Bipolar Disorder and Insomnia – A Bad Combination

If you have Bipolar Disorder, you are all too aware of the severe problems with insomnia that can accompany this condition. Insomnia can interfere with the enjoyment of your life, working effectively at your job, and the quality of your relationships. What are some things that you can do to help get better sleep if you have Bipolar Disorder?


Stabilize Your Circadian Rhythms

People with bipolar disorder are susceptible to changes in their daily routines and their sleep-wake cycles. It is easy to get off track by going getting up early or going to bed late. Try to make changes and see if you can sleep better:

  • Avoid daytime naps. Taking naps can throw off your 24-hour sleep cycle.
  • Go to sleep at a specific time every night, and get up at the same time every morning. See if you can get 6 to 8 hours of continuous, uninterrupted sleep.
  • Remember the Fundamental Bed Rule: Beds are for sleeping and sex only! Never use your bed for anything else, such as watching television, reading a book, or resting in the daytime. As a result, your brain will associate your bed with sleep.
  • Make small habits during the daytime and follow them every day. Have a snack, go to the gym, or make breakfast at the same time every day.


Try engaging in mentally and physically stimulating activities early in the day, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Writing, physical events, meetings, and group projects
  • Demanding work activities
  • Activities that require a lot of driving, walking, and intense interaction with others

Engage in quieter activities at night, such as:

  • Reading
  • Relaxing
  • Sewing
  • Listening to Music

Get your body and brain revved up during the day to combat sleepiness and fatigue, and try soothing your body down in the evening, to prepare for bedtime.

bipolar disorder

Use Sleeping Medications if Necessary

Many medications can be used to help get a good night’s sleep. Some are also used to treat bipolar disorder itself, so you may want to discuss this option with your doctor. Try to avoid medications that are habit-forming if at all possible.

Consider Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is an excellent option to address stress, anxiety, depression, or other factors that may be interfering with your sleep. A psychologist may also be able to give you specific exercises or homework to improve your quality of sleep.

Although insomnia is a widespread problem for people with bipolar disorder, there are many things that you can do to minimize or eliminate insomnia. Try a few of the tips here and see if they don’t help you get better sleep.

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