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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Bipolar Disorder, Daylight Savings, and You

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 19th 2010

daylight savings and moodSo, here we are once again. We've set our clocks forward and it's darker in the mornings and lighter into the evenings? For some who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) this is a welcome breath of fresh air, while for others who may suffer from bipolar disorder, it can be mean a disastrous tilt toward mania.

While there is an overfocus at times on the "disorders" that breeds stigmatization, it is a reality that people who struggle with bipolar disorder often experience real difficulty when it comes to daylight savings. When the circadian rhythm gets thrown out of whack we might begin to see difficulty sleeping, waking up, and even confusion around hunger. When you have bipolar disorder, a regular structure of sleep, exercise and diet is critical to help regulate balance.

Some people choose to take supplements of melatonin or stronger medications to get to sleep earlier to keep on track, while others simply try to push back each night by 15 minutes while practicing relaxing an hour before sleep (e.g., herbal tea, reading, bath).

At this point nobody truly knows the physiological reason why altering the circadian rhythm can have such dramatic effects on people, especially those with bipolar disorder.

The richest part of this blog post can come from a discussion surrounding how the time change affects you? Do you struggle with bipolar disorder, how do you work with daylight savings? Even if you don't have bipolar disorder, what are your tricks of the trade to get on track?

The discussion and interaction that ensure from this can create a rich dialogue for us all to learn and benefit from.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

BiPolar-sleep problem. - John S. - Mar 22nd 2010

I have found that what worked for me as bi-polar and mostly manic has been taking lithium for twenty years to calm me down and Clonazapam  (Klonipin) also for twenty years.  It doesn't matter how long or close to bedtime I take this, it seems as soon as my head hits the pillow I am off to a good RAMS sleep.  I even can take alcohol near the time with no repercussions.  Along with counseling from the VA this has been a lifesaver for me and only eight dollars for a thirty day supply.  I hopes this helps someone.  It has been like a miracle for me.

Lifelong Sleep Issues - kelly - Mar 19th 2010

I have an special fondness for this topic because I have struggled with sleep all my life - tending towards insomnia, inability to regulate falling asleep times, inability to remain asleep, and then hot flashes as peri-menopause set in. I am happy to say that I have found a solution (knock wood). I don't think medication is for everyone, however, I now take seroquel, combined with going to bed very early and allowing myself 8 - and sometimes 10 hours of in-bed sleep time. This has worked for me, and what a blessing, because, up until recently, sleep was torturous.

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