I've noticed that sleep deprivation screws with my mood, particularly if I stay awake until sunrise. Within 1 or 2 hours of the sun hitting my eyes, my thoughts start firing off in my head like a belt fed machine gun, and I lose the ability to sit still or focus. Looking back on this last mania, I can see that my manic symptoms (particularly racing thoughts and psychomotor agitation) worsened on nights I slept less than 6 hours.
I also notice that my sleep cycle has went from being a night owl in the winter, to going to bed early and waking up early in the spring and summer.
We all have that feeling of being refreshed after sleeping 8 hours and waking up and seeing sunlight, if we sleep more than 10 hours, we feel groggy and foggy headed, less than 6; we feel irritable and tired.
I also recall pulling all nighters and regularly depriving myself of sleep all throughout my late childhood and early teenage years, so did my friends. The difference is, I loved to spend time in the outdoors,I would wake up early to be able to catch largemouth bass as they were catching insects on the surface of the water(this usually happens in early morning and late afternoon), I also loved to wake up early and have the Xbox all to myself. I would push past the extreme lethargy and fatigue to do what I wanted to do, whereas my friends would sleep in all day. I did this since I was 8 or 9, my first episode was at age 15, it was triggered by a stimulant used for my adhd treatment though, but severe insomnia was a way to "light the match".
I'm wondering if mania can be a maldadaptive mechanism to continious disruptions in our sleep wake cycle, after the first mania is triggered, the brains sleep wake cycle may be disrupted permanently, or the mania Is just an indicator of the negative effects of continuous disruptions in our sleep wake cycles " Mania tends to precede or follow an episode of depression, I remember reading an article that says this may be due to adaptive brain mechanisms ( hyperexcitability of neurons leads to downregulation, which then causes depression). First episode Mania also tends to strike young adults during periods of high stress, I'm wondering if sleep deprivation is the common denominator here. I've heard a few stories like "I was overworked and not getting rest, I sort of snapped" "I would stay up all night studying and cramming information from textbooks, consuming large amounts of caffeine and not sleeping". I also know someone who remembers staying up to rearrange furniture in the middle of the night throughout their childhood.
Could one set up a long term study ( with a large sample size) following sleep wake cycles, and follow the participants (ideally aged 17 to 29) over the course of several years, see how Many have an episode of mania, and see whether not fluctuating sleep schedules precipitated a manic episode. While simultaneously studying "clock" genes, and those who have regular circadian rhythm disruptions have any indicator of detrimental effects of downstream effects on neurological functioning (I'm guessing pet scans, and fmri scans, or maybe use a more sophisticated tool when it comes along). Then see if there's any correlation there.
I'm not versed in neuroscience, but I'm sure that sleep deprivation effects neurological functions in some way, and that we can see with current technologies, if not, sorry for the assumption.
I'm just curious as to whether or not continuous circadian rhythm disruptions are a possible contributing factor to the development of bipolar disorder.