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The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep for People with Schizophrenia

Posted by Carson eCommerce Collaborator on January 12, 2018. 0 Comments

Although schizophrenia is discussed less often in the media than more prevalent mental conditions such as anxiety and depression, this disorder actually affects around 300,000 Canadians. Although it is challenging to live with, it is also highly treatable and in many cases, individuals can have productive, normal lives. As is the case with all mental conditions, there are specific obstacles that can exacerbate symptoms; one of these is poor sleep. In this post, we highlight these challenges and the ways they can be addressed.

How Does Schizophrenia Affect Sleep?

There are specific factors related to sleep that affect people with schizophrenia, one of which is abnormal circadian rhythms; in other words, they tend to feel wakeful when most people feel sleepy, and are often sleepier during the day. Thankfully, there are many treatment choices for people with schizophrenia, with over 15 medications available and cognitive behavioral therapy also showing improvements. Currently, insomnia is generally treated with medication as well as herbal remedies such as valerian root, wild lettuce, hops and passion flower.

Are there Natural Ways to Boost Sleep for People with Schizophrenia?

Although having schizophrenia inherently boasts challenges for sleep, there are steps that can be taken to enhance quality of sleep; one of these involves tackling issues that can exacerbate wakefulness, including stress, anxiety, and depression.

Exercise has been found to improve the quality of life for people with schizophrenia, one of its most powerful effects is its ability to lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, which is linked to both anxiety and depression when present at higher levels. Mindfulness based exercises like yoga are particularly efficient at battling stress and instilling a sense of calm and wellbeing.

Comfort is also key. A good bed, the right head pillow and a pillow which aligns hips and cushions knees without excess bulk, as well as curtains which block out light, can increase the sensation of sleepiness and improve sleep quality. Those who might be interrupted by noise, meanwhile, should try using wax ear plugs.

Structure is key for people with schizophrenia, who should work hard to maintain the same routine and to keep sleeping to night time, avoiding the temptation to take naps during the day.

Food can also play an important role; dinner should be light (to avoid late-night digestive discomfort), and stimulant drinks such as coffee and energy drinks should be avoided from the late afternoon onwards.

Finally, electronic devices and the television should be avoided right before sleeping, since they can keep us alert for longer than we wish to.

Although there are inherent challenges when it comes to sleep when schizophrenia is present, a blend of prescription medications (prescribed by a psychiatrist), natural supplements, and healthy lifestyle choices, can go a long way towards enjoying a better quality of life, and a better sleep.

 

Written by Jane Sandwood

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