Sleep has been a problem for most of my life. I don’t have insurance right now so I can’t really get a sleep study done. One of the many joys of the health care system in the United States. Gamble with your health or risk all your funds on a cold. YAY~!
I suppose it only makes sense the sleep issues. I wasn’t diagnosed with Bipolar until I was 29, but I struggled with the cycles of Mania and Depression most of my life. I was just very good at masking my symptoms because I knew very early on that mental health issues were very taboo. You could hear adults talking about therapy as though it was something only for broken people. A lot of the time, I just assumed that everyone went through the crippling anxiety and depression.
Now I know better. But it was harder in my youth. During the college years, I would take caffeine pills to stay energized and sleeping pills to help me go to down at night. I kept a semi regular schedule right after high school with morning classes, naps midday, and due to the nature of my small (200ish students) college, I remained active with a gym class each semester. So my heart didn’t explode and I was able to get passible amounts of sleep.
When I moved away to University in the “big” city: Hotlanta, my sleep schedule just … died. No one slept and there always seemed to be something going on. My Manic phases were always insane. And then I’d have my low points… I remember once moving into the dorms a week before classes started. I locked myself in my room and didn’t socialize with my new roommates. Some friends came to find me three days later since I hadn’t surfaced.
So I have the problem of oversleeping when I’m depressed and not sleeping enough when I’m manic. Even worse, my sleep schedule has been damaged by the many years of working night shift as a janitor and cleaning lady. As peaceful as it is to work at night with no one around, I don’t recommend it. It’s one of the worst schedules for your health. Despite all the walking I did during my shifts, I always managed to gain a little pudge at that job.
But I digress. So oversleeping is a good sign that you need to be more active and use Opposite Action to avoid Sadness. Currently, I’m in a full blown Manic phase. My SO acknowledged that. I was still awake this morning when he got up for work at 5am. I lumbered off to bed around 6 or so, but was up and down every few hours. By the time he got off work that evening, I had sleepy eyes. My SO is very understanding. He laid down with me and held my hand for a bit, talking before he let me drift oft into a nap. It’s not great for scheduling, but I try to get sleep when it comes.
I’m going to try to do a few exercises this week to help me fall asleep at a semi decent hour.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. One of my therapists introduced this technique to me for my anxiety attacks, but I’ve heard that it works well to help you fall asleep as well.
I know you should also avoid technology due to the blue/white light. Which is hard, because I like to distract myself from overthinking with stupid TikTok videos. They also say that you should only SLEEP in your bed/bedroom. Don’t work or do other tasks… but as someone with the bedroom being their only room in the house, that makes it very difficult.
We’ll take small steps and try the deep breathing technique. Any who, thanks for reading guys. If you have any tips on how to combat insomnia and Mania let me know!