Manic Monday: Power of Sleep

This Monday I dedicate this post to myself. For almost 10 months I have had severe sleep deprivation, but have hung on, clung to, and gripped for dear life to my sanity so that I may be a better mother to my daughter, and continue to nurse her. Almost 10 months! I didn’t know if I would be able to be a good  parent for a few days or few months while on medications, let alone off of them in order to nurse. I am doing pretty well. While I am not able to dedicate as much time to blogging as I would like, I can at least focus on some good things every once in awhile.

My Life Today

Over the years I have learned more about the restorative powers of sleep. What is more important is how bad sleep, or lack of sleep, would cause me to cycle more.

This is different for everyone, with or without a mental illness. Being an ultradian cycler (swinging back and forth from happy to sad several times a day) lack of sleep would either send me into depression or my hypermania would become worse and my cycling would speed up to swinging several times an hour. An exhausting way to live. Often my medications compacted or made side effects worse.

What is important to note is that hypermania often induced insomnia. Can we call it a vicious circle? So sleep medications were given regularly. Usually an antipsychotic. My anxiety shoots sky high if I didn’t get good sleep. I believe this is still true… if I don’t get sleep than I tend to worry. Sometimes worrying about the fact I didn’t get good sleep. (Stupid, I know. But I had to perseverate on something, right?) In the past, I would be unable to get out of bed let alone the house. It was scary and detrimental to my ability to work.
So, to say sleep is important is really too simple. There are many studies sighting the effects of lack of sleep on mental illness, or mental illness effecting lack of sleep.  Either way, it is important to note that my lack of sleep has reduced me to blethering idiot and crying fits at times.  Compound this with bordering on post partum psychosis. In fact, lack of sleep might be the root cause of post partum psychosis. I thought I would provide some information regarding this issue, in case anyone would be interested in learning more.

Sleep Loss and PostPartum Psychosis “It is argued that sleep loss resulting from the interaction of various putative causal factors may be the final common pathway in the development of psychosis in susceptible women. Clinical significance of these findings, including strategies to prevent postpartum psychosis, are discussed and suggestions are made for future research directions.” Sharma, V. and Mazmanian, D. (2003), Sleep loss and postpartum psychosis. Bipolar Disorders, 5: 98–105. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-5618.2003.00015.x

Canadian Medical Association Journal “The only possible exception is puerperal psychosis, which emerges much more often in women with a personal or family history of a bipolar affective disorder than in women without, a finding that probably explains the reluctance of some researchers to recognize puerperal psychotic episodes as distinct from psychotic episodes at other times.” G E Robinson, D E Stewart, CMAJ. 1986 January 1; 134(1): 31–37.

Healthy Sleep Bipolar and Sleep Disorders

Sleep Medicine Reviews

General Psychiatry Archives

3 thoughts on “Manic Monday: Power of Sleep

  1. Oh, I know exactly how you feel. My middle son had severe reflux and he didn’t sleep more than two consecutive hours for his first 15 months! I had severe post-partum depression and some (I’m pretty sure) post-partum psychosis that I would definitely say was caused by sleep deprivation. I also have rapid cycling bipolar, but hadn’t been diagnosed at that time.

    There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep and then worrying about the fact that you can’t sleep. And when he slept, I couldn’t sleep because I was waiting for him to wake up. I actually cried when I found out I was pregnant again because I was so scared I would lose my mind entirely. Luckily, we got #2’s reflux under control and #3 slept really well or I would probably be in a padded room somewhere!

    • Awesome, Chelle!! There is still hope for me!! I am actually really looking forward to kid #2 and on!!! I know… weird, but I love this job!! The anxiety about not sleeping is a killer, but I think I am doing better with this now. If I was working, probably wouldn’t be doing so well.
      Hugs to you.

      • Yes, you will sleep again. When they are teenagers, mostly! I’m almost to the point where I don’t have to get up in the morning with them. I figure another year or two at the most. (My youngest is 13, but has autism.)

        I worked until my middle son was a year old and he got chicken pox. Then I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was going to either kill myself or someone else!


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