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Living with a Sleepless Mind

Restoril medications that make you sleep

Living with a Sleepless Mind adds stress to my life! Sleeping issues are normally one of the key factors in the identification of a mental health disorder. Granted, it is not the only factor, but it seems to come up a lot.

Some of the very first questions a therapist asks is “How are you sleeping?” Does identifying our sleep pattern really help identify our mental state or help with a diagnosis?

70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder and Dr. Oz says the most common complaints received in the medical community are regarding sleep issues. People say, “Dr., I am always tired. I just can’t sleep.” Dr. Oz continues:

“only a slim minority of the population tucks itself in at night for a blissful, restorative and essential 7-hour recharge…Fifteen percent of insomnia, defined as difficulty falling or staying asleep, is caused by physical-neuro dysfunctions, or sleep disorders, like narcolepsy, sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. Individuals suffering from these disorders should see a sleep specialist and be under a doctor’s watchful care. However, the other 85% of insomnia is disordered sleep, a similar sounding medical condition that defines the more common and widely felt lack of quality sleep.”

So, does identifying our sleep pattern really help identify our mental state or help with a diagnosis?  Yes, and no! Since a diagnosis should not be based on just one factor of our moods or our psychosis.  Instead, it is a “combination” of symptoms that help guide the diagnosis. Therefore, when everything is considered then a helpful treatment plan can begin that will no doubt include a way to improve our sleeping habits.

If you can’t sleep, you can’t get well… this goes for any type of condition whether it is a cold or a mental illness…sleep is important!

“it’s essential for our physical health and mental state, helping you look and feel younger, improving circulation, lowering blood pressure, reducing levels of stress and inflammation, strengthening your immune system, improving memory and helping control body weight.”

My diagnosis includes Bipolar disorder, and with that comes sleeplessness or insomnia.  It is a key factor for me.  Although my mania does not go as high as it once did – but that is the nature of Bipolar II – my sleep issue has gotten worse. Now I can’t sleep unless I’m medicated or just pass out from utter exhaustion.

Many others dealing with manic episodes can go without sleep for days or weeks. The sleep pattern is way off. Up all night. Going all day and just getting a couple hours of sleep here and there. Sometimes, it seems like it’s the fuel to the fire for mania. Yet, the other extreme – depression – drains you completely and sometimes you sleep all day.

Here are two examples of the lack of sleep or too much sleep being detrimental to our mental state. Dealing with insomnia caused by or linked to a mental disorder, some people have chosen different methods of coping or finding a solution. The obvious is to take a pill. Many medications are on the market today to help with that whether you deal with mental illness or not. Many medications are designed to make you sleep. Some use holistic medicines, vitamins and such. While others use the old fashioned standard of…counting sheep!  Whatever the case, sleep is important for being healthy and balanced.

I’m tired! Are you? Did you sleep well last night? I was up way too late again. It’s no surprise that sleep has an affect on mental health. Are you having trouble getting to sleep? Do you count sheep? What helps you get a good night sleep? Do you notice a difference in your mental well being when you get good sleep vs. not getting any? Let me know what helps you.

Living with a Sleepless Mind

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2020). Living with a Sleepless Mind. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Feb 2020
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