Irregular Sleep Patterns Can Trigger Manic Depression
by Julie Frey
episodes. Studies are showing that up to 60 percent of bipolar suffers who have
gone through a manic attack experience some sort of disruption in their normal sleep
cycle prior to having the attack.

We all have had experiences when at the most inconvenient time possible, we were
interrupted by life. Social rhythm disruptions, or SRDs, are life events that disrupt our
established routines such as a sleep pattern. In normal people, i.e., those not
suffering from bipolar disorder, this is not a big deal. We shrug it off and eventually
return to our regular patterns. In bipolar patients, however, a social rhythm
disruptions in their sleep pattern can directly trigger a manic attack.

This is why many health care professionals advise that their bipolar patients write up
a sleep schedule for themselves and keep to it. This means going to bed at the same
time each night and getting up at the same time each morning - even on weekends.
Keeping to this schedule will keep "social rhythm disruptions" to a minimum and
lessen the chances of a manic attack. As a general rule, following a sleep schedule
also means not taking a nap when you've had a hard time sleeping the previous
night. Taking a nap would simple be another form of social rhythm disruption and
would not help in the long term.

Lack of enough sleep will make anyone irritable and cranky. Most of us, however, will
simply be able to fall asleep the next night and "catch up on our sleep" and be
perfectly fine the next day. Bipolar people can not always do this. They may be
unable to go to sleep thus triggering a manic attack the next morning. The manic
attack will lessen their desire to sleep and they will not sleep much the next night
either. It is a frustrating and potentially deadly cycle.

It can be difficult for a bipolar person to keep to a sleep schedule without the help of
family members. Including family members in the treatment discussions with the
health care giver is good for everyone. It helps the family members to understand
how critically important it is that the bipolar sufferer keeps to a regular sleeping
routine. It helps the bipolar person by giving him emotional support and making him
feel less abnormal.

Strong family support is especially important when the bipolar sufferer is a teenager
who, in many; cases, is already going through a stressful period in his life at a time
when peer pressure tends to make outcasts of those that don't appear to be
normal. But even in adult cases of bipolar disease, the support of a loving family
cannot be over estimated.

About The Author

Julie Frey is webmaster of who writes articles
relating to
For a long time, it's been well
recognized among bipolar
researchers that mania and
depression can affect sleep patterns.
When a bipolar sufferer is
experiencing acute mania, he may be
too manic to sleep. Conversely, when
he is going through a depressive
episode, he may sleep too much and
literally not feel like getting out of bed.

What many researchers have
discovered as well is that the
manic/depressive cycle works both
ways. In other words, a lack of sleep
can potentially trigger manic
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