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The Importance of Sleep When Dealing With Bipolar Disorder

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Putting the Reins on Your Active Brain

By Melvin G. McInnis, MD

How important is sleep, really, if my brain seems to be telling me I don’t need it?

Sleep is critical for a healthy balance in the brain and emotions. It gives people a rest from the fast-paced lifestyle we now have become accustomed to as well as allowing the body to maintain its natural chemical levels. There are so many ways that people can have a great night’s sleep from a comfortable mattress from places like Current best mattress Australia to having a nice tidy room to improve unconscious relaxation. However, the reality of sleeping can be quite different for someone with bipolar disorder. As many people living with bipolar know all too well, the sense of a lack of need for sleep is often the first sign of a manic or hypomanic episode. When your brain is telling you that you don’t need sleep, there is something wrong, or about to go wrong-and potentially in a dangerous way. Most individuals with bipolar have learned that a manic or hypomanic episode can be devastating for one’s personal, social, and work life. Recognizing dramatic changes in the urge to sleep (whether too little or too much) can help prevent the onset of full-blown episodes.

How can I “repair” my disrupted sleep to make things more regular and help improve my symptoms?

Strategies for repairing disrupted sleep depend on the severity of disturbance. Anyone who is totally unable to sleep should seek medical help immediately, either from your usual healthcare provider or from emergency services. Be sure to discuss all sleep disturbances with your regular provider to develop short- and long-term strategies to manage them. You can also ask your provider if you can change your current bedding to something you might feel easy with like say, winstons beds. Upon them agreeing or not agreeing (based on your symptoms) you can proceed with simple changes first.

However, emerging sleep difficulties could indicate that the illness is not properly managed and that medications are not at optimal doses. Your care provider may want to check levels of meds or increase doses and evaluate the results of the changes. If the medications are at the maximum dose, or the side effects of the medications are at the maximum level of tolerance, the clinician will review and discuss additional options. If your care provider has tried a number of options without success, it can be helpful to seek a consultation with a different provider.

If your health (beyond the lack of sleep) isn’t the issue, then it may be worth checking to see if it could be another factor. Many people are increasingly believing that EMF radiation from electronics like their phones could be the cause of sleep disruption. Indeed, many people have taken to buying detectors from brands such as EMF Protection UK to help them identify these sources and shut them down at night to allow for better sleep. Whilst some physicians may disagree about if this is making an actual impact, it can be worth trying before seeking medical advice.

Not all sleep difficulties require medical changes or specific interventions. There are a number of self-care strategies to manage sleep and energy. Although sticking to a consistent sleep schedule can be incredibly difficult for someone with bipolar, the importance of a regular routine is tantamount. Ensuring that bedtimes, waking times, and the evening meal follow a regular schedule will help tremendously.

For those with bipolar, often the challenge is dealing with the amount of energy that can escalate in the late evening. The urgency for tasks-anything from a term paper to housecleaning-becomes compelling, and before you know it, it is 3 a.m. Developing a successful winding-down routine in the evening to prepare for sleep is necessary. A calming activity, such as an hour of reading or playing a mundane board game, can be very helpful. Taking evening medication, from prescribed medicines to alternative options like these CBD edibles UK, at a planned time in consultation with your care provider (usually an hour or two before the agreed bedtime) is also key. A calm, steady routine is so very helpful when dealing with an illness that has the potential to cause life-threatening instability.

Better sleep and a healthy routine help your energy level over time and contribute significantly to maintaining wellness and preventing episodes of mania and depression. Engaging a family member or friend in your routine and sharing your plans for stability with your care provider will add additional links in the wellness chain.


If you or a loved one is struggling with Bipolar Disorder and would like help, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.