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  • I am a terrible sleeper, help me!

    For pretty much my entire adult life, I've woken up multiple times in the night--usually five or so times a night, starting from about 1-2AM and going every hour, give or take, until the alarm goes off. I quit caffeine, I sleep in a dark room with only white noise, I live in a quiet neighborhood--I am just a light sleeper. I've recently been taking magnesium supplements at night, and so far have noticed no change. Melatonin doesn't help. I'm seriously thinking about getting some Ambien or something. I go to bed at about 10:30 most nights, the alarm clock goes off at 6:00...I can fall asleep just fine, but staying asleep is a big problem for me.

    Any tips?

  • #2
    Do this: Take your temperature before you get up in the morning.

    It should be 98.6 degrees. If it is below 98 degrees, send me a PM.

    Grizz

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    • #3
      I've had the same problem for quite awhile now. It can be incredibly frustrating to try everything you hear about, and then STILL sleep just as poorly. I came to the conclusion that my cortisol levels are most likely screwed up - - basically I'm getting the "wake up!" injection of cortisol at the wrong time of day. Sounds like you may be in the same boat. Do you feel like you're just bobbing at the surface of sleep, never really slipping deep down under where you would get really restful sleep? Or like you drank a bunch of shots of espresso right before you went to bed and now it's coursing through your veins? It doesn't matter how physically tired you are, or how much you perfect your surroundings, if you're pumped full of cortisol - - it just overrides everything else and prevents sleep.

      I went to a regular primary-care doctor, and he said that it was because of me taking supplements (really? fish oil and vit D causing insomnia??). And that if stopping those didn't work he could prescribe Ambien. NO THANK YOU. So I scheduled an appt with a naturopath doctor even though my insurance doesn't pay. She agreed with the theory that cortisol levels were wacky (either just too high or struggling due to adrenal fatigue). She put me on Serenagen and magnesium glycinate (which is apparently different than Natural Calm). It took about a week but then the first half of my night started to get markedly better. I am now falling asleep at ~11:00 and staying that way until ~4-5:00 a.m. She said that if the last couple hours don't improve after another week she's got other things to try.

      I think it may be worthwhile for you to seek out a naturopath doctor who actually believes that your adrenals/cortisol levels can be the source of sleep problems. All Ambien does is mask the true problem by making you so groggy you can actually sleep through it. It's tempting but probably not good for your health in the long-run.

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      • #4
        I've suffered a lot from the same sleep disruption pattern. I'll bet Ambien won't help. I tried it with 0 success. I still woke up in the middle of the night.

        Wish I could tell you I had a solution. I do think iodine supplementation has helped (I'm predicting that's what Grizz is alluding to above. Sorry if I'm spoiling a surprise). I still wake up sometimes though.

        How's your posture? I've also been practicing some techniques from this book, and I feel like I can sometimes remain asleep more successfully.

        My third suggestion is to take a step back and assess your stress level. As much as I wore orange safety glasses any time I looked at an artificial light after sundown/installed f.lux on my computer/slept in a blacked out room, my adrenals (cortisol levels and stuff) were probably seriously out of whack just due to stress. I definitely have an easier time sleeping through (more of) the night when I feel unburdened. Which isn't always an option, but sometimes it is.
        The Champagne of Beards

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KimInGA View Post
          I've had the same problem for quite awhile now. It can be incredibly frustrating to try everything you hear about, and then STILL sleep just as poorly. I came to the conclusion that my cortisol levels are most likely screwed up - - basically I'm getting the "wake up!" injection of cortisol at the wrong time of day. Sounds like you may be in the same boat. Do you feel like you're just bobbing at the surface of sleep, never really slipping deep down under where you would get really restful sleep? Or like you drank a bunch of shots of espresso right before you went to bed and now it's coursing through your veins? It doesn't matter how physically tired you are, or how much you perfect your surroundings, if you're pumped full of cortisol - - it just overrides everything else and prevents sleep.

