0

votes

Excessive sleepiness?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 19, 2012 at 7:22 PM

This isn't exactly paleo-related, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas as to why I sleep so damn much. I've had this problem for at least the past year, and I've slowly been phasing paleo foods into my diet since around October 2011. It hasn't improved. Basically, if left to my own devices, I will sleep between 12 and 14 hours a night.

My current work schedule is 4pm to 10pm. On a good night I'll fall asleep around midnight, but lately it's been closer to 3am. And yes, I'll sleep until 3pm or so. (Longer if I don't have to go to work.) I've tried setting alarms to get myself up earlier, but I feel so crappy I will almost always just lay back down and fall asleep again.

I do have a history of depression and have been on an antidepressant since the beginning of 2010. I've been symptom-free since the beginning of this year, though. (After having my dose increased, getting a stable job, and reducing some stress factors.) I also have PCOS and take metformin (only 500mg a day) and a birth control pill. I take a good fish oil supplement and lately have also been taking a vitamin D supplement.

This issue has interfered with my life significantly. I feel like I can take a nap at any time of the day. Often, when I open up a book to read, I will begin to get extremely drowsy. I have a difficult time concentrating and was doing terrible in school, so I took a break. But even when I did have to force myself up early to get to class during the day, I was exhausted.

Does anyone have any ideas as to why this is happening? Has anyone had a similar or related issue? How did you treat it?

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Sounds to me like you are excessively sleepy because you are starving your body. Not healthy. Eating more probably doesn't sound appealing because you've gotten used to eating so little. Try adding a little more each day until you are eating a normal amount.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 20, 2012
at 11:15 PM

Ugh, the thought of eating more doesn't sound appealing, but I'll give it a shot. Yesterday I ate an apple with nut butter in the morning, then I had coffee with lots of cream. For dinner I had a paleo-ish Chipotle meal: steak, lettuce, fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. I can't remember eating anything else. Yeah, that really isn't very much food, is it?

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 20, 2012
at 01:28 PM

Its unusual that BCP would HELP you lose weight - most people gain on BCP. It also interferes with thyroid hormone absorption, so if you do have an underlying thyroid issue it may be hurting you. Honestly, it sounds like you are not getting enough calories. Do you track your food intake at all? What you described looks like only about 500 calories a day - that's starvation. No wonder you are sleeping so much. Calories and sleep are interchangeable. Try eating more.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 20, 2012
at 05:30 AM

I don't snore, but this is an interesting theory. I have TMJ disorder, and when I exercise, I will often have the urge to yawn excessively but have trouble doing so due to the muscles in my neck/jaw being so tight. When I strength train at home, my ears will often plug up (or open up?). I don't quite know how to describe it. Maybe the muscles in my neck/throat/jaw are tight and are preventing me from breathing properly at night. Hmmm...

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 20, 2012
at 12:22 AM

+1 on getting checked out for sleep dysfunction. Do you snore? If you do snore, you almost surely have sleep apnea. But even if you don't snore, you may well have a sleep dysfunction. Get it checked.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:53 PM

I got this when I went paleo, and fixed it with biphasic sleeping: 6 hours at night and 90 mins in the early evening after first meal.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:50 PM

He also checked my B-12 levels and various other things that might be related to depression. Everything came back within normal ranges. He did note that my vitamin D levels were on the low side of normal, which is why I recently added in that supplement.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I'm not a big fan of eggs and nuts in the first place, so I'd be happy to cut them out. But I'd probably end up eating LOTS of ground beef since it's the next easiest thing. I'm scared of cutting out the BCP just because it's the thing that helped me lose a lot of weight in the past. At age 15 I was 160 w/ high cholesterol and triglycerides. Now I'm 23 and much healthier. I have been considering it, though. I'll have to give it some more thought.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:20 PM

I will admit.... I definitely don't exercise enough. Right now I average once a week of strength training at home, although my goal is to do it two or three times a week. I've also been saving up for a bike to commute to work.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Right now I'm paleo with some dairy added in. I don't drink milk, but I do cook with butter and use cream in my tea. I don't like the smell of coconut oil. It gives me a headache. :/ I'm only about 4'11", and yes, I'm overweight. At about 120lbs currently. In a typical day, I'll wake up and have some tea with heavy cream. Once I start getting hungry, which can take awhile, I might make myself some ground beef and eat that in lettuce wraps. Or some kind of egg scramble with veggies. I only eat once or twice a day. At night I get bad carb cravings and will have an apple or tea with cream.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:14 PM

Well, when I started seeing a psychiatrist in August 2011, he did check my thyroid levels. They were normal. And I've been checked two or three times prior to that over the years, and my thyroid levels have always come back normal.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 19, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I second thyroid panel

  • A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

    asked by

    (130)
  • Views
    1.7K
  • Last Activity
    1283D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers

2
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 19, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I used to sleep at 3-4 AM, for 10-11 hours pre-Paleo. I was sleeping so much because my body was in a turmoil, and couldn't recover fast enough. After 2-3 months on Paleo I sleep at around 11 PM, for about 8 hours, and I wake up rested. If I were you, I'd go fully Paleo (coconut oil, offal, fermented foods, kefir, add goat/sheep dairy if you can tolerate them), check the adverse effects of the medication you're taking, and I'd go off the birth control pill. These things wreck havoc. If someone loves you, he can use condoms for most of the month. And thyroid is another thing to check, of course.

