Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sleep Deprivation and OUR Mental Health

This is a part of living with autism that had faded in my memory over time; how much the lack of sleep effects my mental health. Its common for kids with ASD to have difficulties sleeping. Right now Nicky is not sleeping due to medication changes, so I'm not sleeping. I forgot how after about 3 consecutive days of not sleeping through the night I move beyond being a bit cranky and feeling like if the dogs don't stop barking I'll go mad and I begin sliding into the bad zone.  I do okay during the day, it's at night, when the house gets quiet that my brain starts working independent of reason, and starts having a party of it's own with special guest "emotional instability" things get complicated. It's like PMS on steroids. It's like living in an alternate reality where all the outcomes are bad. It's not attractive, it feels awful and it's not healthy.  

Thank goodness that unlike when sleep deprivation was first introduced into my life, I know when I'm in this state, the only thought I should act on is the one that tells me "Go To Sleep"!. I was able to wake up this morning (day 11 of the little or no sleep roller coaster) knowing the awful feelings were rooted in my lack of sleep. I don't need to toss out my life and get a new one. In the moment I just need to resist the urge to dump my big bag of distorted emotional stuff on anyone's doorstep, including my own, because that only makes it worse.I know everything will look better as soon as I get some sleep, so it can wait. It helps to know that.

Here are some links to check out, if you or anyone you know is suffering from sleep deprivation. Please share :) 

EMOTIONAL DAY AHEAD: A new study shows that after sleep-deprivation, people are more prone to act over-emotionally and irrationally, a finding that suggests that sleep may play a role in many psychiatric disorders.

or  Sleep Deprivation Leads to Emotional Instability Even in Healthy Subjects

or Ten Things To Hate About Sleep Loss


  1. Of course, one is at his/her best when he/she had enough sleep. :) Actually, sleep deprivation used to be a form of therapy by doctors who treated depression in the 1970's. According to Wirz-Justice of the Chronobiology and Sleep Laboratory at the Psychiatric University Clinic in Basel, Switzerland, sleep deprivation was shown to be effective in more than half the patients treated in many types of depression. However, they started reconsidering it when they realized that sleep deprivation can also lead to extreme depression, since an individual will be worried about his/her depression problems the whole night. I suggest you put Nicky to sleep earlier, so you'll have more time for yourself to sleep.

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