How to find a remedy for sleep problems among people with bipolar disorder?
What is a bipolar disorder? You may hear this condition before but you have no idea what it is.
Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder a psychological disorder that causes unusual changes in mood, energy and activity level. In most cases, this condition impairs one’s ability to perform the daily routine.
There are four different types of bipolar disorder. All of these conditions affect the emotional and physical state of a person. A person with bipolar disorder may experience elation (manic episodes) to extreme hopelessness (depressive episodes). If manic episodes are lesser it is called hypomanic.
Bipolar I Disorder.
This is the most severe of all manic episodes that may last for 7 days. A person with this condition must be given immediate medical attention.
Bipolar II Disorder.
A person with this condition may experience both depressive and hypomanic episodes but not like those described in bipolar I.
It is also called cyclothymia which is characterized by a number of hypomanic symptoms and numerous depressive symptoms that last for at least two years. However, the symptoms do not meet the criteria for hypomanic and depressive episodes.
Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders.
This condition is characterized by disorder symptoms that do meet the criteria for the three categories discussed above.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
A person with bipolar disorder may experience several behavioral and emotional changes that s/he may not be able to explain. But people who experience manic episode may behave differently from those who experience a depressive episode.
People who have manic episode may experience:
- High energy
- Difficulty to acquire sleep
However, people with depressive episode may:
- Feel hopelessness and emptiness
- Low energy
- Experience trouble in sleeping
- Feel too tired
- Forget many things
- Think about suicide
One of the most common problems among people who have bipolar disorder is difficulty in sleeping that may last for two weeks.
Bipolar disorder affects sleep in many ways. It can lead to:
- Difficulty to acquire sleep (insomnia) that may result to insufficient rest
- Oversleeping or hypersomnia
- Irregular sleep schedules
- Delayed sleep phased syndrome that may result in daytime sleepiness
- Abnormalities in rapid eye movement which may cause bizarre dreams
During mania, people with bipolar disorder can survive without having slept for days without feeling tired. About 75 per cent of people who have this condition experience sleep problem which signals that a mania is about to occur.
If having sleep deprivation, people with bipolar disorder may:
- Experience mood swing
- Feel tired, depressed and anxious
- Experience difficulty in making decisions
So how can a person with bipolar disorder get a better sleep?
The first thing you want to do is determining what makes you unable to sleep. Gathering information about the possible affecting factors can be a big help. Try to ask the following questions:
- How long does it take for you to get asleep?
- Does caffeine intake affect your sleep duration?
- On average, how long you sleep each night?
Most medications for bipolar disorder have side effects. Fortunately, there are simple and free alternatives for you to get some sleep at night.
1. Keep room lighting to minimum
2. Avoid lights from your gadgets such as laptops and cell phones
3. Turn off your TV set
4. Sleep between 10 pm to 7 – it is ideal to get enough rest
5. Exercise daily
6. Eliminate caffeine in your food intake
7. Do relaxation and visualization techniques
8. Lastly, talk with your partner to minimize things that can affect your sleep (e.g. loud snoring).