Insomnia can be quite annoying if you have bipolar disorder. Those of us with bipolar disorder will have issues with sleeplessness at some point in our lives. Insomnia plagues a large portion of the population and is hard to combat. It is hard to deal with and can be quite frustrating.
There are ways, tricks, and techniques that you can try to get better sleep each night.
Remember, these are just suggestions, but try a few of them and see if they provide any relief.
The following is a list of 10 ways to reduce insomnia if you have bipolar disorder:
1. Maintain a Consistent Sleep and Wake Schedule
I have written about this before. It is the utmost of importance to keep a consistent circadian rhythm. Regularity in a sleep schedule provides this stability. Protecting your sleep is one of the most important ways to create stability.
Try to get to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the identical time each morning. This can be difficult if you have insomnia. Over time, you should see a difference by implementing this stable sleep/wake schedule each night and morning. If you do not see improvement, I would suggest trying more of the recommendations on the list.
Please try to protect your sleep. If you do not get enough sleep, you can inadvertently trigger a manic episode. I have even heard of it triggering a depressive episode.
2. Take a Hot Shower or Bath Before Bed
Physically, taking a hot shower or warm bath right before bed can calm your nerves. Have you ever taken a hot shower or bath during the day and feel tired afterward? The whole idea is to get your body ready to sleep because you are tired.
I have friends who do this every night before going to bed. It is just part of their regular maintenance plan to stay stable and healthy. You should try it out and see if it works for you.
3. Meditate 3 Times Per Day
Meditation has been a proven measure to reduce anxiety and calm your mind. The great thing about meditation is its accessibility today. You used to have to meditate in person with an instructor or by yourself. Now, you can simply google meditation for a specific period (example, meditate for 10 minutes). There are also apps you can download.
There have been studies showing a reduction in anxiety with meditation. If you have insomnia, you know how your mind will not stop at night. Utilizing a measure to reduce anxiety will help slow your mind down.
See if this is something that will work for you.
4. Start a Yoga Training Program
Have you ever tried a yoga class? It is a great form of exercise, stretching, and centering both your body and mind. Because we have a chemical illness of the brain and the brain is connected to the rest of our body, it makes sense to give yoga a shot.
I have tried several yoga training programs. Each time, I strengthen and stretch my muscles. When I say centering, I mean my mind and body calm down.
There are yoga classes specifically geared towards meditation and rehabilitation. I have gone through many restorative yoga classes. They help the greatest when it comes to insomnia and are generally offered in the evening. They are not like a normal workout but put your body in a state of relaxation.
Some individuals participate only in a yoga training program. Others use it as an adjunct to a normal training schedule. If you have not experienced yoga, you should try.
*Please consult your doctor before starting any workout plan.
5. Do Not Eat Past 6pm
When you eat food, your body starts to digest the food. The body has various digestive functions that go into overdrive. Having this process go on while you are trying to go to sleep is counterproductive.
By eating no later than 6pm, you give your body plenty of time to digest all your food and calm down for the night. If you have acid reflux or another similar malady, you do not want to lay down for 3-4 hours after eating. I am speaking of secondary, tertiary, and further issues like I did HERE.
I am sure you have experienced eating something and going right to sleep. You know how it feels. It does not feel good. Try this simple suggestion and see how it affects you. Simply listen to your body.
6. Consume Caffeine Up Until Noon
If you feel you need to drink coffee, attempt to stop by noon. Anything after this time and it will only contribute to your difficulty of sleep. Drink the smallest amount to feel fulfilled.
I do know that some people absolutely need their coffee to function during the day. Please try to stop by noon. I do know that some individuals feel a lull in energy in the afternoon. Do your best to get through it without coffee. Possibly try meditation to center your mind.
7. Workout 2 or More Hours Before Bed
I am a huge proponent of exercise like I am of maintaining a regular sleep and wake schedule. Exercise has so many positive benefits. For example, exercise reduces your blood pressure, floods your body with endorphins improving your mood, reducing body fat, and more. Exercise should never replace your medication plan. Instead, it should contribute to your overall maintenance and prevention plan for stability.
When you workout, your heart rate goes up and blood pumps faster throughout your body. It is primed to work out and as a result, you wake up. This is not going to help your insomnia. By allowing at least two hours before bed, you give the body the opportunity to slow down and come to a more homogenous state of calmness.
Some individuals do not have the luxury of following this suggestion because of work or other obligations. If this is the case, simply try one of the other ideas on the list. If you cannot attempt this idea now, please have a go at it in the future.
*Please consult your doctor before starting any workout plan.
8. Reduce Night Time Screen Time
Night time screen time is a huge contributor to insomnia. With the inception of cell phones, notebooks, and computers, our society feels the need to be plugged in literally 24/7. These electronics have a blue screen that triggers your brain to wake up. If you want to get some sleep, try staying off the electronics and see if that helps.
If you cannot stay off your computer, notebook, or phone, at least try to limit your usage at night. Do your best because I know some of you need to be plugged in for work. You can also get more information on this topic by clicking HERE.
9. Try Melatonin
Please speak with your doctor first before trying any supplement.
Melatonin is in your body and helps you to fall asleep. If you do not have enough melatonin in your system, you will have a problem falling asleep at night. By supplementing with melatonin, you give your body the necessary amount to fall asleep. This should only work if you do not have the proper amount in your body.
Melatonin comes in various dosages and forms. It comes in pills, sugar gummies and liquid. I have seen the strength vary anywhere from 1mg to 10mg. There is also a special pill form that has a coating of immediate delivery followed by extended release.
Again, speak with your doctor and see if melatonin is right for you.
10. Speak with Your Doctor About a Sleep Aid
Speaking with your doctor is a great way to get other ideas about getting some sleep. If they feel you have tried everything and nothing is working, it is possible they may try you on a sleep aid. Usually, medication use for sleep is used short term. When I say short term, I mean around 7 days. Some individuals are on it for longer, but 7 days is the general frame of time to help with insomnia.
Sleep aids can be habit forming and have some weird side effects. This is probably the only time you will see me write to try and stay away from medication. Please try to work on your insomnia naturally and without this class of medication.
The best thing you can do is speak to your doctor about your best options.
If you have insomnia and bipolar disorder, try these different ways to reduce your sleep issues.
Do you have any routines that you follow to help you for sleep? I would love to hear more!
If you are interested in a book that goes over bipolar disorder, click below to order this book that I read when I was first diagnosed. There is also a more recent edition of a book I read. Try them out and let me know what you think!
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