Schizophrenia Infographic 2

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that impacts a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It typically begins in the late teens or early 20s and affects about 1 in 100 individuals. Psychosis is a common symptom, causing a loss of reality and various issues such as delusions, hallucinations, and abnormal behavior.

People with mental illness often experience sleep problems, which can be a warning sign of onset or relapse and make managing the condition more difficult. It’s important to understand and effectively manage these sleep issues.

Common Sleep Problems in Schizophrenia

People with this mental illness can experience a range of sleep problems, including:

  • Irregular sleep hours: Rather than sleeping for 7-8 hours overnight, people with schizophrenia may sleep at any time of the day or night.
  • Too few or too many hours of sleep: This can be due to the drugs used to treat psychosis or the lack of a regular daytime routine.
  • Difficulty falling asleep: Sleep problems can worsen symptoms of psychosis and increase the risk of relapse in people with it. Managing these issues is crucial to their overall health and well-being, as lack of sleep can lead to other health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Problems in Schizophrenia

Diagnosing sleep problems in people with mental illness is challenging.

Healthcare workers ask questions about sleep and mental health, use questionnaires, and track sleep patterns. They may also recommend a sleep study or wearing an actigraph watch to monitor sleep and activity levels.

Once diagnosed, sleep problems can be treated in several ways, including:

  • Changing sleep habits: Making changes to sleep habits, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, reducing caffeine intake, and creating a relaxing sleep environment, can improve sleep quality.
  • Medication: Sedatives and melatonin can help with short-term sleep problems, while bright light therapy can reset the body clock.
  • Adjusting medication for psychosis: Changing the type, dosage, or timing of medication for this illness may improve sleep problems. However, any changes should always be discussed with a doctor first to avoid potential side effects.

Sleep problems impact the health and well-being of people with schizophrenia. Recognizing the signs and managing them effectively is crucial. Seeking professional help is important, as sleep problems can be managed with proper diagnosis and treatment.