Schizophrenia and Sleep Deprivation: Know the Simple Connection!

Do struggles with delusions, hallucinations, and sleeplessness keep you awake at night?

This could be a sign that schizophrenia is affecting your sleep.

According to research, up to 80% of people with schizophrenia say they have symptoms of insomnia.

Schizophrenia is a mental health issue that messes with how you think, feel, act, and see things. One of the first signs you might notice is changes in your sleep, like not sleeping well when you usually do.

No worry! If you’re struggling with sleep disorders, we’ve got you covered.

At SmartMattressBuy, we’ll explore how schizophrenia can affect your sleep patterns and discover ways to manage and improve your sleep quality.

Let’s dive in and find solutions together!

What’s The Link Between Schizophrenia And Sleep Disorders?

Getting enough sleep is important for your health. When you sleep, your body fixes itself, your brain organizes things you’ve learned, and your immune system gets a break.

But when someone with schizophrenia doesn’t sleep well, it can make things worse for them. It can make their life harder and even make their condition worse.

A study from 2020 found that many people with acute schizophrenia have trouble sleeping. This can include problems like:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble waking up
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Not getting good quality sleep
  • Spending more time in bed than usual

Many people with schizophrenia have trouble sleeping even before they start experiencing symptoms like psychosis and sleep deprivation. Having trouble sleeping is one of the most common signs during the early phase before the illness fully develops.

Sleeping disorder can help predict if someone at high risk might develop psychosis later on.

Discussion From Some Latest Studies!

Some research found that problems with certain brain receptors, called dopamine D2 receptors, might affect both the symptoms of schizophrenia and sleeping issues.

When certain parts of the brain become too active, it can cause symptoms of schizophrenia. One part of the brain called the striatum, can lead to these symptoms when its D2 receptors are too active. It might also make you feel more awake, making sleeping hard at night.

Many people with mental health issues, like schizophrenia, often have trouble with Circadian rhythm problems. In a study involving 20 people with schizophrenia, researchers discovered that half of them experienced significant problems with severe circadian misalignment. These individuals took more time to fall asleep and slept for longer periods.

Now, we’ve figured out the connection between schizophrenia and sleep. Let’s see how schizophrenia can mess with your sleep.

How Can Schizophrenia Affect Your Sleep?


In a study from 2022, researchers found that people with schizophrenia had some common difficulties. These included:

  • Not having good habits of sleep, like going to bed at the same time every night.
  • They also had a hard time stopping themselves from thinking too much or worrying obsessively, which made it tough for them to sleep.
  • Rumination

Everyone in the study said they kept thinking about things over and over again, even if they had trouble sleeping or not. These thoughts made them feel worried and upset.

Sometimes, if someone has schizophrenia, they might have delusions and problems with urinary containment. This can make it even harder to sleep.

Did you know there’s a system called a Schizophrenia Stimulator that can help raise awareness about the symptoms of schizophrenia? Let us discuss.

Schizophrenia Stimulator

Schizophrenia Stimulator is a unique tool designed to simulate the experiences of individuals living with schizophrenia, giving others a better understanding of what it’s like to cope with this condition.

The process includes auditory and visual hallucinations, disorganized thoughts, and other symptoms. It aims to give you a real feel for what it’s like to experience schizophrenia. You’ll encounter all the symptoms, like feeling anxious and paranoid, having nightmares, believing things that aren’t true, forgetting things, and hearing or seeing things that aren’t there.

Did you know that schizophrenia and sleep are connected in two ways? The way schizophrenia affects sleep, well, sleep can also affect schizophrenia! Take a look!

How Does Poor Sleep Affect Schizophrenia?

When you don’t sleep well, it can affect your daily activities and everyday functioning. These are the areas impacted by schizophrenia. Sleep disorders can also make your symptoms worse.

According to research from 2022, individuals with sleep disorders say they have these issues/symptoms during the day:

  • Feeling sad and tired
  • Feeling nervous and worried
  • Feeling restless
  • Having trouble finding motivation
  • Finding it hard to focus and do things
  • Forgetting things easily
  • Feeling in a bad mood
  • Struggling to get out of bed
  • Feeling easily annoyed
  • Not caring much about things
  • Thinking too much about things

When your sleep gets disrupted, it can make things worse for people with schizophrenia. Not getting enough sleep can disrupt the chemicals in your brain, like dopamine, which is linked to schizophrenia. Plus, not sleeping well can make it harder for your body to handle stress and control your feelings, which might make psychotic symptoms worse.

