these periods you may feel creative, confident, extremely happy, and in some cases euphoric. While both of these drugs may disrupt your sleep, they radically improve it in others and should be managed on a case by case basis. As our circadian rhythm relies on daylight to ‘tell time’, excessive exposure to artificial light at night can ‘trick’ and delay it. From there, it leads to abnormalities in sleep schedule which lead back to social issues and affective episodes. . God love all those who suffer as I do . I felt like I was acing life, running the show, everyone else was either too slow, stupid or just generally needed to get out of my way. a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. We’ve done the research to let you know about the risks that are specific to your condition but encourage you to keep in mind your case is individual. At least according to the research, stabilizing the circadian rhythm could be an important measure for treatment and therapy. Bipolar disorder can be treated. In fact, sleep disturbances have even been linked to suicidal feelings. And, of course, if this insomnia is … Before it begins to interfere with your health or daily life, you may consider a few treatments for fatigue that have seen some success. We all know how crazy our moods get when we don’t get enough sleep. Great article and tips Natasha. Your email address will not be published. Insomnia and hypersomnia are both common symptoms of your condition, and your doctor should know how to diagnose them as well as offer some treatment options. During these mood episodes, you may experience a psychotic episode where you believe you are someone rich or famous or have special powers, which could make it difficult for you to differentiate between reality and hallucinations. It can be extremely frustrating to come to terms with the fact that sleep issues are common at every phase of the disorder, but keep in mind that common is not the same as normal, and there are many options for coping with and managing sleep issues. However, recent research from Stanford University shows that there are two subtypes of hypersomnia including long sleep and excessive sleepiness, which may resemble fatigue. Depending on the phase of life you’re in, your sex, and other influencing factors, you may require more or less sleep than is generally recommended, especially during total sleep deprivation treatment. That’s because a lot of people don’t want to use sleep medication. According to some research bipolar people have a circadian delay of over two hours – which means that their body acts as if it is two hours earlier in the day than it actually is, meaning they go to bed late and get up late. I have to be careful with my blue light box as I tend to get hypomanic with it. If you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, chances are that your doctor may have you taking one or more medications. 16. These periods of highs and lows don’t always mean one is out of control, but through the use of medicines and hormone treatments, many patients feel much more capable of managing their condition. You probably don’t need us to tell you that poor sleep in bipolar disorder could make your symptoms worse and in some cases predict a manic or depressive phase. While it may seem unattainable, many have been able to reach remission, and with the right information, we hope you can do the same. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) contains a list of specific symptoms that may be present and specifies several rules about those symptoms. These highs and lows are caused by hormone shifts in the brain; they could make you feel extremely happy, confident, productive, and social, or extremely depressed, unhappy, sluggish, and low-energy. Better sleep is key to helping you make it to that point. Multiple studies show that we as humans are pretty bad at evaluating our sleep efficiency and duration on our own. Sleep issues are not your fault, and sadly they are extremely common with all types of bipolar disorder. The good news is that the cycle works both ways, and studies show that the stronger your sleep habits and the better your rest, the better you should be able to manage your condition. Your doctor is your best bet in knowing what to expect with your condition. Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects how a person feels, thinks and acts. It makes sense, then, if this clock is broken in bipolar disorder, sleep will always be a challenge. While this theory hasn’t been proven, it offers an explanation of where both external and internal triggers can lead to highs or lows. When it comes to bipolar and other mood disorders, there are some pretty unsettling correlations between sleep issues and affective disorders. If I could make every person with bipolar disorder in the world do this, our global Having Bipolar disorder can sometimes disrupt sleep patterns. I don’t agree with all of them, but, in general, they’re good ideas. So even if you get enough sleep, this could be something you’re dealing with. While certain factors may get in the way of you falling asleep, the better you can train your body to rest at specific times, the better chance you have of managing those highs and lows. Lack of sleep can increase stress and cause problems with mood. It is essential that you discuss … Some suggestions: Try to avoid things that interfere with sleeping patterns, for example – shift work, staying out all night or staying up late to study. I was doing a question-and-answer session last week for World Bipolar Disorder (you can see a recording of it on Instagram here) and I mentioned sleep hygiene. As we learned earlier, the stronger your circadian rhythm, the better you should be able to manage your illness. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 22 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.Find more of Natasha’s work in her acclaimed book: "Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar" on Amazon. We already mentioned a decreased need for sleep, but one might also suffer extreme levels of fatigue or spend the entire day in bed, particularly during the depressive cycle. Research published by the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that euthymic patients with bipolar disorder are more likely to experience nighttime sleep disturbances, impaired sleep efficiency, higher levels of anxiety about sleep, and lower daytime activity levels. