Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Sleep Management


Getting solid, deep sleep positively impacts the brain’s capacity to control emotions, handle decision-making processes, and govern social interactions. Yet this type of sleep is often impaired when bipolar disorder is in the picture. If you are dealing with bipolar disorder, it is especially important to make sure that you’re getting the most productive sleep possible. The better you manage your sleep, the more able you are to learn to manage your mood.

What can you do to improve it?

When sleep troubles persist, taking a sleeping pill does not have to be the first resort. Here are some tips to increase the likelihood of getting a good night’s rest:

Set a schedule. Make sleep a priority. To establish a consistent sleep pattern, try awakening at the same time every day (weekends included). Your bedtime will soon take care of itself based on how much sleep you find yourself needing. Once you’ve fine-tuned your sleep schedule, stick to your ritual to avoid insomnia. Just sleeping in on weekends can reset your sleep cycle and make for problems waking up Monday morning.

Exercise. Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to exercise about five to six hours before going to bed.

Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Consuming stimulants, such as caffeine or chocolate, in the evening can keep you awake. Smoking can lead to a person sleeping lightly and waking up more often during the night. Drinking alcohol near bedtime can interrupt and fragment sleep.

Relax before bed. Try to unwind early and deal with life’s distractions well before bedtime. A warm bath or other peaceful routine can make it easier to fall asleep. Developing a nighttime ritual can signal your body and mind that it’s time to sleep.

Sleep until sunlight. If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body’s internal biological clock to reset itself each day. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of morning sunlight.

Control your bedroom environment. The bedroom should be reserved for only two activities—sleep and … you know what! Other habits, like reading in bed, watching television, or snacking, should be avoided because they shift your mind’s focus away from the goal of sleep. Maintain a comfortable temperature in the bedroom, and make sure that any distracting noise is eliminated. And, don’t forget the importance of a comfortable mattress and bedding.

Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t get to sleep, don’t just lie tossing and turning in bed. The anxiety of being unable to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia. It is best if you go to another room and do some activity, such as listening to music, until you feel tired enough to go back to bed.

Be aware of the medications you’re taking. If you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, chances are that your doctor may have you taking one or more medications. Some medications may have side effects and cause insomnia or drowsiness. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor your sleep patterns and any changes that occur.

Take additional steps if sleep problems persist. If you have trouble falling asleep night after night, or if you always feel tired the next day, you may benefit from seeing a sleep specialist. With difficult cases, your doctor may prescribe a sleep agent or other treatment. Fortunately, most sleep disorders can be treated effectively. Do whatever it takes to get the good night’s sleep that you need.

There is an old joke about a nurse awakening a patient to take a sleeping pill. However, sleeping problems are no joke. Lack of good sleep can cause confusion and frustration during the day and diminish a person’s overall mental alertness and wellbeing. Better sleep management—especially when someone has bipolar disorder—can dramatically improve health and quality of life. Now, maybe you can sleep on that!