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  • Insomnia - getting worse?

    Hey everyone,

    I've been a bad sleeper for most of my life. As a child / teenager my problem was getting to sleep, in my early-to-mid twenties I went through a long period of having night terrors, and then about four years ago the problem became staying asleep.

    I went to doctors / naturopaths / psychotherapists / Chinese medicine docs, and they all told me it was emotional, which makes sense, but I know a lot of stressed out people who sleep just fine. What determines who sleeps well and who doesn't? I had the feeling that this was more than just emotional.

    Since going primal I learned about hypoglycemic insomnia. What a revelation. It's like this was the missing link. I have all the symptoms - light, fitful sleep, characterised by waking up after a few hours with an overwhelming urge to eat, and I usually can't go back to sleep until I do eat something.

    I was hoping that going Primal would help this (it's helping lots of other things), but if I'm honest, my sleep seems to be getting worse. I wake up after a couple of hours (usually 4am, today it is 3am) and need to eat. I've tried snacking on almonds before bed, and taking magnesium - neither have worked. The only thing that seems to help is really gorging on food a few hours before bed.

    Apart from the obvious annoyance of having disturbed sleep ALL the time, and the strain this puts on my energy / mood, it also throws a curve ball into me trying to achieve an ideal weight. If I eat when I wake in the night then I don't eat breakfast, but I can't help but feel that eating at 3am is just bad.

    Does anyone have any experience with insomnia and if so, what was the effect of going Primal? Did you find a cure?

    Btw, I've tried all the emotional routes so no need to make those suggestions!
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  • #2
    Primal made my sleep worse at first, but the addition of magnesium and elimination of ALL caffeine was the solution for me. I use a topical magnesium brine about an hour before bed to make sure i get enough. Are you getting a good dose? Do you have any caffeine in your diet?

    The other hint I have heard was to take a teaspoon of honey before sleep. There is also a book that suggests having a protein/carb combo snack immediately before sleeping.

    You could also try taking L-theanine before bed - it is supposed to be very helpful for people with racing thoughts at night.
    Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

    http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Jammies. I do have caffeine in my diet, but I don't think it's the cause. I gave up caffeine for three years, and I still had the insomnia. (the worst I ever had it was when I was caffeine-free and doing bikram yoga on a daily basis!)

      I'm just taking MG tablets - what's a brine? My thoughts don't even race anymore - I just wake up with lots of energy. It could be my liver dumping glucose back into my blood.

      Oh, and I also know about biphasic sleep (read mark's post here: What is Biphasic Sleep? | Mark's Daily Apple), and while it does make sense, it's not a satisfactory answer for me. I just don't believe anymore that these are things we just have to "live with" (as conventional wisdom would tell us!)
      "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

      In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

      - Ray Peat

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you eating enough? Are you doing paleo to loose weight? If not I suggest you eat some fat before bed. I had the same problem until I gave up all grains and started taking magnesium now I sleep deeply.

        I know you don't eat meat but you may have to find a way to increase your protein. When I went paleo I found that eating a little beef jerky before bed helped me to sleep.
        Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Urban F. I'm doing Primal for my overall health, but the fat burning thing definitely appeals to me (I'm slim but have skinny fat).

          I think you're right about the protein cos my sleeping got worse when I went veggie three years ago. (Although my doctor said there was no link... hah!) I eat loads of nuts (I won't even shock you by how many), eggs, cheese and yogurt, so I should be getting enough protein from those sources..? (I know, I know... I'm still rethinking the meat thing )

          In general I think I'm eating enough... how do others cope after a fast?! If my stomach is in any way empty I just can't sleep .
          "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

          In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

          - Ray Peat

          Comment


          • #6
            I've just been reading up about Magnesium and its relationship to Calcium. I've gone from being Vegan, and am now eating 500gs of Greek Yogurt a day! Is it possible that the Calcium is whacking the magnesium out of balance, and that's why my sleep is suffering?

            This is all such fascinating stuff... love it!
            "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

            In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

            - Ray Peat

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi YogaBare, just researching hypoglycemia and insomnia on the web and came across your post. Was wondering if you found the solution to your problem in the end?

              Comment


              • #8
                gave up caffeine for three years, and I still had the insomnia. (the worst I ever had it was when I was caffeine-free and doing bikram yoga on a daily basis!)
                since i gave up caffeine my sleep got way worse. other than the first few days when you are comatose by 6pm. i found i wake up way more at 3am unable to get back to sleep. i have theories about caffeine messing with your dopamine receptors when you are a kid and it changing how your brain works but i cant prove them!


                I've just been reading up about Magnesium and its relationship to Calcium. I've gone from being Vegan, and am now eating 500gs of Greek Yogurt a day! Is it possible that the Calcium is whacking the magnesium out of balance, and that's why my sleep is suffering?
                this is also something i wonder about. phosphorus, calcium and magnesium absorption is all interrelated. too much of one will push the other out but i dont know anywhere near enough about it all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have been primal/low carb for a few months and it hasn't really affected my sleep in a positive or negative way. I have had insomnia for close to 20 years and I have completely overcome it. Here is what I did:

                  1) Started taking a multi-mineral supplement and a trace mineral supplement.
                  2) At sundown, I close the blinds, darken the house and change the light bulbs from white to amber. A lot of people believe that white/blue light stops melatonin production. My bedroom is so dark that I can't see my hand in front of my face and once got lost going to the bathroom.
                  3) I stop using electronic devices two hours before bedtime.
                  4) I use self-hypnosis/meditation and EFT to reduce my stress levels during the day.
                  5) I sometimes take a fast acting (to fall asleep) and a time released (to stay asleep) melatonin supplements.
                  6) I read the book "Zapped" by Anne Louise Gittleman and followed all of the instructions to radically reduce my EMF exposure.
                  7) I exercise several times a week for 20 mins or so on a mini-trampoline before bed so I am more tired.
                  8) I make sure to get some sunlight during the day.

                  It been about 4 or 5 months and I have been sleeping great.

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