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.
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.
Originally Posted by Knifegill
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by nellis_1986
My guess is the fiber had big impact! Stick with what works!
Originally Posted by Leida
Originally Posted by otzi
Oh thanks. I will definitely try that. I've always been slightly hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). My body produces too much insulin and I am always having to snack on something throughout the day to keep my blood sugar up. I thought that could be a factor in some of this as well. I know cortisol imbalance can mess with your blood sugar levels too. I'll let you know if it works.
Easiest way to take it is just mix it with water or milk or yogurt or anything liquid. It dissolves completely and has no taste.
Originally Posted by nellis_1986
Don't go into it with any preconceived ideas of what should happen--if it works it works, if it doesn't you will know after a couple days then you can decide to keep on or not. I think most of the sleep problems reported by paleo people is a result of not enough slow-release carbs in the diet resulting in poorly timed cortisol, lactate, or adrenalin releases at night, interrupting sleep cycles.
I don't think we prepare ourselves for sleep very well. We're often governed by the clock and when we think it's the right time to go to bed.
Our ancestors were not governed by the alarm clock. They would have gone to bed when it was dark and got up when it was light. This influence of light and dark is linked to the movement of the planets and affects nearly all living creatures including plants, which open and close with the cycle of the sun.
What causes us to wake when it is light?
When light (from whatever source) hits our eyes or skin, the brain thinks it is morning. In response to this the hormonal system releases cortisol. This is the wake up hormone that says ‘get up, get ready and prepare for work’. For our ancestors this would have been’ get up and prepare for survival’ it is not any different for us today, we just perceive it differently.
Cortisol levels rise at about 06.00am and peak about 09.00am, after which they drop slightly but remain high through lunch time so you can carry out your desired activity. Cortisol starts to drop in the afternoon when the sun starts to go down, which is when you reach for the coffee or energy drink (I will explain why that is not a good idea later). When cortisol decreases then melatonin levels start to rise. Melatonin is the sleep hormone (which promotes growth and repair).This is when we should follow our ancestors and start to prepare for sleep, which should ideally be around 10.00pm. The above pattern is known as the sleep/wake cycle, which can be seen in the illustration below.
Why can I not sleep?
There are many reasons why cortisol levels may remain high well into the evening and night. Your body releases cortisol in response to stress. The body does not know the difference between falling down the stairs, alcohol, coffee, light stimulation from televisions, computers, fluorescent lights etc. It is all just stress to the body, which responds by producing cortisol (wake up get ready to go). This would be a good thing if you was in a situation where you needed to needed to get a task done (such as driving to meet a loved one in danger,or fighting to survive), but not when trying to get to sleep. Cortisol can take hours to leave the bloodstream, which will inhibit the release of melatonin, this at night when you are trying to sleep, will cut into the body’s physical and psychological repair time, making you wake up tired and irritable.
Let us take coffee as one example of a stimulant that will release cortisol. Caffeine has a half life of around 6 hours. So that coffee taken a 09.00pm will lead to half the caffeine still being in the blood at 03.00am. This is when you should be well into the psychological repair phase of your sleep. Therefore, it would be better to avoid stimulants of any kind after lunch. Remember stimulants will include light sources.
Drinking water and remaining hydrated is very important, as dehydration is seen as stress by the body.
Stress = release of stress hormones = wake up hormones.
Entrainment is defined as the tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony. It is also defined as a synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principle of entrainment is universal, appearing in chemistry, pharmacology, biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, astronomy, architecture and more. Christian Huygens a notable physicist coined the term entrainment after he noticed, in 1666, that two pendulum clocks had moved into the same swinging rhythm, so one clock had become entrained to the rhythm of the other. Subsequent experiments duplicated this process.
How does this affect sleep patterns?
Chances are during the day (and night) you will be exposed to low frequency electromagnetic energies. Power lines, electrical circuits in your walls, ceilings and floors and electrical appliances such as electric blankets and TV’s all emit such energies. This electromagnetic pollution can disrupt natural sleep / wake cycles.
What to do
Try unplugging all electrical items in your bedroom, including clocks, TV’s and lights. If your sleep quality improves, rearrange your bedroom so that all electrical items are as far away from your bed as possible. Also do not use an electric blanket.
Other forms of entrainment
Doctors and psychologists have discovered that you can become entrained or synchronized to a dysfunctional schedule in as little as 7-21 days. This means that if you stay up to midnight for one to three weeks in a row, your internal body clock will become entrained to wait until midnight to start reducing cortisol output and increasing melatonin output. If your body gets used to going to bed late and you then decide to get to bed earlier one night, you’ll probably have a hard time falling asleep. Now you are faced with the task of entraining your system to release your sleepy-time chemicals early enough so that you can get to sleep on time for a full cycle of physical and mental repair. In addition, if you work in an environment with other people, your heartbeat will show up in the brain waves of any weaker people in the group. In other words, you get entrained down to their level. This is one of the reasons at the end of the day you go home mentally tired.