Additionally, sleep disorders can affect your body too. Not getting enough sleep can cause problems like:

  • Gaining weight
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Weakening your immune system
  • Increasing your chance of getting diabetes

Hence, getting enough sleep is important for your body and mind!

Now, let me tell you something interesting..

Would you like to improve your sleep quality? Did you know that green noise is a wavelength of noise that can put you to sleep? Read how it can better sleep!

There are several sleep disorders people with schizophrenia may experience. Not everyone with schizophrenia has the same sleep problems, but most have at least one.

Let’s discuss!

Common Sleep Disorder In People With Schizophrenia

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is when you have trouble sleeping. It can make it tough to fall asleep or stay asleep, and sometimes, you wake up too early and can’t go back to sleep. When this happens, you might still feel tired when you wake up.

Insomnia can make you feel low on energy and affect your mood. It can also impact your health, how well you work, and your overall quality of life.

Sometimes, when you’re stressed, have too much caffeine, or your sleeping area isn’t right, you might have trouble sleeping. For individuals with schizophrenia, not being able to sleep well is often because of overactive dopamine receptors in the brain.

Dopamine is like a messenger in your brain that helps your nerve cells communicate. It plays a big role in how you feel, remember things, move, and do other important stuff. Your body needs the right amount of dopamine to do these things properly.

Having too much or too little can mess with how your body functions.

When your brain has a lot of dopamine, it can cause issues with your mental health. Insomnia and schizophrenia are both connected to having too much dopamine. This means that if you have schizophrenia, it might be hard for you to sleep well and feel rested.

Suffering from insomnia? Read the best acupressure points for sleep to get quick relief from insomnia!

2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem with breathing during sleep. It happens when your throat muscles relax and block airway, making you stop and start breathing repeatedly while you sleep. This might be causing symptoms like:

  • Snoring
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Not getting good sleep
  • Feeling tired all the time

Research shows that many people with schizophrenia tend to have a higher chance of being overweight and facing heart-related health issues. One big reason for this is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

As per a research study, individuals with sleep apnea who hadn’t gotten help had less white matter in their brains. They also talked about how people with sleep apnea often have trouble with memory and focusing.

A review found that around 15% of individuals with sleep apnea also had a type of mental illness called schizophrenia.

Restless due to sleep apnea? A cozy and quality mattress can be an easy way out!

3. Restless Leg Syndrome & Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a condition where you feel an urge to move your legs, especially when you’re trying to sleep. It comes with an uncomfortable feeling in your legs, which gets worse when you’re not moving, especially at night.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) means your legs cramp or jerk while you sleep. It often happens with restless leg syndrome (RLS) or other sleep problems, but it can also happen by itself.

According to a study, more schizophrenic patients who are taking antipsychotic medication have Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).Antipsychotic medicines help by reducing psychotic symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and having trouble organizing thoughts.

When people take antipsychotic medicines, they often experience Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) more often. This supports the idea that RLS might be related to how the brain handles dopamine. Antipsychotic drugs can trigger RLS by blocking certain dopamine receptors.

Curious to know more? Learn restless leg syndrome and its interplay with insomnia!

4. Circadian Rhythm Disorders

A circadian rhythm disorder is when your body has trouble sticking to a regular sleep pattern. This might mean:

  • Sleeping too much
  • Sleeping too little
  • Struggling to sleep for a good stretch
  • Finding it hard to keep a steady sleep routine every day

Many people with schizophrenia often have trouble with their sleep and daily routines. This can affect how they feel and how well they can enjoy life. For most, this means their sleep pattern gets disturbed, with about 80% experiencing sleep problems. It’s one of the most common signs of this condition and can make symptoms worse and life harder.

Circadian disruptions like disrupted sleep patterns can be a sign that someone might develop schizophrenia. If you’ve traveled to different time zones and feel out of sync, it could increase your chances of having schizophrenia symptoms again.

5. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a condition that makes you feel extremely tired during the day. It’s tough to stay awake, and it can interrupt your daily activities because you might feel sudden urges to sleep even while doing regular things.

