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Some readers may remember that back in January of this year I was reflecting on the difficulties that I experience in respect of sleep.

At tha time (January 19th 2012) I published a piece containing a 3 part poll asking folk to participate in them in order that we may get a better idea of how Bipolar disorder may be affecting our sleep patterns.  That post can be found here Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns – New Poll

Now I should emphasise at this point that I am neither experienced at deigning polls, a statistician, nor a researcher nor am I a doctor.  I am just an ordinary joe with a keen interest in understanding more about my mental health and in helping others who want to do the same with their mental health.

Some time later I announced that the poll would be closing soon and I promised to publish the results.  Well, as the title of this piece suggests  here is the fulfilment of that promise and indeed those results…

But first a little housekeeping….

Despite the three parts of the poll all appearing in the same piece and their being worded in such a way as to encourage progressive participation throughout the three parts it would appear that no everyone completed the three parts and that some folk completed just some parts.  This does of course affect the outcome of the results in some ways but given the fact that this is not part of formal research and is only a casual poll I think there is still some validity in the results.  Which are as follows…

POLL 1 – Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns 1 – Getting To Sleep

Participants – 18

This section looked at actually getting to sleep in the first place and the results are, I think, very interesting.

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns Figure 1a

As figure 1a above shows: Of the 18 people participating 6% (1 participant) did not have Bipolar Disorder, And of those who did have Bipolar Disorder:  33% (6 participants) experienced no problems getting to sleep, 0% (no participants) experienced problems getting to sleep only one night per week, 28% (5 participants) experienced difficulties getting to sleep twice per week an a further 33% (6 participants) experienced difficulties getting to sleep more than twice per week.

The figures are very interesting to me as they would seem to indicate a high probability for folk with Bipolar Disorder to experience some difficulties getting to sleep and for said difficulties (where present) to be more than just on one night per week. (NONE of those participants with Bipolar Disorder who experienced problems getting to sleep reported doing so only once per week).  And an even clearer and more impressive picture can be seen in Figure 1b below which simply splits these into – Participants who have no Bipolar Disorder, Participants with Bipolar Disorder experiencing difficulties getting to sleep and Participants with Bipolar Disorder NOT experiencing difficulties getting to sleep..

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns Figure 1b

Of the participants with Bipolar Disorder, there are nearly twice as many experiencing difficulties getting to sleep as those who did not.

POLL 2 – Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns 2 – Staying Asleep

Participants – 17

The next section of this small casual study looked at difficulties staying asleep once asleep and specifically asked participants to consider times that they awoke outside of ‘ just in order to use the bathroom’

As mentioned above only 17 folk participated in this poll

However, whilst this is regrettable, I think th results are still interesting..

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns Figure 2a

Of the 17 participants of this section, 6% (one participant) did not have Bipolar Disorder. 35% (6 participants) did not experience difficulties staying asleep [outside of just waking up to use the bathroom] Some 6% (one participant) experienced difficulties staying asleep by waking up once per night [outside of just waking up to use the bathroom]. A further 35% (6 participants) experienced difficulties staying asleep by waking up twice per night [outside of just waking up to use the bathroom]. With a further 18% (3 participants) experienced difficulties staying asleep by waking up more than twice per night [outside of just waking up to use the bathroom].

So again breaking these figures down to; those who reported not having Bipolar Disorder, those reporting to have Bipolar Disorder but experiencing no difficulties staying asleep [outside of just having to use the bathroom] and those reporting to have Bipolar Disorder AND experiencing difficulties staying asleep [outside of just having to use the bathroom] , gives us an equally interesting picture…

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns Figure 2b

Again in figure 2b above we can see that the number of participants reporting to have Bipolar Disorder and also experiencing difficulties staying asleep, once asleep, and outside of just waking in order to use the bathroom is much higher than those who don’t.  Again it is around (but in this case just under) the twice as many mark.

Which brings us to the last section…

POLL 3 – Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns 2 – Benefits of Sleep

Participants – 18

Somewhat frustratingly, as will be seen below, of the 18 participants in this section, this time 2 participants reported to not having Bipolar Disorder. This, along with the variance in the numbers of participants in the previous two sections, brings into question whether all of the participants of this section are the same participants as those in the previous sections.

Of course one participant could easily have miss-voted. But that still doesn’t explain the variance in the number of total participants in each section.  additionally I should explain that in order to encourage participation, when setting up this short casual study I made it so that voter identity would remain private.

However, as I have said before, whilst unfortunate there is still, I believe, something to be gained from these figures….

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patters Figure 3a

This section looked at the benefits of sleep for Bipolar Disorder suffers and the results show that; 11% (2 participants) reported not having Bipolar Disorder. 17% (3 participants) reported to having Bipolar Disorder and fully benefiting from sleep. 39% (7 participants) reported to having Bipolar DIsorder and waking still a little tired. 11% (2 Participants) reported to waking still very tired but being able to just deal with it. With a further 22% (4 participants)  reported to having Bipolar DIsorder and waking still very tired and having to take a nap/sleep during the day.

Again these figures are interesting and would seem to indicate the very real potential effects of Bipolar Disorder on sleep patterns.  As we have done before let us break down these figures into those participants without Bipolar DIsorder, those with Bipolar Disorder and who do report to fully benefitting from sleep and those with Bipolar Disorder who report not fully benefiting fully from sleep…

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep Patterns Figure 3b

Of all the results and illustrations offered as a result of this short casual study I think this is the most impressive in terms of the comparison.  And I have to say that even though I myself suffer from Bipolar Disorder and do indeed have extreme difficulties with sleep patterns I am still somewhat shocked by this result.

As I said in my original post on this subject, this study came about as a casual bit of fun resulting from my becoming increasingly interested in the effects of Bipolar Disorder on sleep patterns and I readily and totally accept that it is neither scientifically controlled or valid as proof positive in respect of this question.  For example nowhere in the poll are participants asked about other potentially influencing factors.

BUT I do think you would be hard pressed to totally discount these results and I do still think there was benefit to the exercise and indeed some validity in the conclusions that we are able to draw from it.

I for one am convinced that…

The presence of Bipolar Disorder CAN have a direct impact on a person’s ability to a) get to sleep, b) stay asleep once asleep and c) fully benefit from that sleep.

Furthermore, I am convinced that folk who are diagnosed with this disorder need to be advised of these potentials and that these factors should be fully considered in respect of the management of this condition/disorder.

In all honesty, I am not fully aware of just how much research into this subject has already been undertaken (although I am aware of some related research presently being undertaken by one of the folk following this blog) or indeed whether it is already commonly included in the discussions held when a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is made.  I can of course only speak of my own experience and indeed those experiences of other folk who have been kind enough to share with me.  But I can say that I am aware of having any such discussion concerning sleep patterns when I was finally diagnosed.with Bipola Disorder.

So in conclusion I would like to make two more statements.

Firstly it is my fervent hope that this whole albeit somewhat casual and limited study will in some way or other benefit others who suffer from Bipolar Disorder and help in the management of their condition, and

Secondly I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those who took time to participate in this.  It really did and does mean a lot to me.

I really hope that you have found it as informative and interesting as I have and that it will go on to stimulate much more discussion and even research into this subject.

Kind Regards.

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