Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Why People With Schizophrenia Have Poor Quality Sleep

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Maybe their minds cannot rest .

it’s hard to sleep with voices i think

I’ve touched on my theories on this subject in the past:

Poor sleep quality started for me in my early prodrome, probably in my tweens and earlier teens. I recall one summer I suddenly became very much a ‘night person’ and started watching late late shows with Jack Paar, Tom Snyder and Dick Cavett. Poor sleep quality is also considered a predictor for forms of dementia especially Alzheimer’s and the “Sundowning” phenomenon has been noted in the forum for both diseases.

It’s hard to separate the chicken from the egg here, but considering I didn’t become florid until 25 or 26, I’m less inclined to consider its origins as an adaptation or reaction to positive symptoms like voices. Racing thoughts is a possibility, but many people have poor quality sleep and trouble “quieting the mind” absent SZ, so this may have a neurochemical cause rather it being a reactive adaptation.

Once you are florid and even in prodrome there are some adaptive advantages you may not have considered. Nighttime is quieter and darker, so there’s less stimulus. People with SZ tend to withdraw from society for various reasons, and it’s easier to avoid human contact while others are sleeping. This may have an evolutionary benefit, as avoiding people might make you less prone to conflict— increasing odds of individual survival as well as benefit society as a whole. SZ is often linked to depression, and by definition SZA has a mood component similar to bipolar disorder. I think it’s better established that lethargy, somnolence as well as insomnia and hyperactivity are hallmarks of these SMI.

interesting article…my son has always slept a lot even as an enfant…first week home I’d change him and give him a bottle around 11 and he didn’t budge for anything until about or 6 in the morning when he would be hungry and need a change and then he would fall back asleep again…when he was adjusting to his meds he sometimes slept 16 or 18 hours a day…today he goes to bed around 11 pm and wakes about 11 am…not much has changed…he sleeps like a log though…