Getting Rest With Bipolar
Sleep is an incredibly important aspect of your life. The right amount of sleep leaves you refreshed and rejuvenated physically. Too much or too little sleep will leave you foggy, disconnected sluggish. Where your physical health goes, your mental health follows.
Bipolar and sleep often don’t go together; when bipolar disorder is a part of your life, your sleep suffers. Sleep disturbance is actually one of the cornerstones of bipolar disorder. When your mood is more depressed, you will have less energy and less motivation. You are prone to sleeping more throughout the day, including frequent naps. Some people with depression will get 14-16 hours of sleep daily and still feel tired and lethargic. Others suffer from insomnia related to depression and are unable to sleep more than a few hours daily.
When your mood is elevated from a manic episode, sleep is the last thing on your mind. You are too driven by other pleasure-seeking tasks to consider getting rest. Why sleep when you could refold your towels or count how many toothpicks you have? Even if you try to lay down when manic, your racing thoughts may not slow down enough to allow you to sleep. Combine this with the diminished patience associated with mania and sleep is not in the forecast.
Benefits of Sleep
If you have given up on the idea of getting good rest, rethink it. The benefits of appropriate rest extend to numerous aspects of your mental health, physical health and overall well-being. Benefits of sleep include:
- Improved memory and attention – Have your been forgetful at work or home? Sleep helps strengthen memories and skills learned during the day.
- Longer life – Studies show that people who sleep too much or too little tend to have shorter life spans that those that receive the desired amount of sleep.
- Healthier weight – People that are well rested tend to have healthier weights. People that get less sleep tend to feel hungrier.
- Lower stress – Sleep allows your mind and body the rest it needs to reduce stress. Lower stress is related to many physical health benefits like lower blood pressure.
Track your State
Bipolar is unpredictable. Sometimes you will be depressed for a month, manic for two weeks and then depressed for the next three months. Maybe your symptoms shift more rapidly, or maybe your mania or hypomania only present yearly.
Next page: improving your sleep hygiene.