Here are the signs you might have narcolepsy:

  • Sleepiness during the day: You might suddenly doze off while working or chatting with friends. This can be risky, especially if it happens while driving. Even after a short nap, you might feel better but sleepy again soon.
  • Sudden muscle weakness: This condition is called cataplexy. It can cause slurred speech or make your muscles very weak. These symptoms might last for a few minutes.
  • Sleep Paralysis: Schizophrenia and sleep paralysis can make you feel stuck in your body when you’re trying to sleep or waking up. You can’t move or talk for a bit, which can be pretty scary, but it usually doesn’t last long.
  • Hallucinations: Sometimes when you’re in bed, you might see things that aren’t real, especially during sleep paralysis. These are called hallucinations. Even when you’re not in sleep paralysis, you might still see things while lying in bed. If this happens as you’re falling asleep, it’s called hypnagogic hallucinations.
  • Changes in Rapid Eye Movement (REM): During REM sleep, that’s when most of your dreaming occurs. Usually, it happens about 60 to 90 minutes after you’ve fallen asleep. But if you have narcolepsy, you might get into REM sleep faster than usual.

When narcoleptic patients take certain medicines to help them stay awake, they might experience a condition called psychosis and sleep deprivation. This can make them see or hear things that aren’t really there, like hallucinations. These hallucinations can sometimes be mistaken for symptoms of schizophrenia.

It’s possible for someone to have both narcolepsy and schizophrenia because they might have some things in common that cause them.

How do I know if I have narcolepsy? Important facts.

6. Night Eating Syndrome

Night Eating Syndrome (NES) makes you hungry at night. If you have it, you might wake up feeling hungry and end up eating during the night. This means you’re not as hungry during the day.

Sleep problems are common in schizophrenia and can disrupt how your body controls hunger. This can lead to health issues like obesity and heart problems. As per research, Night Eating Syndrome affects about 1.5% of the population and about 8.9% to 27% of overweight people.

Understanding how you eat and any eating problems you might have is really important for figuring out why people with schizophrenia might develop heart and metabolic issues.

Another eating problem that can happen with schizophrenia is called Anorexia.

  • Anorexia

Anorexia means not eating enough food, being very scared of gaining weight, or doing things that stop gaining weight, and it can make you feel weird about how your body looks or how much you weigh. According to research, it happens to about 1 to 4 out of every 100 people with schizophrenia, and it might happen before or after someone gets schizophrenia.

Can Schizophrenia Sleep Medications Affect Your Sleep?

According to research, patients with schizophrenia who are given either older or newer types of antipsychotic medication sleep better. Antipsychotics are medicines doctors prescribe to help with serious mental health issues like schizophrenia. They can help with symptoms that include that includes psychotic experiences.

The positive impact on sleep includes:

  • Calming Effect: Antipsychotics can help calm down the brain’s activity, which can make it easier for some people to fall asleep.
  • Reducing Anxiety: These medications can also lessen feelings of anxiety, which may help someone relax and sleep better.
  • Balancing Chemicals: They work by adjusting certain chemicals in the brain. Most antipsychotic medicines work by blocking certain parts of your brain that send messages using a chemical called dopamine. By doing this, they can help lessen your psychotic symptoms by slowing down these messages.
  • Regulating Sleep Patterns: Antipsychotics can help regulate sleep-wake cycles, making it more likely for someone to sleep through the night without disturbances.
  • Managing Symptoms: For people with conditions like schizophrenia, where sleep disturbances are common, antipsychotics can help manage symptoms that might interfere with sleep, such as hallucinations or racing thoughts.

Antipsychotic eases symptoms by affecting different chemicals in the brain that control sleep, like acetylcholine, dopamine, histamine, nor-epinephrine, and serotonin.

Hence, if you’re having a sleeping disorder and you think you might have schizophrenia, it’s really important to speak with a doctor as soon as possible. They can help you figure out what’s going on and find the right treatment for you.

Let’s have a look at some of the diagnoses your doctor might prescribe:

Diagnosing Sleep Disorders With Schizophrenia

  • Ask you to fill out a questionnaire

A sleep questionnaire can help healthcare professionals understand the sleep patterns and problems experienced by someone with schizophrenia. By gathering information about sleep quality, duration, disturbances, and other related factors, doctors can assess how sleep issues may be impacting the individual’s mental health.

