Four Health Factors to Consider with Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is an illness that needs pattern and routine. Even the slightest change in health-related habits can cause mood symptoms.1 Therefore, here are four health factors to consider in minding your disorder:
Reducing caffeine intake helps to support sleep, and sleep is an issue for many people who live with bipolar disorder, especially during a manic episode.1 Caffeine also increases anxiety, which can make a person feel as if they are exhibiting symptoms of panic.1 Therefore, it is a good idea to monitor your daily caffeine intake.1 Decaffeinated coffee, tea and soda will give you the same taste you crave, without the caffeine.1
Staying active reduces stress and anxiety.1 Plus, it also helps keep someone from feeling wound up.1 Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which stimulates hormones that make us feel good.1 Setting aside some time each day to do something active is important for patients with bipolar disorder.1
Water is critical to human life.1 We need it for our brains and bodies to function.1 Some of the medications people with bipolar disorder take can make them thirsty and dehydrated.1 Constantly reminding yourself to drink water throughout the day is important.1 Eight glasses is the recommended daily amount.1 Purchasing a water bottle that is large enough to hold a good percentage of your daily water need is helpful, and knowing that you need to drink two of them is easier than counting separate glasses.
Monitoring your sleep is important for people with bipolar disorder.1 Six to eight hours of sleep a night is the rule of thumb.1 Everyone has different sleep patterns, so using a chart or an app to record our sleep hours and quality of sleep is helpful.1 This way, you can assure yourself that you are getting the sleep required for you to function well.1 Also, monitoring your sleep can help you notice changes in mood.1 For example, when you begin to sleep 10 to 12 hours per day, you may be going into a depressive episode.1 Also, sleeping six hours or less per night may anticipate a manic episode.1
 Dawkins, K. (2014). Four Health Components to Consider with Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-life/2014/05/health-habits/