          I went to a regular primary-care doctor, and he said that it was because of me taking supplements (really? fish oil and vit D causing insomnia??). And that if stopping those didn't work he could prescribe Ambien. NO THANK YOU. So I scheduled an appt with a naturopath doctor even though my insurance doesn't pay. She agreed with the theory that cortisol levels were wacky (either just too high or struggling due to adrenal fatigue). She put me on Serenagen and magnesium glycinate (which is apparently different than Natural Calm). It took about a week but then the first half of my night started to get markedly better. I am now falling asleep at ~11:00 and staying that way until ~4-5:00 a.m. She said that if the last couple hours don't improve after another week she's got other things to try.

          I think it may be worthwhile for you to seek out a naturopath doctor who actually believes that your adrenals/cortisol levels can be the source of sleep problems. All Ambien does is mask the true problem by making you so groggy you can actually sleep through it. It's tempting but probably not good for your health in the long-run.
          Great advice, Kim. Our posts crossed (you obviously think and type quicker than I do), but I'm glad to see we had a lot of the same thoughts.
          The Champagne of Beards

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
            Great advice, Kim. Our posts crossed (you obviously think and type quicker than I do), but I'm glad to see we had a lot of the same thoughts.
            Ha ha, thanks. It's just a subject close to my heart, after struggling with insomnia for ~10 years. I feel like I'm *finally* on the right track. Super hopeful!

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            • #7
              Which type of magnesium are you taking? Some of them e.g. oxide are so poorly absorbed (around 4% if i recall correctly) that they're not worth taking. I had similar sleep problems & taking a chelated glycinate magnesium (Doctor's Best High Absorbtion, 800mg / day) made a world of difference.

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              • #8
                I'll be watching this thread as I'm still struggling with it all. At worst I was waking every 35 minutes or so, then every hour, sometimes being awake for 3 hours or so in the middle of the night.

                Now I have biphasic sleep and just occasionally have great sleep in 2 four hour cycles with just a few minutes awake to go to the toilet about 2am.

                A low carb diet made one level of improvement, thyroid supplementation a second level, exercise a third, and I was hoping that the cold baths were going to work as well. After my first two full baths I slept like a log and woke up feeling wonderful and I thought I'd cracked it. But my last two have had me lying awake cold, cold, cold and reducing my total sleep time by about two hours as I can't go to sleep and what sleep I have is what it used to be like - surfacing every hour or so.

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                • #9
                  Looks like I'm late in chiming in on this. I always am.. lol. Anyway. I'm Nick. I'm 26 and I've been battling with the same sleep issues as I've read on this thread. Actually, Kim and I sound exactly the same, concerning our sleep issues. I'll start off by saying that I have tried pretty much everything as well. Magnesium powder, chewable Gaba tablets, L-Tryptophan, melatonin, with little to no success. I've had sleep issues on and off all my life.. But there have been periods of time. Month at a time, even, where I'd sleep perfectly fine. It's whenever I get stressed and get thrown out of balance is when my sleep pattern gets in a rut and well.. it's not happening. These past few months have been exceptionally stressful for me. I'm a financial advisor at an investment firm, and a lot is expected out of me from my clients. I've also had a lot of family issues as well. I've been in a property dispute with a member of my family for nearly a year now. My Mom had been diagnosed with cancer, this past january and it's all come to a fevered pitch. My insomnia began mid April of this year and has still been plaguing me. I'm surprised it hadn't happened sooner, to be honest. It's weird. but even during the most stressful of times, I was sleeping. Maybe not the best I could, but I was getting at least 7 hours a night. The way stress affects me is delayed. I might go through a lot for a month or so, and then a couple of months later I see the result of it, in my sleep. Or lack of, rather. Aside from that, I am relatively healthy. I'm in good shape. Not overweight or have any other health issues. I workout and eat healthily. I drink plenty of water and try to avoid a diet high in fat and refined sugar. I don't smoke or drink.. I'm pretty sure it's all cortisol at this point. I can always tell before I go to bed if I am going to sleep or not, based on my body and how relaxed/comfortable I am before I even get into bed. Lately I've been getting into bed and have been very hot. I try to keep my room under 70 F.. If it's over that, I know for sure I will not sleep at all. But despite my room being cool, I still wake up feeling hot all over, and sweating. Is that a cortisol trait? Anyway. That's my story. If anyone would like to elaborate or point me in a direction of what I could possibly do to get back on track, it would be much appreciated. Thanks

