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Thread: HIIT Gives me Horrific Insomnia no Matter What I Eat/Supplements I Take page

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    michaelsa1214's Avatar
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    HIIT Gives me Horrific Insomnia no Matter What I Eat/Supplements I Take

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    I would love to do HIIT, but even a 15 minute workout, with 1 minute rest periods between sets gives me horrific insomnia--meaning I can't sleep AT ALL, all night long. I take melatonin, GABA and have tried taking Seriphos to reduce cortisol, but no matter what I do, I cannot do HIIT, even in the morning, and then sleep that night.

    I've had lifelong insomnia anyways, even when I was a baby, and have never been able to fall asleep without lying in bed for at least two hours, wide awake, no matter what I take. I'm off sleep prescriptions, but even when I took hardcore pharmaceuticals, I'd still lie awake for hours before falling asleep. Low light for hours before bedtime helps but doesn't solve the problem. I also use soft music, subliminal sleep tapes, meditation, positive thinking, aromatherapy, hot baths, magnesium, lemon balm, ashwaganda, holy basil, valerian, passionflower, no computer or tv before bed, but I still lie awake 1-2 hours before falling asleep, if I'm lucky, and then wake up at 3am and have to take more sleep supplements. Sorry for the rant, but wanted to give some background.

    I'm a 35 year old female, and I think I have normal hormone levels. Last time I tested them two years ago they were fine and my periods are very regular. I've suffered from adrenal fatigue many times in my life, but am pretty much recovered now. Also, my thyroid levels are normal.

    Basically, I have to do very very light cardio and lifting, at the level of a 65 year old, even though I'm only 35. Otherwise, my body acts as if I'm over training. I have good muscle tone and am a healthy weight, but I have to work out as if I'm a grandma, or my body produces so much cortisol that I won't be able to sleep at all. Seriphos and regular phosphotidyl serine are supposed to reduce cortisol, and I think they do, but it's not enough. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Eating more carbs seems to help a little. I eat yams, fruit and plantain flour bread that I bake. If I don't eat enough carb the cortisol response is even worse. I've tried going low carb and got so sick and depressed I was non-functional, so now I eat about 150 g of carb per day, and am still able to maintain a healthy weight and sleep a little better than I was on the low carb diet.

    I eat protein and carb right after my workout and never workout in a fasted state. I don't care if that means I'll lose less weight or stop my HGH release. I need to stay alive and sleep and avoid adrenal fatigue, so anything I can do to reduce cortisol release is worth it to me.

    I'm going to try lightening my weight lifting to grandma levels, and only doing cardio for 30 minutes or less, and never let my heart rate get above 150, even though 85% of my VO2 Max is 164, and all exercise gurus who tout HIIT encourage everyone to get up into that anaerobic range. Burning the extra calories after my workout just doesn't seem worth it to me if my cortisol levels will go through the roof and I won't be able to sleep.

    It's depressing to think that if I lived in Grok's era, I would be the first to get eaten by saber toothed tigers. It doesn't seem natural to me, that I need to take all these supplements just to sleep, and can't stand short periods of vigorous exercise.

    Sorry, I have to whine once more. I WANT SO MUCH TO BE AN ATHLETE AND DO TRIATHALONS. Motivation is not my problem. I tend to overdo exercise, which is why I've had adrenal fatigue so many times. I guess my mind's desires and my body's abilities are in conflict. Maybe some people were born to just walk and do yoga and others were born to do marathons? Gentle exercise is so boring. Sigh.

    If anyone has advice, I'll be so grateful to receive it. And if anyone else has similar problems, I wanted you to know you aren't alone, and I really feel for you. I hope we solve our problem!
    Last edited by michaelsa1214; 10-06-2013 at 03:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Knifegill's Avatar
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    Eat those carbs right before bed. That should keep your liver happy all night and let you get the rest you need. Worth a try, anyway.

    I'm nocturnal. Left to my own devices, I go to sleep around 2AM and wake up around noon. This leaves me feeling awake, refreshed and alert. Humans need a few nocturns to keep watch over the fire and sound the alarm if invaders approach. I used to think I had sleeping problems, now I know I just live in the wrong era. I would have been EXTREMELY useful with my ADD and night habits. Ah, what could have been...

    And your cardio is still somewhat excessive at 30 minutes a day, unless it's basically walking quickly without breaking a sweat. Take a week or two off the routine, then try working out only every OTHER day. Remember, you only get healthier and stronger when you are at rest. The exercise is just to remind your body of what to become.

    If you lived in Grok times, you'd sit on your precious ass, all day, to rest your tired bones and conserve precious calories.
    Last edited by Knifegill; 10-06-2013 at 03:11 PM.


