Pretty much everyone with any type of mental health issue is going to have had sleep issues at some point.
You either can’t sleep or can’t wake up. It’s a nightmare and a vicious cycle that you need to break free from.
Firstly I’ll talk about insomnia. Anyone on the bipolar spectrum suffers from insomnia. When you’re high you’ll be getting a maximum of four hours sleep, probably less and probably of horrendous quality because of f’d up dreams.
So how do you fight it? Well, the meds should help get you to sleep. I take quetiapine and after taking my nightly tablet I can range from getting totally wiped out and asleep in 30 minutes to lying awake for five hours tossing and turning.
The key with insomnia is breaking the cycle. You’ll be tired but you have to try and keep a consistent sleep pattern. Wind down an hour before bedtime. This means no screen time (she says whilst on her phone). Dim the lights, get cosy and warm, read a book/meditate/have a bath, whatever you can do to relax. Then keep a consistent bedtime (Apple’s bedtime function is fantastic). And finally, go to bed. You’ll lay awake for hours some nights, but don’t get up, keep the lights low, don’t pick up anything that will stimulate you. You need to give your body signals that it’s sleep time.
You might fight it for a few weeks, but consistency is the key to cracking insomnia. Also, do the obvious… don’t nap during the day, cut down sugar and caffeine, get exercise, limit screen time. Get yourself some lavender essential oil or sleep spray, there are loads of good ones around.
The second part to mental health and sleep is extreme tiredness. This one is easier to write about… sleep as much as you need to, even during the day (unless it’s making you stay awake at night). Get exercise to help boost your levels and give you energy. Eat healthily, again cut down on sugar and caffeine as they can actually have the reverse effect if you’re overtired. And remember it’s ok to stay in bed when you need to.
Insomnia and sleep issues are a major part of your illness. Don’t underestimate the impact that they can have on your health and your mood. I hope you crack them soon. Night night.