  • Ask you to keep a sleep diary for several weeks

Keeping a sleep diary can help in treating schizophrenia by allowing healthcare professionals to monitor sleep patterns and identify any disruptions or irregularities. Consistent sleep disturbances are common in individuals with schizophrenia, and tracking these through a diary can provide valuable information for treatment planning.

How many days are needed for a reliable assessment by the Sleep Diary? Read more!

  • Study sleep overnight in a lab setting

Healthcare professionals can prescribe medications or therapies targeted at improving sleep quality, which in turn may help alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions. Thus, monitoring sleep patterns over time can help clinicians track the progress of treatment and make necessary adjustments for better outcomes.

  • Make you wear a device on your wrist to monitor your activity

Wearing a device on your wrist to monitor your activity can help in treating schizophrenia by providing insights into your daily routines and patterns. This information can be valuable for healthcare professionals to understand how your activities relate to your symptoms and overall well-being.

The exact treatment for schizophrenia depends on you and the type of problem you have. Now, let’s check out some common treatments for schizophrenia!

Best Sleep Aid for Schizophrenia

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) could be a helpful treatment choice for individuals dealing with schizophrenia. CBT helps individuals learn to change their thoughts or actions that might contribute to negative feelings.

The therapy consists of two main parts: cognitive and behavioral components. The cognitive part helps you change how you think about situations, while the behavioral part helps you change your reactions.

Want to know more? Read on!

  • Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic medications function by inhibiting the impact of dopamine and other brain chemicals. Typically, they swiftly alleviate anxiety or aggression within hours, but it may require several days or weeks for symptoms like hallucinations or delusional thoughts to diminish.

  • Non-stimulant Sleeping Medications

Your doctor might recommend sleep medications typically used for insomnia or other sleep issues. This might not be suitable for everyone, but it can be beneficial in specific situations. Your doctor will make sure these medications won’t clash with your schizophrenia treatment.

Other Psychological Stress-Illness Related to Sleep


1. Parasomnia

Parasomnias are a type of sleep issue where unusual movements, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, and dreams happen while you’re falling asleep, sleeping, transitioning between sleep stages, or waking up from sleep.

Parasomnia may lead to various behaviors, such as:

    • Waking up and feeling disoriented about your surroundings.
    • Experiencing confusion upon awakening.
    • Not recalling certain activities performed during sleep.
  • Discovering unfamiliar cuts or injuries on your body.
  • Feeling daytime sleepiness or fatigue.

For more information, learn important facts about parasomnia: symptoms, causes, and more!

2. Depression

Depression is a frequently occurring and significant medical condition that impacts your emotions, thoughts, and actions in a negative manner. It brings about feelings of sadness and a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

It can result in various emotional and physical challenges and may also impair your ability to perform well both at work and in your personal life.

Fatigue, along with sleep problems like irregular sleep patterns and excessive sleepiness, can be connected to symptoms of depression.

3. Sleep Anxiety

Sleep anxiety is when you feel afraid or worried about going to sleep. You might be concerned about not being able to fall asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.

Additionally, some individuals experience a specific fear of sleep known as somniphobia. This fear can stem from worrying that something bad might happen while sleeping or feeling the need to remain alert and vigilant instead of sleeping.

Stress and anxiety can cause our bodies to release hormones that help us react swiftly to danger. However, if you’re dealing with chronic anxiety, you might experience ongoing feelings of stress or worry. This could lead to a constant state of fear, making everyday activities such as driving to work or falling asleep challenging.

4. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, formerly referred to as manic depression, is a mental health condition. It is marked by alternating phases of low mood (depression) and high mood (elevated mood) that can persist for days to weeks; when the elevated mood is intense or linked with psychosis and sleep deprivation, it is termed mania.

Sleep disruption is a common feature of bipolar disorder. As per research, during periods of heightened mood (manic episodes), sleep needs may decrease, while during depressive episodes, individuals may experience either difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or excessive sleepiness (hypersomnia) almost daily.

5. Idiopathic Hypersomnia

Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH) is a condition where individuals experience extreme sleepiness during the day and struggle to wake up easily from sleep.