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to better health and better rest, but no one has time to sleep, let alone figure out how to upgrade the sleep they’re getting. my mother is bipolar and is good in bed---I have been told-she is good in bed with EVERYBODY every man she meets is a conquest-- She will not take her meds- thinks she is "fine"----In bed is a short time it is the rest of their life you have to put up with I write a three-time Web Health Award winning column for HealthyPlace called Breaking Bipolar. I get it. Those with bipolar I may be at an increased risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea, according to research from the University of Pittsburg, especially among those who are overweight. Great post! Transparency Disclosure – We may receive a referral fee (at no additional cost to the buyer) for products purchased through the links on our site or other applicable pages. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme changes in mood from high to low, and from low to high. Confused? How Bipolar Disorder Affects Sleep: Get Better Sleep With Bipolar Disorder. That’s what I know about how to sleep with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder and sex: It's time to talk about this emotional minefield. While these drugs could help you focus during the day, they could be potentially wreaking havoc on your sleep. Our brains help us to think, feel and act in certain ways. If you’ve done all the above for a month (because these changes take time to work) and nothing is helping, I recommend you look into sleep medication with your psychiatrist. You Don’t Need Bad Times to Appreciate the Good, How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Affecting My Mental Health. I’ve talked about some of these things before, but this post will bring together all the techniques I have previously discussed. Though the treatment requires steady practice, in many cases it could be effective in reducing insomnia. I take 600 MG of Seroquel at night. Let us explain. According to, sleep hygiene is: “. I would say that I spent a good 10 years in a typically higher state than a lower state, never needing much sleep and always full of new ideas. Here are a few questions you may want to ask in your next appointment to get some informed answers about your rest. Every single day is bookended at exactly the same times. Once these phases come to a close, you may be laid up in bed for weeks recovering or diving into a deep low. They text back offering me their presence after classes. For this reason, you may want to try moving a morning medication to the evening or vice versa. Using all these sleep tips, I have been able to better regulate my sleep even with bipolar disorder, and I can tell you when I falter and don’t do these things, my sleep almost always suffers. Your email address will not be published. It could be either bingeing on food or perhaps not eating anything at all. That’s why we aim to help the world get better rest, including you. has listed many aspects of good sleep hygiene. It’s the transition phase between sleeping and waking. While bipolar I disorder might seem more noticeable with higher highs and lower lows, the other two disorders are not mild or less intrusive to those who deal with them every day. Throughout the program, you may learn to control or eliminate these thoughts and behaviors, leading to better sleep. Close. Suicide Self-Assessment Scale – How Suicidal Are You? Waking and sleeping at the same time was the biggest game changer for me. In some cases, patients didn’t always sleep for longer, sometimes they were just excessively sleepy during the day. There is a middle path that is worth pursuing. I will try to keep these sleep tips updated as more occur to me or as I learn more. There are three main types of bipolar disorder, called bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia. You might shoot up with a burst of fuel and slide right back down when you temporarily run out of gas. In the worst cases, poor rest can lead to relapses in treatment, and at best, it will likely make it more difficult to manage your condition. r/bipolar. Coincidentally (or not) many common treatments for bipolar disorder also affect rest. While practicing yoga and taking vitamins probably won’t be bad for your overall health, before starting a rigorous new fitness routine or spending lots of money, it’s probably a good idea to ask your doctor their opinion on these methods. I am due to see a psychiatrist tomorrow, so I hope they will help me, I have been getting counselling for 6 months. Especially because there is a high correlation between ADHD and bipolar disorder, you might even be taking powerful stimulants as a prescription. They include: The above are a part of sleep hygiene, but for bipolar disorder, I have sleep tips to offer too. These periods are not normal or healthy and may be difficult to overcome, but they don’t always mean you sleep longer than the normal population; you may just stay in bed longer. Now, I know that people don’t like that strict of a bipolar routine. 16. Posted by. Former NFL All-Pro Howard Mudd dies after accident Real fam, do you think you should ask if you were good after having sex? When she isn't writing, she likes to ride her motorcycle, catch Pokemon with her hubby, and practice yoga with her dog. That means going to bed at the same time each night, waking up at the same time, and trying to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. mindfulness meditation didn’t help my bipolar, bipolar already makes you at greater risk for dementia, How Psychologists Can Harm Your Mental Health (But They Don’t Have to), The Lifeline Can Trace Calls. Weak cycles are more likely to be correlated with depression, so when you find yourself losing track of sleeping and waking cycles, it could be time to ask for help or make some changes. By looking into the circadian rhythm in those with bipolar disorder, we begin to see exactly why that is. Those experiencing long sleep tend to be at a higher risk for future depressive episodes if they experience long sleep between manic and depressive phases, according to research at the University of California, Berkely. Bipolar Disorder and Sleep - How to Manage It | Sleep Advisor During a mixed episode, you might experience both ends of the sleep spectrum, where you feel less need for sleep until you crash into a low and sleep for longer periods than are typical. It helped me get out of severe bipolar depression. It lets the person off the hook — for today, anyway. These episodes tend to be unpredictable and exhausting, making it difficult to manage a schedule and making rest difficult to obtain. While it’s easy enough to find a lightbox or light alarm on the internet, you’ll want to discuss this treatment with your doctor beforehand to make sure you don’t trigger a manic or hypomanic phase. Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. However, that doesn’t mean rest is unattainable, and with a few expert tips and better understanding, we’re hoping you’ll be able to find what works best for you. I don’t remember the lectures I sit through – but, I was there. It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life. While these periods may sound like more fun than the depressive episodes, they’re sometimes accompanied by dangerous or reckless behavior like overspending, driving too fast, or other activities that may put yourself or others at risk. Suicide Hotlines Can Save Lives, You Create Your Own Reality? If this seems like a paradox, think of scaling a greased pole while wearing a faulty jet pack. With an abundance of information on the internet that could easily convince you of a breakthrough medical treatment or, on the other extreme, cause you to lose hope completely, it’s important to include the grounding influence of a licensed medical practitioner in your life. "I have a beautiful life now. Posted by Natasha Tracy | Apr 8, 2020 | Bipolar blog, Bipolar Burble Blog Features, bipolar disorder, mental illness issues | 4. Bipolar: Great in bed but hard to live with. SHE may have been the very epitome of Hollywood glamour, but Marilyn Monroe was flatulent, ate in bed and rarely washed, according to a new book. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it is possible to experience symptoms of highs and lows at the same time. Sleep apnea’s relationship with mental health is varied and complicated, but it’s important to note that there is a correlation there, so if you find yourself feeling sluggish and fatigued with no other explanation, it may be something you want to bring up with your doctor. When you’ve been struggling with sleep disruptions and fatigue, caffeine may seem like your only option for getting through a work or school day. You may consider recruiting your partner, roommate, or child to do a bedtime routine with you, or find a way to be accountable to someone about your sleeping habits. Bipolar disorder is, among other things, a circadian rhythm disorder. Insomnia, getting to sleep, and wakening early is my worst symptom with BP 2. And this, intuitively, makes sense. Be a part of something that cares about who you are. Bipolar I tends to be the most extreme among them, with longer manic and depressive periods, with bipolar II and cyclothymia being less extreme in descending order, though they are not to be confused with milder versions of the same disease. Every single day is bookended at exactly the same times. Sadly, this period usually feels anything but rejuvenating, and those with hypersomnia are 13.4 percent more likely to engage in substance abuse and more likely to report unhappiness and emotional disturbance. In other cases, racing thoughts may make it difficult to calm your mind. In an illness where moderation is key and stability is of paramount importance, sleep is one factor you can’t afford to neglect, no matter how interesting your favorite TV series is getting. Whether it’s the result of sleepless nights, overactive periods of exercise, or strain on your body from stress or medication, fatigue happens, and at times it can feel inevitable and inescapable. According to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, significant disruptions in the circadian rhythms among those with BD are correlated with episode triggers, and regulating the rhythm could help significantly with the management of the condition . The link about Lithium is interesting. So if you find yourself consistently struggling to get rest while you’re euthymic, it’s probably a good idea to pull out all the stops and prioritize your rest to avoid an upward or downward swing in your emotions. In some cases, lithium can decrease the total amount of time spent asleep in depressed patients, and SSRIs may affect REM periods in some patients. Simply put, the circadian rhythm is the internal clock that tells us when to rest, wake up, and often dictates our activity levels. I have caffeine in the morning. Get a good night’s sleep. One Brazil study shows there could be a correlation between a lack of rest and the risk for psychotic episodes among those with bipolar disorder. That said, I use sleep medication. My bipolar depression cycles are the worst parts of me. People aren’t going to like this one, but the number one tip for sleep and bipolar disorder is getting up at the same time every morning and going to bed at the same time every night. This means no sleeping in on weekends. Learning how to sleep with bipolar disorder has been hard, but good sleep hygiene and other positive sleep habits help. Sleep apnea is a condition where the body doesn’t breathe properly at night, leading to worsened sleep quality, snoring, and sleep disruptions. These are the signs you might be in the middle of a high, far from the picture of health and happiness some might imagine a bipolar high provides. In depressive episodes, some doctors recommend bright light therapy, total sleep deprivation, social rhythm therapy, and in some cases derivatives of melatonin that increase dopamine and norepinephrine, the hormones associated with happiness, sleep, and appropriate stress responses. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress. In other words, just because some people experience insomnia and hyposomnia, doesn’t mean you will. Now, Wasden said she is feeling good. It is a sickness in the brain. It comes in a few forms, the two most notable being obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), where there is an actual blockage that obstructs breath, and the other being a neurological condition where the body just stops breathing.