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Well the good news is that despite being exceptionally tired, I managed to get through yesterday’s hospital appointment relatively unscathed. Well apart from the massive amount of blood that was taken from me for testing, and the six-inch needle that was delicately inserted into my not so delicate gluteus maximus. Which I have to admit was a bit of a pain in the … (ok, so you get the picture)

Especially seeing as half-way through administering the injection the Doc remembered that he had forgotten to lock the consulting room door and so simply wandered off to lock it – leaving the needle based syringe just sticking out of me unsupported other than by that very long needle and it’s extremely wide target!

But then administering that particular treatment is a relatively lengthy process and I guess some form of decorum and sensitivity should always be observed especially when your patient is stood there with his trousers and underwear down around his ankles and his not so final resting place on full show!

The other bit of really good news is that all of the blood tests from my last visit came back showing really good numbers. Liver functionality, potassium levels, blood-glucose levels (a little high but nothing to worry about at this point), cholesterol levels etc all very good. So I a very pleased at the moment if not just a little tender and even more tired as a result of such a long day.

And talking of resting places and being tired, spending so much time at the hospital with little else to do did give me a chance to do some reading online and I came across an interesting study on Sleeplessness and Schizophrenia.

One paragraph in an article from – “Sleep Review” – ‘the journal for sleep specialists’ (which is actually a fully legitimate medical magazine and not just a periodical magazine for unemployed teenagers LOL) reads…

“We know many of the patients are essentially suffering persistent jet lag with their body clocks out of synch with day and night. This immediately opens up a lot of new avenues for research in understanding the links between sleep problems and mental ill-health. But regardless of whether or not there is a mechanistic link between the body clock and psychiatric conditions, it is clear that treating sleep problems could improve the lives of many patients,” said Russell Foster, head of the research team and professor at Oxford University.”

You can read more of this article here but it begins with the statement…

“British researchers have found that people with schizophrenia have profound disruptions in their sleep patterns, including irregular body clocks that are out of synch with the pattern of night and day. The researchers argue that the extent and severe nature of these long-term sleep problems should warrant treatment along with other symptoms of schizophrenia, as they have a strong impact on mood, social function, mental abilities, and quality of life.”

As a schizophrenic myself, and one who has (as regular readers of this blog will know) major problem with sleeplessness, I found this article extremely interesting and I truly believe that it could also have implications in respect of other mental illnesses.

One paragraph in this report which also especially attracted my attention  and which led me to the aforementioned conclusion was this one…

“The findings, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, showed a severe disruption in the sleep patterns of all 20 patients with schizophrenia enrolled in the study, despite their mood being stable and each being on a regular drug regime. “

“…despite their mood being stable and each being on a regular drug regime” now there is an interesting statement don’t you think?

The benefits of getting ‘adequate sleep’ have long since been discovered and accepted just as, I believe, the disadvantages or negative impact of not getting ‘adequate sleep’.  But I think we have to consider whether or ‘sleeping for x amount of hours’ automatically equates to getting ‘adequate sleep’?

The benefits of anti-psychotic drugs, mood-stabilizers and antidepressants are obvious.  But I can’t help wondering whether they remove all of the effects of mental illness on the brain or whether they, along with our own cognitive behavior, simply reduce them to a more manageable level?

And I ask this because if the latter is true then it certainly allows for the consideration that actually even whilst we are asleep our brains are still functioning in difficulty.  I raise this point because I think that many of us, myself included,   do or have at some point or another seen sleep as a respite from having to deal with our mental illness.

If indeed our brains are very much still – even though we are sleeping – suffering from the effects of our mental illness this will of course potentially have tremendous effects on the level of benefit we may gain from our sleep and thus on our over-all well-being.

Doing all we can, therefore, to enable or encourage good or ‘adequate’ sleep for ourselves as mental illness sufferers (or for those whom we love whom experience poor mental health), has got to be advisable therefore.  Because whilst we may not be able to totally control what happens to our brains whilst we are sleeping surely we can influence and to some degree control such things as; the environment in which we sleep, the levels and types of stressors we encounter and/or the number and types of stimulants we ingest or that we take in audibly or visually immediately prior to sleeping and the number of hours that we afford ourselves in which to sleep.  Because doing this perhaps we will increase our brain’s chances of actually getting the ‘adequate sleep’ that we so obviously require.

And that is certainly, in my opinion, something worth sleeping on!