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                  • #10
                    Are you nocturnal? Have you tried the night shift? I am, and do. And it's great. Not fun switching back and forth, that part sucks, but the work week feels awesome. People are usually sort of angry about how happy I am. And I sleep like a stone most days. Never could get the hang of sleeping at night. About 1 am I start getting really creative and happy, and feel motivated to accomplish things.
                    Crohn's, doing SCD

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                    • #11
                      I had terrible problems sleeping, but that got resolved now somehow. I don't even wake up in the middle of the night no more, just go from 8:30 pm to 3 am... then a snooze till getting up at 4 am.

                      What did not do any difference: candel-light, cold showers, immobilized position
                      What seems to have helped: higher body weight, glucomannan (fibre) and ALA supplementation. Low Carb + Low fiber + low metabolism seem to be waking me up because I was hungry and cold.

                      I am hoping that I can lose some of the weight but retain sleep.
                      My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                      When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                      • #12
                        I don't have an answer. I have suffered from poor sleep at various times in my life. Usually it seems related to work stress but I cannot say for sure.

                        Several years ago I read an article in the New Yorker magazine about how people slept before there was mass electricity. (There was also another recent article in the New Yorker about sleep). Basically, in the 19th Century people would go to sleep when it became dark and then would frequently wake up 5 to 6 hours later, mill around a bit, and then start a second sleep. I've frequently woken up five to six hours after falling asleep, then lie in bed, and finally get relaxed enough to go back to sleep but then my alarm usually goes off.

                        One of my children has a terrible time sleeping, it may be genetic. Exercise seems to help, as does doing something mindless a few hours before bed. Moderate drinking a few hours before but allowing for the body to process the alcohol also helps. Otherwise, it is hard to say what does and does not work.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
                          Are you nocturnal? Have you tried the night shift? I am, and do. And it's great. Not fun switching back and forth, that part sucks, but the work week feels awesome. People are usually sort of angry about how happy I am. And I sleep like a stone most days. Never could get the hang of sleeping at night. About 1 am I start getting really creative and happy, and feel motivated to accomplish things.

                          I've always been sort of a night person, yes. It's taken me a long time to get adjusted to getting up early in the morning, but I somehow did it. I know my internal clock is messed up.. because I typically go to bed at 11:30pm and most nights I am waking up by 3:30-4:00 every morning like clockwork. But lately I seem to be waking up every couple of hours, then barely drifting into the lightest sleep possible.. I remember dreaming, so I know I'm getting some sleep. it's just not restful, restorative rem sleep that I need. And as far as the nightshift.. well. I wish I could do that, but. in my line of work that's impossible.

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                          • #14
                            One more question. Off topic. How in the heck do I change my avatar? I added some pics in my profile and I'd like to default one to my profile name.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nellis_1986 View Post
                              Looks like I'm late in chiming in on this. I always am.. lol. Anyway. I'm Nick. I'm 26 and I've been battling with the same sleep issues as I've read on this thread.
                              I had the 'go to bed tired, but wide awake at 2am' syndrome for years. Past 4 months I've been sleeping like a baby most nights. Try this: Take up to 4TBS of raw, unmodified potato starch right after dinner and don't snack between dinner and bedtime. You may want to start out with 1TBS and work your way up, it gives some people gas at first. I use Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch at about $4/pound. Works like magic. It has a high percentage of resistant starch and it spreads out the glucose released from dinner all night long. 1TBS is only about 40 calories and 10g carbs, but taken raw, it is not absorbed like regular carbs, it turns into short chain fatty acid when it hits your large intestine--this takes about 5 hours from the time eaten, which is why it's best to take it shortly after dinner and don't eat anything else. If you try it and it works, play around with timing and amount and snacking after dinner if that's what you are into. Many people find that when taken right after dinner, they don't get hungry at all prior to bed time. If you end up trying it, PM me in a couple weeks and let me know if it worked for you, I don't check here very often anymore.
                              Good luck!

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