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  1. #1
    YogaBare's Avatar
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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!

  2. #2
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    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

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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    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!)

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    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.

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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    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 .

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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    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!

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    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?

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    seaweed's Avatar
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    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.

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    CaliforniaGirl's Avatar
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    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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