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On Guard!

The Dr who diagnosed me as Bipolar advised me to ‘guard [my] sleep’ and this is the best advice I’ve been given for managing my illness.  I’ve mentioned this before and one of you (can’t quite believe people are reading my ramblings, but there you go) asked for more information.

When my mood starts rising I have trouble sleeping through the night.  I get up earlier and earlier, am busy during the day and go to bed exhausted and early.  And then I get up even earlier the next day.  Sometimes I get up at cock-crow only to end up back in bed by mid-morning.  The exhaustion fuels the rise in mood (this seems counterintuitive, I know).  Eventually I give in and sleep for a whole day only to wake back in the pit of depression and having to fight my way out.  The intense effort of this can start the cycle again.

Guarding my sleep means avoiding late nights – I take my meds at 9pm and try to be asleep by 10pm.  It means not getting up in the middle of the night to do anything other than pee.  It means getting up at about 6am and getting on with the day, even if I’m tired, and not napping or sleeping the clock round.

At the moment, my sleep-cycle is disturbed.  Various circumstances have contributed to this and it has made me sicker than I’ve been for over a decade.  I want to avoid sleeping tablets so I’m trying really hard to get back on track.  And it’s hard.  It’s harder than hard.  But I’m stubborn – I’ll get there in the end 🙂


8 thoughts on “On Guard!

  1. I am going to try and use this technique, as my sleep pattern is non-existent.
    I either don’t sleep at all, or I have lots of little 20 minute naps throughout the day.
    Always feeling exhausted.
    Thanks for sharing the advice xx

  2. Right there with ya. Learned from my brother (manic) the importance of resting for 8 hours…Hard to do on a manic cycle, but important to plan and keep to 8 hours down in bed. Hope your sleep cycle evens out soon. I use exercise to help get me tired when I’m too manic…sometimes a long walk or a good swim does the trick.

    • Thanks, BP. I’m doing all/most of the right things so hopefully I’ll be back on track soon. If nothing else, this episode has taught me just how important my sleep is.

  3. This is really interesting, because I worked out for the first time last year that sleep has a major influence on my depression. If I don’t sleep enough, it’s a sure-fire way to let the depression creep in. Notice this at an early enough point and get some extra sleep and I can often nip it in the bud. I wish I’d realised this years ago! Good luck, you can do it!

    • Thanks for this, Liz. Guarding my sleep has been one of the most important things for keeping me well. It’s interesting to know that you’ve found it important too although lack of sleep tends to make me high rather than depressed. The human brain is a strange beastie!

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