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    Mr. Anthony's Avatar
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    Even if you work out first thing in the morning?

    This sounds like a deeper issue than just exercise = insomnia.

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    I have trouble sleeping the nights after I do sprints and I usually do my sprints at lunch. It's not really bad insomnia. I just have a hard time getting to sleep and my sleep quality is shallow and poor.

    I have found throughout my life that the worst thing you can do about insomnia is fret over it. Just lay there and let your mind wander. Or go see if you can sleep better on the couch. But don't worry so much about it. That only makes it worse. When Saturday comes, take a nap in the afternoon to catch up, if possible.
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    Do you cool-down after sprints for good 8-10 minutes (walk, stretch?)? Did you try cold showers or contrast showers/water exposure? I find that when I run, I need those to calm down. On another hand swimming (even swim-sprints) puts me to sleep.

    EDIT: Do you drink anything caffeinated, both coffee and tea? If yes, try to avoid it on the days you do HIT.
    Last edited by Leida; 10-07-2013 at 10:00 AM.
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    michaelsa1214's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knifegill View Post
    Eat those carbs right before bed. That should keep your liver happy all night and let you get the rest you need. Worth a try, anyway.

    I'm nocturnal. Left to my own devices, I go to sleep around 2AM and wake up around noon. This leaves me feeling awake, refreshed and alert. Humans need a few nocturns to keep watch over the fire and sound the alarm if invaders approach. I used to think I had sleeping problems, now I know I just live in the wrong era. I would have been EXTREMELY useful with my ADD and night habits. Ah, what could have been...

    And your cardio is still somewhat excessive at 30 minutes a day, unless it's basically walking quickly without breaking a sweat. Take a week or two off the routine, then try working out only every OTHER day. Remember, you only get healthier and stronger when you are at rest. The exercise is just to remind your body of what to become.

    If you lived in Grok times, you'd sit on your precious ass, all day, to rest your tired bones and conserve precious calories.
    So true. Thank you for your reply!

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    You might consider the high intensity weight lifting routines like Body By Science. It's once a week for 15-30 minutes. There is a gym in Denver that does it; the Body by Science website has a (somewhat difficult to find) area that lists trainers. After a 30 min workout I'm totally wasted; it takes a couple of days to feel fully recovered. I've more than doubled most of my weights in about twelve weeks on this program. It is very efficient of time (I'm a busy doc, 59 years old) and I'm getting very acceptable results. The hard core weights guys often don't like it because they enjoy the workouts more often (which I do understand) but in your case perhaps it would help your sleeping most nights and you won't be losing any conditioning.

    Some sites to look at:
    http://www.bodybyscience.net/home.html/
    High Intensity Training by Drew Baye - Bodybuilding, Nutrition, Fitness and Health
    http://baye.com/wp-content/uploads/2...rtr-Fisher.pdf (if you're into the science of it all.)
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    I second the previous post as far as strength(and some HIIT like metabolic effect) goes.
    You could even do a 'big 3' and keep time spent well under 10 minutes.
    Nice point that even if it does aggravate insomnia it would be one day of your choice.

    Your post confuses me some. You mention tri's and marathons as goals but ask about HIIT and lifting.
    Just build mileage at 60-70 pct hr and you can do a respectable amatuer tri or marathon.
    Google maffetone method and gallowalking(running with walk breaks)

    I'm with you on being a wannabe athlete on the wrong side of the talent bell curve.
    I retreated to skill sports like tennis and golf but even there sometimes get overwhelmed by naturals.

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    I feel your pain - I have the reverse problem in that LHT gives me insomnia (and made me add bodyfat, tho also muscle), I tried adding carbs, and working out earlier in the day but nothing helped. Recently I've completely quit lifting workouts and just did for HIIT and this has finally worked - I've been having my best sleep in several years these last few weeks. That said, I accidentally IF'd yesterday (no time for more than a few bites) and did my HIIT - insomnia last night. It seems IF gives some people insomnia so if you're IF'ing you might try stopping.
    Me: 39, 5'11", primal since Dec 2011, always been active (surfing, martial arts) but no athlete.
    Currently: bw 78kg (17ish% fat?), Squat 102.5kgx5 , Bench 67.5kgx5, Deadlift 115kgx5 (July 2013)

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  10. #10
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    Eat your carbs...in my expirience it's better to eat them after your HIIT and in the evening. They give me better sleep. I try to cutt back the fat (at least a bit) when I eat them. Low carb doensn't really work for me. I sleep orse, fell cold and I just don't want to miss them. So slow moderate carb, primarilly in the afternoon after my workout, is what makes me feel better.

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