2
9c8032feabaa23c9c9c96593de344f31

(45)

on March 19, 2012
at 07:45 PM

This was a symptom I had, along with weight gain, low energy and general sluggishness, before I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. Might be worth asking your doctor to send you for a blood test for this?

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:14 PM

Well, when I started seeing a psychiatrist in August 2011, he did check my thyroid levels. They were normal. And I've been checked two or three times prior to that over the years, and my thyroid levels have always come back normal.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 19, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I second thyroid panel

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:50 PM

He also checked my B-12 levels and various other things that might be related to depression. Everything came back within normal ranges. He did note that my vitamin D levels were on the low side of normal, which is why I recently added in that supplement.

0
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on March 19, 2012
at 09:28 PM

Has anyone had a similar or related issue?

Your symptoms suggest sleep apnea which is frequently associated with PCOS.

To answer your question, yes, I was exactly like you when I was young (except without the PCOS, I'm male). Gradually over the years it got worse. It can get worse. Until very recently, I never met a doctor who could help me. Like you, I took antidepressants because that was the only treatment offered to me. Antidepressants improved my mood but didn't fix the underlying problem.

Last week, after 47 years, I finally found out the cause of my problem. At least I think I did -- I don't yet know for sure.

In my case the problem is probably upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS). This condition is a bit like sleep apnea. Over time it can cause chronic stress which damages both the body and mind. Stress isn't just psychological. It involves hormones and the body's ability to build tissue.

Here's an article by my doctor, Steven Y. Park, that describes the symptoms of UARS:

http://doctorstevenpark.com/sleep-apnea-basics/upper-airway-resistance-syndrome

You might want to consider seeing a sleep doctor who is familiar with both sleep apnea and UARS. Unfortunately, UARS can't always be detected by a sleep test. I get the impression (I may be wrong) that not many doctors are aware of it.


Reference: Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with obstructive sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness: role of insulin resistance.

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 20, 2012
at 12:22 AM

+1 on getting checked out for sleep dysfunction. Do you snore? If you do snore, you almost surely have sleep apnea. But even if you don't snore, you may well have a sleep dysfunction. Get it checked.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 20, 2012
at 05:30 AM

I don't snore, but this is an interesting theory. I have TMJ disorder, and when I exercise, I will often have the urge to yawn excessively but have trouble doing so due to the muscles in my neck/jaw being so tight. When I strength train at home, my ears will often plug up (or open up?). I don't quite know how to describe it. Maybe the muscles in my neck/throat/jaw are tight and are preventing me from breathing properly at night. Hmmm...

0
58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

on March 19, 2012
at 07:56 PM

Would you mind sharing what you eat in an average day? That might help. Also, are you overweight? Do you get any exercise?

I have PCOS and Hashimoto's. I am on metformin and Synthroid. I was on birth control pills, but cut those out and would recommend you do the same if at all possible.

I agree with Eugenia - try full Paleo, no dairy (no eggs, nightshade veggies or nuts if you can handle it) for 30 days and see where that gets you.

Before Paleo (with normal thyroid levels on Synthroid) I couldn't get enough sleep. I slept all the time. Didn't do anything besides work and sleep. Now, if I am not at a sleep deficit (my husband and I both love to stay up til the wee hours playing games or watching Criminal Minds, but we try to stay on track), I go to sleep and wake up at 8am with no alarm, feeling rested.

One other thing - how is your sleep environment? You should be sleeping in a pitch black room (I use an eye mask).

Good luck!

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I'm not a big fan of eggs and nuts in the first place, so I'd be happy to cut them out. But I'd probably end up eating LOTS of ground beef since it's the next easiest thing. I'm scared of cutting out the BCP just because it's the thing that helped me lose a lot of weight in the past. At age 15 I was 160 w/ high cholesterol and triglycerides. Now I'm 23 and much healthier. I have been considering it, though. I'll have to give it some more thought.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:20 PM

I will admit.... I definitely don't exercise enough. Right now I average once a week of strength training at home, although my goal is to do it two or three times a week. I've also been saving up for a bike to commute to work.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 20, 2012
at 11:15 PM

Ugh, the thought of eating more doesn't sound appealing, but I'll give it a shot. Yesterday I ate an apple with nut butter in the morning, then I had coffee with lots of cream. For dinner I had a paleo-ish Chipotle meal: steak, lettuce, fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. I can't remember eating anything else. Yeah, that really isn't very much food, is it?

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 20, 2012
at 01:28 PM

Its unusual that BCP would HELP you lose weight - most people gain on BCP. It also interferes with thyroid hormone absorption, so if you do have an underlying thyroid issue it may be hurting you. Honestly, it sounds like you are not getting enough calories. Do you track your food intake at all? What you described looks like only about 500 calories a day - that's starvation. No wonder you are sleeping so much. Calories and sleep are interchangeable. Try eating more.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on March 19, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Right now I'm paleo with some dairy added in. I don't drink milk, but I do cook with butter and use cream in my tea. I don't like the smell of coconut oil. It gives me a headache. :/ I'm only about 4'11", and yes, I'm overweight. At about 120lbs currently. In a typical day, I'll wake up and have some tea with heavy cream. Once I start getting hungry, which can take awhile, I might make myself some ground beef and eat that in lettuce wraps. Or some kind of egg scramble with veggies. I only eat once or twice a day. At night I get bad carb cravings and will have an apple or tea with cream.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Sounds to me like you are excessively sleepy because you are starving your body. Not healthy. Eating more probably doesn't sound appealing because you've gotten used to eating so little. Try adding a little more each day until you are eating a normal amount.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!