It typically starts showing symptoms gradually during the teenage years or early adulthood. These symptoms may include:

  • Feeling persistently drowsy even after daytime naps
  • Finding it hard to wake up from a long sleep, sometimes feeling confused or disoriented (known as ‘sleep drunkenness’)
  • Feeling the need to sleep more during the day, even in situations like work, meals, or conversations
  • Sleeping longer hours, sometimes ranging from 14 to 18 hours a day.

Hence, improving sleep is a top priority. Let’s explore how you can enhance your sleep quality.

Top 4 Tips For Sleeping Better

  1. Tip 1: Natural light exposure

Light plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep patterns. Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light during the day and minimizing exposure to artificial light at night helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

  1. Tip 2: Regular exercise

Studies have shown that doing physical activity can enhance the quality of sleep, especially for individuals dealing with mental health challenges.

  1. Tip 3: Stick to a consistent sleep schedule

Establishing a routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day promotes a more consistent and restful sleep pattern.

  1. Tip 4: Limit screen time before bed

The blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt body’s natural sleep rhythms. It’s advisable to reduce the use of screens before bedtime to support better sleep quality.

For more information, learn 21 effective sleep tips for better sleep habits!

Top 10 FAQs on Schizophrenia and Sleep

Q1. How can schizophrenia affect sleep?

  • Schizophrenia profoundly affects sleep, with a study revealing disruptions in circadian sleep-wake timing for half of those with the condition. Their sleep cycles, including advanced or delayed patterns, differ significantly from the control group.

Q2. What is the most common cause of death in schizophrenia?

  • The most common causes of death in schizophrenia vary, with Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) being highly prevalent. Further cancer is reported almost as frequently as CVD in affected individuals.

Q3. Do schizophrenics remember their episodes?

  • Those with schizophrenia struggle to recall past events and envision the future. While alterations in event representation are documented, understanding how personal events are chronologically organized remains largely undiagnosed still.

Q4. What is the life expectancy of someone with schizophrenia?

  • Life expectancy is similar for both genders with schizophrenia, with men potentially losing 16 years and women about 13 years. Little variation is documented based on other typical factors like age at diagnosis.

Q5. Why is it hard for schizophrenics to sleep?

  • Schizophrenics find it challenging to sleep due to psychotic symptoms inducing fear or anxiety. Altered sleep patterns, featuring less deep sleep and more shallow sleep, contribute to daytime tiredness.

Q6. Do schizophrenics get tired easily?

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) and sleep problems are prevalent in schizophrenia. This can be attributed to neurobiological changes, sleep disorders, medication, or as a symptom of the condition itself.

Q7. Does schizophrenia get worse with age?

  • The relationship between schizophrenia and aging is intricate. While some symptoms may improve with recurring treatment, certain other symptoms and cognitive decline can persist or worsen over time.

Q8. Do schizophrenics feel love?

  • Schizophrenics face challenges in expressing emotions and forming social connections, impacting relationships. Despite these hurdles, finding love is possible.

Q9. Do schizophrenics talk to themselves?

  • Some individuals with schizophrenia appear to talk to themselves as they respond to hallucinatory voices, believing them to be real. Disordered thoughts may lead to jumbled or blocked thinking.

Q10. Can someone with schizophrenia live alone?

  • Recent research indicates that those with schizophrenia can live independently, pursue education, and maintain demanding jobs, showcasing their ability to manage the condition and lead fulfilling lives.


  1. Ferrarelli, Fabio. “Sleep abnormalities in schizophrenia: state of the art and next steps.” American Journal of Psychiatry 178.9 (2021): 903-913.
  2. Datta, Upasana. “Important Facts about Narcolepsy – Main Symptoms.” Smartmattressbuy, 1 Mar. 2024,
  3. Ferrarelli, Fabio. “Sleep disturbances in schizophrenia and psychosis.” Schizophrenia research 221 (2020): 1.
  4. Datta, Upasana. “Bitter Facts about Somniphobia (Fear of Sleep).” Smartmattressbuy, 24 Feb. 2024,
  5. Kaskie, Rachel E., and Fabio Ferrarelli. “Sleep disturbances in schizophrenia: what we know, what still needs to be done.” Current opinion in psychology 34 (2020): 68-71.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for general knowledge and should not be used as a substitute for personalized advice from medical professionals. It is not intended to diagnose any sleep or health issues. Before making any changes to your sleep habits, we recommend consulting with your healthcare provider.