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    isbolick's Avatar
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    Chronic Insomnia

    Primal Fuel
    Hi, I am new to the Primal lifestyle with just a week under my belt. I have suffered from insomnia my whole life (hence the 'chronic' part) and I have a few questions. I used to have a prescription for a sleep aid, but weaned myself off of it when I realized I was becoming addicted. These days I take diphenhydramine and melatonin which works OK most of the time. There are times when NOTHING will help me fall asleep or stay asleep, though. After a week of eating paleo, I decided to try to go a night without taking the pills. I got little or no sleep last night. Without cutting anyone off, I have done all the lights out, no TV in the bedroom, glass of wine, warm bath, candlelight, and just about everything else you can find on the internet to help. Been to the doctor, they can't find anything wrong with me. Thought for awhile that maybe I was just one of those people who didn't need much sleep, but figured out pretty quickly that YEAH, I do. I am very excited about this lifestyle and think it will help me out eventually. I have already lost eight pounds and have so much more energy this week than last week, it is ridiculous.

    So, here are my questions: Does anyone have an idea of how long it takes for the sleep benefits of going primal to kick in? I am sure it is different for everyone, but I am thinking that I am going to stick with the diphenhydramine and melatonin for awhile, but was wondering when to start weaning off of that. Also, is there a better time to eat more or less carbs that influences sleep? I have been trying to listen to my body and eat when I am hungry and eat what I am hungry for. I have discovered that I really don't NEED to eat nearly as often or as much as I used to. But I was wondering if it is better to have more carbs during the day and more protein at night or vice versa, or does it matter?

    Any input is appreciated, thanks for your replies!

  2. #2
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    I also suffer from terrible insomnia and have my whole life. Like you, I've also taken every precaution I can possibly think of to stay off sleeping pills. No luck, not even with eating paleo. So I take one Ambien each night and I sleep beautifully, no hungover feeling the next day. I know some people say they get addicted to it, but I've never had that problem. I just take the one and it works consistently and has for several years. Not sleeping is awful, I know taking a pill isn't ideal, but people who don't sleep know just how desperate you start feeling when it's impossible to rest.

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    I was on Ambien and we went out of town. Lost the prescription, had a hard time getting one where we were and literally did not sleep for three days straight. Not one wink. Not proud of it, but had what amounts to a nervous breakdown on what was supposed to be our best vacation ever. I think taking the Ambien interfered with my being able to respond to OTC sleep aids or to achieve any normal sleep. Could be wrong, but was so freaked out by that incident that I decided then and there that I would never rely on something prescription for sleep again. The diphenhydramine and melatonin are not perfect and I will still have trouble sleeping occasionally, but as long as we are near a Walmart (and don't they have those on Everest???), I have a chance of getting to sleep.

    I think I will just stick with what I am doing for sleep for now. I have changed so much in the past week that maybe I shouldn't try changing that, too, right now.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, it might be best to keep that part of your life the same until everything else stabilizes. Every now and then, I will take a week or two off the Ambien, and my insomnia is just like it was before. But I have always had the worst insomnia ever. I remember even as a young kid (like 4 or 5 years old onward) being awake what seemed like all night long, just staring up at the ceiling, not being able to drift off until the very wee hours of the morning. Frustrating. So yeah, I say stick with your diphenhydramine for now, wait till things get normalish, and then maybe try experimenting. Be sure to let me know if you find anything that works!

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    isbolick's Avatar
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    That's funny that you say that. When I was little, I would sneak out after every one had gone to bed and watch late show movies on TV. They always showed lots of old classics and I bet I was the only 8 yr old in my class who wanted to be just like Katherine Hepburn when I grew up and had a crush on Clark Gable.

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    I thought I was an insomniac. Turns out I'm just nocturnal.


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    Are you worried about something? Have you tried meditating or praying, maybe deep breathing?

    I think eating your carbs closer to bedtime would help, also what you're taking now to help I doubt will hurt you,
    certainly won't get you hooked like Ambien. (I had Ambien prescribed after the death of a loved one, absolutely loved sleeping like a baby, wanted more, doctor said no-no, will get u hooked for life.. Took me many nights of nightmares to get back "right").

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    Knifegill, that might be the case. Unfortunately, the entire rest of my life is diurnal. Being nocturnal is not so much of an option for me when I have to have 28 horses fed and turned out (or in, depending on the time of year) by 8 am and lessons, etc, are all during the day. Also, my husband and family are all of the annoying early-rising clan.

    Judy, I imagine I have the average amount of worry in my life, but this is an issue I have dealt with since I was a child. My brain just doesn't seem to know how to turn itself off. I use meditation, not as much as I should, but I am what I would call a 'casual' meditator.

  9. #9
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    Just throwing this out there.... Have you considered that you might be a nocturnal person? Maybe you would sleep better during the day?

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    primal/paleo did not fix my insomnia - I have a secondary one. It helps me to have supper as the largest meal, close to bed time with all the crabs taken at supper and limit fluids as much as possible in pm. That's about it (sigh).
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