February 22, 2024

New "Ask the Doctor" column written by Dr. Sarah Sperry for bpHope

Sarah Sperry, Ph.D., of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program, recently wrote an article for bpHope on sleep strategies to manage bipolar disorder symptoms. 

Sarah Sperry, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Prechter Program

Ask the Doctor: Sleep Strategies to Help Your Bipolar Symptoms

This article first appeared on bpHope.

Understanding the Relationship Between Sleep and Bipolar Disorder

The relationship between sleep and bipolar disorder is complex. During hypomanic or manic episodes, you may feel that you have a decreased need for sleep. In depressive episodes, you may experience significant sleepiness with insomnia (not getting enough sleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much).

People with bipolar disorder often have difficulties maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even outside the context of hypomania, mania, and depression. Common sleep challenges reported by individuals with bipolar include:

  • Hypersomnia or insomnia: Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Delayed sleep phase or evening chronotype: Going to bed late and waking up late, such as sleeping from 3 to 11 a.m. when work starts at 9:30 a.m., which can interfere with meeting responsibilities.
  • Variable sleep-wake patterns: Bedtimes and wake times that vary from night to night, resulting in a lack of consistency.

What many people may not realize is that even when not in a hypomanic, manic, or depressive episode, these types of sleep difficulties can impact the severity of bipolar episodes. They can also profoundly affect your mood stability, ability to think, biology (such as metabolism), work performancepersonal relationships, and stress tolerance.

Fortunately, several techniques and strategies are available to promote healthy sleep by stabilizing your sleep-wake cycles...

Click here to read the full article.

Learn more about Dr. Sarah Sperry here and view additional bpHope Ask the Doctor columns here