Too much sleep, too little sleep. Too manic, too depressed.
Sleep plays an incredibly important role in keeping my mind balanced. I remember when I set off on my trip to Malaysia for a month back in March, my psychiatrist specifically told me I needed to watch my sleep. “Make sure you bring your Ambien! If you don’t sleep well, you are going to go into a deep depression or a huge manic episode.” Before that, we had talked about trying to regulate my sleep for months. Even after I got home, we were talking about regulating my sleep.
I have noticed, when I get enough sleep, my mood is much more stable.
When I get too much sleep, I am really depressed and want to sleep all the time.
When I don’t get enough sleep, I go into manic mode.
When I am in manic mode, I have to force myself to sleep, and when I do, my mood slowly begins to regulate.
When I am depressed, I have to force myself to get up and not be in bed all day, and my mood regulates more.
Now of course, many people with sleep problems need medication to help them overcome their issues. But there are other ways to help regulate your sleep –
Creating a regular sleep habit:
- Taking a shower every night and brushing your teeth at the same time
- Turning off all electronics (not watching TV, being on the computer, or looking at your smart phone) for 1-2 hours before bed. The light emitted from these keeps you up.
- Only use your bedroom for sleep (or sex)
- Keep the same sleep-wake schedule (i.e. wake at 8am everyday, sleep at 11pm everyday)
- Don’t nap during the day, if you have to – keep it short (no longer than 30 minutes), and not close to your bedtime
- Exercise regularly but do not do it too close to bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine completely – but especially at night if you do use them at bedtime