When you live with bipolar disorder getting adequate sleep is vital: it restores and rejuvenates the brain and body with effects on alertness, mood, cognition, body weight and overall good health. But when things like medications or moods disrupt your sleep, there are some things you need to keep in mind:
Anxiety does not mix well with sleep. If you start to worry or even panic about your inability to sleep, it will surely only make it harder to fall asleep. Because sleep happens automatically it’s not something you can will your body to do. In fact the opposite is true: the harder you work at convincing yourself to fall asleep, the longer it can take. Instead try to clear your mind and meditate, focusing your attention on your breath.
Thinking too much
Your mind and your body work in unison to help you fall asleep. So, if your mind is too busy to calm down, it will be difficult to get your needed slumber. You can help the process along by trying to calm your thoughts relax your body. Divert your attention from your thinking, to relaxing your entire body: start with your toes and work toward your head. Focus on letting go of tensions in each muscle and getting your body into a comfortable position.
Trying to sleep if too alert
If you are too wide awake to fall asleep, you would be better off getting out of bed and doing something else that is relaxing instead of trying to force yourself asleep with poor results. This will only cause anxiety, a surefire way to head off any chances of shuteye. Go into another dark room and watch television or read a book to tire your mind.
While coffee beans are an excellent source of antioxidants, there can be downsides. Caffeine (which is found not only in coffee, but other beverages and snacks) is a stimulant and can cause anxiety, rapid heartbeat and sleep disturbances. Studies have shown it may be best to avoid it for six hours before bedtime. If you enjoy a hot cup of coffee on a cold night, buy some decaffeinated coffee for evening and nighttime use.
Surf the net
Avoid getting out of bed to surf the Internet. Mindlessly clicking away can turn into hours if you happen upon some interesting stories or get wrapped up in social media links. Instead of getting sleepy, you will most likely stimulate your brain.
Poor choice in TV or book
If you are going to watch television or read a book, choosing a program that is a real cliffhanger or a real-life docudrama will increase your heart rate and, in turn, your sleeplessness; the same goes for book choices—an exciting, page-turner will keep you awake. Instead, watch or read something without strong emotional responses.
Do housework or chores
While your head is swimming with a long to-do list, a poor choice is to get up and clean your house. Although unfinished chores may be on your mind, the actual act of doing physical labor in the middle of the night will tense your muscles rather than relax them. To be alert enough to do chores you have stay awake and defeats the purpose of getting a good night’s sleep.
While you may think that physical exercise will wear you out and make you sleep-ready, the opposite is generally true. Any physical activity like this will overstimulate your mind and body. You’d be better off scheduling a time a few hours prior to bedtime for your workout to give your body time to wind down.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community