All the above is very difficult to change in the world we live in today, we fly from one time zone to another, we have deadlines to meet, training is often done in the evening after work when we should really be winding down, your young child cries at night causing you to release cortisol again and so on.
With that said, I would recommend that if you are unable to recover from injury, are suffering from lack of energy, get irritable quickly or just cannot sleep, then you take a look at your sleep pattern.
Further Entrainment Information
Entrainment is a function of resonance, or the frequency an object wants to vibrate. We all function to a certain rhythm. Our heart beat, respiration and brain waves are entrained to each other. If you slow down your breathing, your heart rate will drop and your brain wave pattern will alter. The opposite effect is to calm the mind and the heart rate and respiration will drop.
With entrainment you can change the natural oscillating pattern of one object and replace it with the oscillating pattern of another.
In 1666 Christopher Huygens coined the term entrainment after he noticed that two pendulum clocks had moved into the same swinging rhythm. The accepted reason is that small amounts of energy were transferred between the two clocks when they were out of phase. The clock (or system) with the greater frequency slows down, while the other accelerates until both are in phase.
It is easy for two different people to become entrained. Females who work in the same office for any long period of time can start to share their menstrual cycle. A similar example may be the entrainment between a parent and their child.
You may have noticed effects of entrainment yourself. If you have spent any time with a person mentally weaker than you, your stronger brainwave will actually slow down, while their brain wave will speed up. The outcome is you will get entrained down to their level. This is why you sometimes go home at the end of the day mentally tired.
Electrical equipment also resonates a certain frequency, so time spent in an office can leave you entrained and feeling weak.
Brainwave entrainment refers to the brain's electrical response to sensory stimulation, such as light. Entrainment is also linked to even greater cycles such as lunar cycles. We are nearly all entrained to sleep when it is dark and wake when it is light for example.
When the brain receives a sensory signal it emits an electrical charge, this charge runs into and through the brain to become what we see and hear.
When the brain receives a rhythmic stimulus it is reproduced in the brain as an electrical impulse. If this stimulus is fast enough it can resemble the natural rhythm of the brain, called a brainwave. Brainwaves are related to mental state. You could not normally go to sleep for example listening to AC/DC, but could listening to the calming sound of the sea.
The brainwaves are as follows: -
• Gamma (100 - 38) HZ (Hertz=cycles per second)
• Beta (38 - 15) HZ
• Alpha (14 - 8) HZ
• Theta (7 - 4) HZ
• Delta (3 - 0.5) HZ.
Not much is know (in comparison to other brainwaves) about Gamma waves. They have been seen in states of both physical and mental peak performance, periods of high concentration and schizophrenia.
Normal waking consciousness is when beta brainwaves would be observed.
Anxious, busy or active thinking produces these brain wave patterns.
Alpha brainwaves are seen when we are relaxed, daydreaming or visualising.
Sensing is the word here. Hearing, tasting and smell can stimulate alpha waves.
Subconscious, dreaming (REM Sleep), hypnosis and meditation produces Theta waves. It is connected with intuition and creativity.
These are the lowest frequency waves and represent unconsciousness or dreamless deep sleep.
We now know that our brain operates at certain frequencies at certain times of the day, depending on our mood, our surroundings, our company, stimulation to light and so on. It is possible to alter the state of mind by means such as meditation, but an ever more popular method is binaural beats.
We all know that music can affect our mood. Rock concert leave you buzzing, whereas a folk concert might leave you more mellow.
It is now possible to obtain very low frequencies from a fairly high sound, so if the frequencies of two sound sources are applied separately, one to each ear, a binaural beat frequency is created. What is heard is not the two separate sound (frequencies), but a frequency difference between the two sounds. It is like playing the number 1 in one ear and number 3 in the other and hearing number 2.
So by listening (through headphones) to certain frequencies it is possible to alter your brainwaves, whether that be higher frequencies to stimulate thought processes, or lower frequencies to help relaxation or sleep.
I use binaural beats at work. If I feel mentally drained I use a certain frequency for 10 minutes to perk myself up. If a feel a headache coming on I can usually stop it by using another frequency.
Binaural beats are not just a buzzing in your ear. There are some good ones that can be downloaded (some for free) on I-Tunes. They are mixed in with calming sounds of the ocean, bird song, thunder and rain and can nearly all be customised to suit you.
Certainly worth a look.