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Why Sleep Is Essential for Me as Someone With a Mental Illness

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Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

It’s 10 p.m., as I pop the tablets out of their packaging, pour a glass of water and swallow all three. This has been my life for quite some time now. Since being diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at the age of 19, taking tablets has become my “normal.”

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I cannot stress enough the importance of getting enough sleep when living with a chronic mental health condition. Three pills and eight hours of sleep separates me from being admitted to a psychiatric unit.

For me, being disciplined enough to know what is good for me and what is not, allows me to keep myself relatively well.

I’m not saying miracles will happen. Sometimes, we can take these medications, get sleep, but still struggle with poor mental health. I’m saying, when struggling with a condition such as bipolar affective disorder, sleep is paramount to a more balanced mood and emotional outlook.

Here are some tips for a better night’s sleep:

1. Take a nice, long bath.

Running a nice long bath with essential oils such as lavender can help you feel more relaxed which will promote easier sleep.

2. Free yourself from digital distractions.

We all know how easy it is to scroll through our social media feeds until we fall asleep. As tempting as this may seem, putting down our devices and feeling more connected within ourselves not only can help us to feel more mindful, but also can help stop any consuming brain chatter.

3. Use sleep sprays.

Now in an ever-changing market, it is possible to buy sleep sprays. These sprays are designed to be sprayed directly onto your pillow and promote feelings of calmness and relaxation, making it easier for you to drift off.

4. Plan ahead.

If you know you have a big event coming up that may disrupt your sleep schedule, such as a party, try scheduling in an afternoon nap. This way you can try prioritizing your sleep by ensuring you get good sleep the next night. Ensuring you have good sleep for most of the week can help you maintain your well-being.

5. Turn off the light. 

It may seem like the obvious solution, but dimming or switching off the light at a set time not only can help you fall asleep faster, but also can prevent you from staying up too late.

Try some of these out and see.

Follow my journey on Threads of the Mind.

Getty image by bruniewska

Originally published: October 24, 2019
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