Sleep and mood in bipolar disorder

October 12, 2017
Sleep and mood in bipolar disorder
Credit: Cardiff University

Sleep loss can trigger relapse, particularly in the form of mania, in people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, finds a study by Cardiff University.

The new research, led by Cardiff University PhD student Katie Lewis, from the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), suggests that one in four individuals with may be at risk of an episode of high following sleep loss.

Understanding what factors influence the relationship between sleep and mood episodes could help predict which individuals are most likely to relapse following periods of sleep deprivation, for example, because of long-haul travel or shift work. It could also inform self-management techniques such as e-monitoring.

This is the largest study to date reporting on the prevalence of sleep loss as a trigger in individuals with bipolar disorder and the first study to examine sleep loss as a trigger of both manic and depressive episodes in a large sample of individuals with bipolar disorder.

The large sample size made it possible for the team to examine whether bipolar subtype (type 1 or type 2), as well as gender, could affect people's vulnerability to sleep loss. Type 1 and type 2 bipolar subtypes can both represent serious conditions, however the main difference between type 1 and type 2 bipolar disorder is that people with type 1 tend to have more severe episodes of high mood, possibly requiring hospitalisation.

Katie Lewis from Cardiff University, who led the research, explained: "We found that 20% of people with bipolar disorder reported that sleep loss had triggered episodes of high mood, whereas 12% reported that sleep loss had triggered episodes of low mood.

"A tendency for sleep loss to trigger episodes of high mood was more likely among women and people with type 1 bipolar disorder..."

In the study, Katie and her colleagues interviewed 3,140 individuals, drawn as a sample from the Bipolar Disorder Research Network. People were recruited from across the UK, through NHS community mental health teams and patient support organisations such as Bipolar UK.

It is unclear why some individuals become depressed following and others become manic. It is possible that other triggers associated with relapse in bipolar disorder, such as stressful or exciting life events, medication use or interpersonal conflict, may coincide with the sleep loss that people experience.

Katie concluded: "Future research could potentially look at the role genes play in determining which people are particularly vulnerable to triggering episodes of illness."

The study 'Sleep loss as a trigger of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: individual differences based on diagnostic subtype and gender' is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The team at the National Centre for Mental Health are currently taking this work further by directly measuring sleep using activity monitors, and are keen to hear from anyone with bipolar disorder who would like to help with the research. For more information, see www.ncmh.info/sleep-bipolar-disorder/

Explore further: For women with bipolar disorder, sleep quality affects mood

More information: Katie Swaden Lewis et al. Sleep loss as a trigger of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: individual differences based on diagnostic subtype and gender, The British Journal of Psychiatry (2017). DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.117.202259

Related Stories

For women with bipolar disorder, sleep quality affects mood

June 30, 2015
Poor sleep is associated with negative mood in women with bipolar disorder, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and University of Michigan Medical School.

Women and men may have different bipolar disorder biomarkers

July 11, 2017
Men and women react differently to compounds associated with immune system response to bipolar disorder, according to an international team of medical researchers. The findings suggest that bipolar disorder could one day ...

Adults with bipolar disorder at equal risk for anxiety or depression following mania

May 3, 2016
Adults with bipolar disorder are just as likely to develop anxiety as depression following an episode of mania, according to data from a national survey of more than 34,000 adults. This finding, published today in Molecular ...

Scientists detect inherited traits tied to sleep, wake, and activity cycles

December 28, 2015
In the first study of its kind, a team of international scientists led by UT Southwestern Medical Center and UCLA researchers have identified a dozen inherited traits related to sleep, wake, and activity cycles that are associated ...

Study explores bipolar in postpartum period

November 8, 2013
Researchers have long connected mood disorders and pregnancy. But a study coming out of Western is boiling down some of the specifics, suggesting women who suffered from depression prior to pregnancy should be monitored for ...

Recommended for you

Probing how Americans think about mental life

October 20, 2017
When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us

October 19, 2017
Snakes and spiders evoke fear and disgust in many people, even in developed countries where hardly anybody comes into contact with them. Until now, there has been debate about whether this aversion is innate or learnt. Scientists ...

Dutch courage—Alcohol improves foreign language skills

October 18, 2017
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University and King's College London, shows that bilingual speakers' ability to speak a second ...

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism

October 18, 2017
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate ...

Study suggests psychedelic drugs could reduce criminal behavior

October 18, 2017
Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin (often called magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (found in peyote) are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behavior, according to new research from investigators ...

Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression

October 18, 2017
Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago have found evidence that a probiotic given in pregnancy can help prevent or treat symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.