Bipolar disorder is characterized by transitions between depression and mania. Credit: Wikipedia
New research from Western Sydney University has revealed that simple self-care strategies, such as spending time with animals and getting enough sleep, are helpful for people managing bipolar disorder symptoms.
The research, published in Clinical Psychologist this week, involved 80 participants with bipolar disorder reviewing the frequency and perceived helpfulness of 69 self-care strategies. These strategies were diverse, and included things such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol, practising yoga and finding things that make you laugh.
The study found that an increased engagement in self-care strategies was associated with improved quality of life, reduced the impact of the illness, and reduced depression, anxiety and stress. Getting enough sleep was the most commonly rated strategy as “very helpful,” with “spending time with pets,” also rating highly.
Lead researcher, honours student Edward Wynter from Western Sydney University’s School of Social Sciences and Psychology, says the study provides encouraging findings about the relationship between self-care and important functional and symptomatic outcomes, i.e. the ability of these strategies to alleviate the impact of the disorder.
“The benefits of self-care have been reported in other chronic illnesses, but bipolar disorder research has focused primarily on medication management,” Mr Wynter says.
“This research reveals support for strategies already well known to professionals and people living with bipolar disorder, including those relating to quality and quantity of sleep, and drug and alcohol abstinence; but this study also highlights the effectiveness of several strategies yet to be explored such as spending time with pets and engaging in creative pursuits.”
Mr Wynter says he hopes this research leads to further exploration of self-care strategies used by people living with bipolar disorder, and their relationship with long-term quality of life.
“I hope that knowledge of effective strategies can inspire proactive therapeutic engagement and empower people living with bipolar disorder to improve their health and wellbeing,” he says.
For this reason, coming up with effective therapies is paramount.
New research points to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a potential culprit for treatment resistant depression and suggests that screening for and treating the sleep condition may alleviate symptoms of depression.
Dr. William V. McCall — chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University — is the first and corresponding author of the study.
He says, “No one is talking about evaluating for [OSA] as a potential cause of treatment resistant depression, which occurs in about 50% of [people] with major depressive disorder.”
The researchers point out that underlying conditions — such as hypothyroidism, cancer, and carotid artery disease — may often be the cause of treatment resistant depression.
Therefore, many people with depression undergo a series of invasive and costly tests in an attempt to figure out the cause of depression treatment failure.
Such tests may include an MRI scan or even a spinal tap — but Dr. McCall and team urge for sleep tests first. “I am thinking before we do a spinal tap for treatment resistant depression, we might need to do a sleep test first,” he says.
“We know that [people] with sleep apnea talk about depression symptoms,” he goes on. “We know that if you have [OSA], you are not going to respond well to an antidepressant.”
“We know that if you have sleep apnea and get [a CPAP machine], it gets better and now we know that there are hidden cases of sleep apnea in people who are depressed and [have] suicidal [tendencies].”
Dr. William V. McCall
However, the study authors also acknowledge that other factors — such as the side effects of other medications, including beta-blockers and corticosteroids — may cause treatment resistant depression.
They also point out that suicidal tendencies are also a key factor, and the researchers suggest that a further area of investigation should be the question of whether or not treating sleep apnea will also reduce suicide ideation.
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(CNN)He snores until the walls rattle. She gives off a massive amount of body heat. One of you is a cover hog, kicks at night or takes consistent 3 a.m. bathroombreaks. Maybe you sleepwalk or suffer from insomnia. The list of reasons why your bed partner might be keeping you up at night could be long and as dreary as your mood when you drag yourself from bed each morning.
When it comes to your health, that’s nothing to yawn at: Being deprived of a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and dementia, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There’s an emotional toll as well, said sleep specialist Wendy Troxel, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation who authored “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep.”
“Sleep deprivation can affect key aspects of relationship functioning, like your mood, your level of frustration, your tolerance, your empathy, and your ability to communicate with your partner and other important people in your life,” Troxel said.Poor sleep — and that resulting crummy mood — makes people “less able to engage in ‘perspective taking,’ or putting small adverse events in context,” said sleep specialist Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in the division of sleep medicine for Harvard Medical School, who coauthored the book “Sleep for Success!”
That strain can contribute to depression, anxiety, and other emotional and relationship dysfunction, Robbins said.
