Bipolar Insomnia: How To Find Relief

The top three things that help me when i can’t sleep.
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Sleep has been a rare occurrence lately. Come day’s end, I’m exhausted, drift off to sleep fairly quickly, and then wake up between 1:00 and 2:00 AM with my mind racing.

Living with bipolar 1, sleep issues are an everyday part of life. It’s rare I sleep a whole night, and my hopes for sleeping two entire nights in a row are as impossible as winning the lottery twice.

Tax season chaos has forced me to increase my work hours from 32 to 50, and from four days to six. Pushing myself through those extra hours demands a heavy price. Add to that, we’re moving into spring, the time of year I always shoot into mania.

Sleep is vital for good mental health. Take a person with perfect mental health, deprive them of sleep for a few days, and they’ll quickly decline into a person a fraction of who they were before your test.

What can you do if sleep escapes you? Here are three things to help.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for bipolar insomnia. It’s vital for overall good health, and it has many positive effects on bipolar, including reducing stress and anxiety.

For me personally, I do my best when I exercise at least three times a week. Sadly, work is consuming the energy I need to exercise, hitting me with a double whammy of insomnia and increased body pain.

An added bonus of exercise is it improves bipolar depression. It’s crucial to seek treatment for depression, because your mind and body need the help.

But exercise alone won’t keep bipolar insomnia at bay. You also must work with a bipolar-knowledgeable therapist who understands bipolar sleep issues and how they can help.

Bipolar Disorder Symptom Checklist

Talk Therapy

You can resolve some bipolar sleep issues with talk therapy, working through issues such as trauma (bad experiences) memories which rob you of rest.

Sometimes bipolar insomnia gets tied to depression. When bipolar depression hits, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and talk to someone about your problems. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what depression sleepiness wants: for you to stay in bed and worry.

Talk therapy can help you stop worrying, keep your bipolar disorder in check, and sleep soundly. Your doctor should also be able to give you medication that will help with bipolar depression and sleep issues.

Medication

It’s nearly impossible for me to fall asleep at night if I’m manic. Severe depression is almost as bad. In those moments, medication is the only thing that will help me sleep soundly at night. One medication I take helps me sleep at least a couple of hours each night, and I believe it’s probably the biggest key to my stability.

There are medications to help with depression and bipolar insomnia. If you have bipolar disorder, it’s important to stay in professional treatment—not just talk therapy—because proper care usually requires medication. Some might fear taking medication to treat their bipolar disorder, but it’s often the only way to attain stability.

Remember, bipolar insomnia isn’t your fault. But treatment is still necessary so you can get relief from bipolar disorder symptoms and insomnia.

Until next time, keep fighting.

Cartoon image of man with bipolar insomnia. | Bipolar insomnia is part of having the disorder. This post highlights three things you can do to fight it and get the rest you need. #speakingbipolar #bipolarclub #bipolarstrong #bipolar
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