Sleep Problems And Mental Illness

One of the early warning cues to future mental health problems is changes in sleep patterns.  I’ve been sleeping only five to six hours a night for the last two weeks.  I usually average eight hours a night.  Usually when I sleep too little, eventually I’ll have problems with irritability and anxiety.  When I sleep too much I’ll have problems with depression and lethargy.

While not needing much sleep usually allows me to be more productive, it comes at a price.  In time I’ll become more anxious and easily angered.  After dealing with mental illness problems for almost twenty years, I’ve come to recognize long term trends and problems before they arise.  One way I’m trying to get back into a more even sleep pattern is reducing caffeine.  This is a tough one for me as I love both coffee and black tea.  I also won’t eat at least four hours before bed because, for me, eating anything gives me a boost and makes me stay awake later.

But this time it isn’t the late nights that are the issue.  It’s the early starting mornings.  I have literally been awake before sunrise probably all but two days in the last two weeks.  Not sure what to make of this.  I’m thinking it’s possible that all these years I was convinced I was a night owl was really my caffeine addiction talking.  If I was smarter, I’d go a couple days without any caffeine and see if that resets my sleep patterns.

In short, my sleep patterns have been heavily slanted to not getting much sleep lately.  I can tell it’s starting to take it’s toll.  I’ve been slightly more irritable, anxious, and more short tempered than usual.  It’s time to change this trend before it leads to more serious issues.


2 thoughts on “Sleep Problems And Mental Illness

  1. My sleep was all out of whack about a month ago. I mean, I was staying up all day and night, sleeping only a few hours, Up when the sun came up, I’d go around town and do my work but my anxiety and depression were through the roof.
    No, I was not on drugs of any kind. 🙂

    I just recently got back from a trip to Eureka where I only slept about 10 hours in 3.5 days, my buddy, (a long haul trucker) and I went on a run.

    Why did I mention all that? Well, since that trip, I have gotten my sleep schedule back on track, sleeping “normal hours” from, 00:00 to about 08:00. Yes!

    Check out my Eureka Trip I documented the whole thing!

    • Sounds like you had some serious sleep problems. When I was in college and having my first psychotic breaks, I was sleeping maybe two hours a night for two weeks straight. My sleep schedule was unsustainable, as I’m sure your sleep schedule was. It often does take doing something different to break the spiral. Yours was a run with a trucker friend, mine was a near complete psychotic break. I should have committed myself, but I just a few days away from school and recouped. I’ll check out your link. Thanks.

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