Sleep training for adults prevents depression, study findsResearch done by Troxel and her team found that a well-rested person is “a better communicator, happier, more empathic, more attractive and funnier” — all traits that are key to developing and sustaining strong relationships, she said.Sleeping apart can help couples be happier, less resentful and more able to enjoy their time together in bed, particularly on weekends when work demands are lighter, Troxel said.”I tell couples to try to think of it not as a filing for sleep divorce, but as forging a sleep alliance,” she added. “At the end of the day, there is nothing healthier, happier and even sexier than a good night of sleep.”https://www.cnn.com/audio/player?episodeguid=85e00da6-889c-4c66-a203-adb70011ee08&parentOrigin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com&canonicalUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2021%2F12%2F04%2Fhealth%2Fsleep-divorce-wellness%2Findex.html
Rule out underlying sleep issues
Sleep partners are often the ones to flag signs of sleep disorders and encourage their loved one to visit a doctor or sleep specialist. Undiagnosed, sleep disorders may well harm you and your partner’s future health.That’s why experts say it’s best to check with a sleep specialist to rule out and treat any underlying condition before you leave your loved one’s bed — you may well be the key to identifying and treating a true health issue.
Once any serious health issue is ruled out, couples who find it emotionally bonding to sleep in the same bed may wish to try some practical coping tips before making the decision to sleep apart, Troxel said. No alcohol please. If you struggle with insomnia, cut out alcohol well before bed, experts say. It may appear to be helping you sleep, but booze actually causes middle of the night awakenings that can be hard to overcome. Snorers should eliminate alcohol as well, Troxel said, “because as everyone probably knows, if you sleep with a snorer and they have one too many drinks, the snoring will be much worse that night.” That’s because the alcohol further relaxes the throat muscles, encouraging that loud snore.
Keep your brain sharp by finding your sleep ‘sweet spot,’ study saysThis is where partners can be powerful and beneficial sources of what experts call “social control,” Troxel said.”If you’re prone to drinking but you know that the consequences are not only going to bad for your sleep, but your partner’s sleep as well, then maybe you’ll be more motivated to cut back a bit,” she said.Raise the head. For snoring, try sleeping on additional pillows or using an adjustable bed — anything that raises the head to keep the throat open, Troxel said.”For many people snoring tends to be worse when they are flying flat on their backs, so raising the head a little bit can be useful,” she said.If the underlying issue is congestion, try adding a humidifier to the room, she added. “Some people have had success with over-the-counter nasal strips to keep the airway open.”Drown the sound. Survival 101 for dealing with a snoring partner is trying to deafen the noise, Troxel said. Try ear plugs and run a fan or white noise machine.Try sleep scheduling. A snorer who sleeps with a partner with insomnia can help that partner get more sleep by going to bed later than their partner, Troxel said.”For example, a snorer can delay their bedtime by a half an hour to an hour,” Troxel said. “That allows the partner to fall into a deeper stage of sleep and possibly stay that way once the snorer comes to bed.”Turn the snorer. Sleeping on the back is the worse position for snoring, because the soft tissues of the mouth and tongue collapse into the throat. As the sleeper unconsciously forces air past those soft tissues, snores emerge.
How to fall asleep more quickly — the healthy way“If you can keep someone on their side, that can attenuate the snoring,” Robbins said. “I’ve heard of all kinds of creative techniques, such as putting a bra on the snorer in reverse and then putting tennis balls in the cups.”Full support body pillows may be an option, if they stay in place, said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.”I’m a fan of the simple things, but if you want to purchase something we’ve come a long way from sewing tennis balls into the back of our pajamas,” Dasgupta said. “You can buy a strap-on to your back that has little protruding foam-like things which are supposed to make you sleep on your side.”And there are some FDA-approved devices that strap to the throat or chest and provide vibrations designed to go off when you are on your back, prompting a move to side-sleeping.”
Time for separate rooms?
You’ve tried it all, and good sleep is still a distant dream. At this point, there’s no reason not to do what is best for each of you to get the quality sleep you need — especially since there are other ways to nurture a relationship besides sharing a bed.
The best alarm clocks of 2021 (CNN Underscored)“Couples can still make the bedroom a sacred space, even if they choose not to actually sleep together,” Troxel said. “You can develop pre-bedtime rituals and use that time to actually connect with your partner instead of being independently on a phone or laptop or whatnot. “She encourages couples to spend quality time together before bed, sharing details of the day and sending positive messages to each other. “We know self-disclosure is good for relationships, it’s good for sleep,” Troxel said. “If you tell your partner you’re grateful for them, that’s a deep form of connection. Gratitude is good for relationships, it’s good for sleep.”
