Sleep, we all need it and it is vital in enabling us mere mortals to function. That is without having to ply ourselves with copious amount of coffee and energy drinks to get us through the day. When you have bipolar it is paramount that we get an adequate amount of kip each night to keep us stable and well. However, when you’re hypo-manic the last thing on your agenda is to get your 7-9 hours’ sleep a night. I find that when I’m hypo-manic I find sleep is very much an overrated commodity and quite frankly a waste of my precious time. This is because when I’m hypo-manic there is a never-ending list of tasks and goals to achieve in the 24 hours that make up the day. If you spiral into mania sleep is history as you spend most of the time in a hallucinate like state where you have so much energy that you forget to even take a break to rest or sleep.

 The flip side of hypo-mania is the dreaded depression which for the majority of people makes them spend most of the day under the covers trying to hide away from the world, your problems and all forms of responsibility. The depression is stealthy it creeps in on you slowly, for example my 6 AM morning start, starts to get later and later before I’m barely getting up to make it in time for work. This lethargy that envelops you is hard to shrug off, it feels like everything you do is like wading through treacle. The more you sleep the less rested you feel, yet the energy it takes to do anything is just not there. By staying in bed, you realise you are doing more harm than good but the effort it takes to rise from your slumber is just too great. Therefore, trying to find a happy medium where you are getting adequate amounts of sleep can be quite challenging and requires discipline and mastery to get it just right.

Here is my list of ten sleep hygiene tips to help get you sleeping better.

1) No phones an hour before bedtime as the light that it emits can make it harder for the brain to switch off. I would recommend that to stay switched off and not tempted by your phone put it in another room.

2) Try and get into a regular habit of going to bed at the same time each night as well as getting up at the same time each day, as this will help your body get into a regular routine.

3) Avoid caffeine and nicotine 4-6 hours before bed as these substances act as a stimulant for your body and can interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep.

4) Avoid alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before bed time as alcohol contrary to most people’s beliefs actually interrupts and interferes with the quality of your sleep. It can also lead to reduced energy levels (Sorry to be a party pooper for those who like a drink or two or three during the week/weekend).

5) Taking your medication at a similar time each night can help you get to sleep better as well as help you stay consistent in taking it each day.

6) No use of any technology an hour before bed as computers,iPads and television stimulate the brain. Try reading or colouring instead.

7) Try using your bed solely for sleeping and not eating, watching TV, reading or doing work for example.   

8) Try to avoid napping as this can disrupt your sleep when you eventually go to bed.

9) Try doing breathing and mindfulness exercises before you go to bed as this will help to relax your mind and body.

10) Try not to eat too much before bed as this can interrupt sleep; at the same time try not to eat too little as you could awake in the night feeling hungry.