Friday, October 29, 2004

Sleep Hygeine

In the interest of actually improving my condition instead of just analyzing it, I figured that I should look at some of the stuff therapists, doctors and old grandmothers tell us that we should do to make our lives better.

For me, one of the first ways that I know my life is out of balance is the amount of sleep my body craves. When I'm up, my body wants about 5-7 hours and when I'm down, my body begs for 10+ hours. I can track my sleep habits and the corresponding mood shifts easily when I look at the macro-trends of my mood chart.

Since I'm in a 10+ phase at the moment, I've been pondering what the professionals say about how much sleep I should be getting. Apparently, 8 hours a night is the general consensus and some contend that the number of hours is less important than having a regular pattern. Some folk even posit that electrical lights are to blame for activating bipolar disorder.

Anyway, I've been trying to reset my Circadian rhythym so I sleep from 10:30-7:30. I figure 9 hours should be plenty of sleep for a gal like me. But I've been having problems keeping my eyes open when I read. I find myself sinking into bed for afternoon naps. I get irritable and generally cranky by 8 pm because I want to get to sleep.

There are hypothetical answers to these problems. I could sleep more. I could chug caffeine in the hope that it would stimulate wakefulness and not crankiness.

Harumph. I think that I have a lot of good ideas when it comes to helping myself deal with bipolar disorder. But having the ideas is certainly not the same thing as implementing them. I guess I'll keep trying to maintain my sleep routine as best as I can.

Of course, travel and the holidays are never conducive to a solid schedule but I'll try nontheless. I suppose it only makes sense to start with the most elementary aspects of our lives first. I mean, I guess I need to exert some kind of control over how long I'm asleep before I can have an influence over what I do with my waking hours.