Nor does a “sleep divorce” have to mean separate beds every night, Troxel said. It could be just the workweek, with weekends spent in the same bed. It could be every other night — the options are as unique as each couple. “There truly is not a‘one-size-fits-all’ sleeping strategy for every couple,” Troxel said. “It’s really about finding the strategy that’s going to work best for the two of you.”
You’re probably aware of how life-threatening sleep apnea can be. It has been linked to anything from stroke and heart attack to some types of cancer. But according to a new study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, there is one scenario in which having sleep apnea can be tremendously beneficial.
Sleep Apnea can actually save your life!
These scientists picked two groups of mice and divided them by age into a group roughly corresponding to the same age as human teenagers and another group corresponding to humans age 65 and older. When comparing the two groups, they could clearly see that the intermittent lack of oxygen involved in sleep apnea sped up tumor growth in the young mice, although this did not occur in the older mice. So age seems to be a protective factor against aggressive tumor growth that is caused by intermittently low oxygen levels.
They couldn’t elucidate why this happens, except to suggest that immune system cells inside the tumors within young and old bodies respond differently to low oxygen conditions.
Immune system cells called macrophages are present in tumors; they are often responsible for most of the inflammation that occurs in these tumors. For a reason that remains poorly understood, these macrophages are not as aggressive in older bodies as they are in younger ones when responding to a low-oxygen environment.
This might be why previous studies on the association between sleep apnea and cancer have been rather mixed. If age affects the relationship, then different studies will reach different conclusions.
Another factor that might have confused researchers is that different types of cancer respond differently to the lack of oxygen. Researchers from the University of Barcelona specifically looked at lung cancer, but other cancers may not necessarily respond the same way.
This new study might thus clear up some of this confusion with its finding that the bodies of cancer sufferers at different ages may respond differently to intermittent oxygen deprivation.
Regardless of age or other factors, cancer is probably the least of your worries if you suffer from sleep apnea, as there are more urgent complications connected to this disease.
VeryWell: Sleep apnea can take a toll on the hormonal balances in the male body, leading to problems including erectile dysfunction.
Numerous studies have linked healthy sleep to healthy sex. While sleep deprivation can cause mood and relationship problems, the bigger issue is how sleep disorders can affect the production of hormones like testosterone. Sleep disorders are a leading cause of sexual problems.
Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing when you are sleeping. When this happens, it may disturb you enough to wake you up completely, but your sleep is usually disturbed whether you fully wake up or not. Testosterone production rises when you fall asleep and peaks during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Research points to the fragmented sleep of people who suffer from sleep apnea as being a contributor to sexual problems like erectile dysfunction.
Around 4% of men ages 30–60 experience erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is more common in men with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than those without OSA.
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If you are a truck driver, or if you have a job that mandates you treat your sleep apnea, you may want to think about having back up therapy for your OSA. That could include a second CPAP or an alternative to CPAP, such as oral appliance therapy. Some of our patients that use CPAP, have an oral appliance they use when they experience power outages, go camping or use for general travel when they do not want to carry their CPAP,
Overdrive: In the wake of the Philips CPAP recall, an Oregon-based truck driver has filed a class action lawsuit due to not being able to work while not being treated for sleep apnea.
Philips, which also manufactures light bulbs and various electronics, issued the recall on June 14. The recall was intended to address the polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam, which is used to reduce sound and vibration in the affected devices. The material may break down and potentially enter the device’s air pathway. A full list of affected devices can be seen here.
This presents a critical decision for truckers with sleep apnea using affected Philips devices and their treating physicians. Such haulers can stop using the device and wait for the recall to play out to have the device repaired or replaced, or try to purchase a new device. Alternatively, they might continue using an affected device and take a chance with the potential health risks that prompted the recall.
Gerry Shelton, a truck driver based in Boring, Oregon, filed a class action lawsuit on June 29 against Philips seeking a refund, replacement with a non-defective device, costs for ongoing medical monitoring, and all other appropriate damages for all the injuries he has suffered as a result of his defective device.
According to the lawsuit, Shelton was diagnosed with sleep apnea and purchased a Philips Dreamstation BiPAP machine in 2020. Because of the recall, he allegedly was forced to stop using the machine, the lawsuit states, which also forced him to stop driving a truck “because he cannot drive with untreated sleep apnea.” The lawsuit also claims Shelton went into atrial fibrillation (increased and irregular heartbeat) as a result of not using the machine.