The relationship between sleep disorders and bipolar disorder



Abilify users who aren't getting sufficient amounts of sleep at night may be increasing their likelihood of experiencing bipolar symptoms.

Abilify users who aren't getting sufficient amounts of sleep at night may be increasing their likelihood of experiencing bipolar symptoms. There are more than 70 million people who experience trouble sleeping, and the effects lack of sleep have on the brain can prove to be devastating. According to Harvard Medical School, different populations throughout the world report that 69 to 99 percent of bipolar patients experience sleeping difficulties, ranging from insomnia to apnea. Here is a general overview of the primary types of sleeping disorders, their symptoms and how to treat them to avoid strengthening side effects of bipolar disorder.

Insomnia
Regarded as the most common form of sleeping disorder, insomnia has less to do with natural factors and more to do with lifestyle choices that can produce a lack of sleep. While most cases of insomnia can be attributed to various forms of stress, sometimes changing up your routine can be the key to getting all the sleep you need. Some tips to help prevent insomnia from occurring include:

  • Cutting down on caffeinated beverages
  • Getting proper daily exercise
  • Avoid taking medications before bed
  • Using your bed for sleeping only

While insomnia is extremely frequent, it's also the most treatable sleeping disorder. Applying any of these guidelines to your daily routine can drastically increase the amount of sleep you'll receive.

Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a more severe type of sleeping disorder that prompts moments of extreme drowsiness or uncontrollable sleep attacks through out random periods of the day. One second you could be wide awake engaging in a conversation, and the next second you will be out cold. Common symptoms of narcolepsy can include:

  • Paralyzed sensations when waking up or just before sleep
  • Sudden lack of muscle control
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations before sleep
  • Extremely intense dreams

There is no exact cure for narcolepsy besides receiving prescribed medical treatment, so if you are experiencing any of the mentioned side effects, it is crucial that you contact a physician or doctor immediately.

Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is attributed as the result of blocked upper airways that can halt sleeping temporarily so the body can try to regulate breathing again. While some people don't recall these minor sleeping disruptions in the morning, sleep apnea can keep you awake every hour during your sleep, causing sensations of grogginess and fatigue the next morning. Side effects of sleep apnea often include loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep and feelings of chest pains and headaches the next day. The best way to treat this condition is to talk to a doctor about obtaining an inhaler or a positive airway pressure mask that can help your body regulate breathing patterns during sleep. 

Acting quick is the best source of prevention
If you are experiencing any of these sleep disruption symptoms, it's important to act upon it right away to ensure that mental illness is not the next side effect you will have to endure. Bipolar disorder patients should always receive eight hours of sleep every night to alleviate their symptoms, and continuing a prescription to Abilify can help you receive the relief you need.