Well, eight hours of sleep is so amazing for me. I actually woke up and wanted to do a little jig. I’m what I call an undersleeper. I was actually talking with my friend Kristin yesterday- she’s the author of Bipolar and Pregnant, and we spent a long time talking about bipolar disorder and sleep. Here are all the ways bipolar and meds affect our sleep:
#1. Kristin talked about problems with Topamax. She has no idea if it affects sleep- but she’s pretty sure it affects memory. Kristin uses Lunesta to sleep.
#2. When I’m depressed, I have agitated sleep which means my brain doesn’t shut down at night. Bother! I now use Ativan to sleep.
#3. Of course, mania is the biggest problem. I rapid cycle a lot, so on the nights I can actually fall asleep normally and get 7-8 hours of rest is pretty great. Unfortunately, falling asleep without sleep meds is very rare for me.
#4 . Excessive tiredness from medications- especially some anti depressants. Whew, I used to get so tired my lips got numb and I slept 14 hours a day. I’m now on Lithium. The tiredness is tough and I sometimes have to take a few 30 minute naps during the day.
My coauthor Dr. John Preston says that regulating sleep is the #1 way to manage the illness. How is your sleep?
It”s ok to take sleep meds if you need them. I had a real struggle with my ativan until I realized I wasn’t sleeping enough unless I used it. So I use it.