4

votes

Adrenaline surges during the night?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 15, 2011 at 12:07 AM

Has anyone had the experience of surging into wakefulness during the night? I find that at least once, often more, each night I'll transition from what seems like a peaceful sleep into sweaty, heart pounding wakefulness. It's not related to nightmares - I remember my dreams usually. The bedroom is dark, hubby is a fairly peaceful sleeper, not much external noise at all. I don't think it's sleep apnoea - wouldn't I snore if that was the case? Apparently snoring isn't one of my vices.

I don't have trouble falling asleep, but once I wake like this it's really hard to get back to sleep. I'm tired!!!

I heard Nora Gedgaudas talk about getting adrenaline surges if you're not fat-adapted, but I don't remember any details. Is that likely, do you think?

I've been paleo for 4 months, don't cheat. I have meat, veges and sweet potatoes for dinner most nights - no dessert, nothing late at night. I've tried magnesium but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Please, any suggestions are very welcome!!

Edited to add that I'm post menopausal by 8 years, so it's not likely to be oestrogen related.

775c11c884f56a943735cdefa22c5499

on October 20, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Rhubarb, thank you very much for this answer. On my second paleo week I had a horrible night just like Jac described and it freaked me out really bad. Very good to know it has a scientific explanation related to food - and it was not a panic attack!

A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe

on July 15, 2011
at 08:20 PM

Not sure if this applies to you, but I've noticed that I wake up repeatedly feeling restless after eating liver for dinner. Could be a surge of micronutrients.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 07:01 AM

@Jac - So glad it was helpful to you. Where are you in your weight loss? I am curious as to the protocol as to the leptin resistance protocol as well. Perhaps we can talk more. It's late here and I have to get to bed! Thank goodness it is windter where you are, lol! the heat here now just really adds to it! But as I said, it does stabilize. You get to a weight and stay there awhile - or hit goal, and my experience is that my body then adjusts ---> homeostatis. Hope the inc. mag is helpful. Make sure it is CITRATE. More bioavailable form too.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 04:53 AM

@Thomas - I'm actually conflicted about it and was a total grazer - ate probably every 3-4 hours as able, for years. But, I've been out of the huge stress for 8 months with mega better sleep etc. And Ihave never been a breakfast person. So, I decided to experiment after reading about IF theory.Fact is, I don't get hungry till after noon, and generally eat post workout, about 2P most days. I feel good and there is NO difference with the HOT stuff whether I graze or eat two BIG meals a day when I am HUNGRY. But, as I said, I also am open to reconsideration. Thinking about Chris Kresser consult..

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 15, 2011
at 03:23 AM

Thomas - are you tinkering with Peat stuff? I'm interested.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:53 AM

yeah, mem, I would think you should not be doing IF.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Low salt activates sympathetic nervous system. You might want to take salt with a little bit of sweet fruit or juice (sweetness will help calm the cortisol). Not strictly Paleo but "whatever gets you through the night" as I'm fond of saying.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 02:41 AM

+1 Rhubarb for an answer that I think has alot of importnat info in it. I have in the past been a poster child for elevated cortisol with extreme high stress work and stacks of 12 -16 hour workdays with lots of 24 hour call on top of that. I've been prety much retired since this last Nov and working on the whole stress trip as my last front in healthy living. I'm very fat adapted (many years) and now do IF with no hunger for 16 or more hours.I've done lots of healing over years, but my guess is that my cortisol would show high if tested.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:39 AM

Sodium chloride might be better. If you up your dose of Magnesium you risk having stomach upset disturb your sleep. Of course, this depends on the person.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:27 AM

I'll go back to my old ways of light blankets and cool drinks, too. It's winter here, so not a bad time of year to have this happen!

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:26 AM

I'll increase the mag citrate. At 350mg it hasn't caused me any problems so there's some room to tweak the dose

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:25 AM

Great thought - I've responded more below. Lol, I truly thought hormonal crap was in my past!!

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:23 AM

Mem, this post just about made me cry - it's so right. Although from this very tired perspective I feel like I've never slept properly, in fact this isn't a chronic problem and has been appearing and disappearing over the last few years. It's probably worse right now because for the last few weeks I've been losing weight, and in the last week since I started Jack Kruse's leptin resistance protocol I've lost more rapidly. (yay). It feels just like the pre-surgery messed up hormone effect. I don't take zinc - I could add that though. I take about 350 of mag citrate but could increase that.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:11 AM

I really do think I'm fat adapted - fasting for up to 20 hours isn't a problem as long as I have good fat/protein intake first, I'm not craving carbs, I'm losing weight slowly but steadily and I'm not all that stressed as I have a pretty cruisy life. Thanks for the clarifying questions, though. Really helpful for pinning down the possible approaches.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 01:41 AM

Ovaries as well?

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:39 AM

Thanks Jac, I am actually doing great now. I had most of those symptoms for many years. Hope you find your cause. As for me, I am a salt freak because of low blood pressure and I take magnesium nightly. No dice for the adrenaline surges.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 01:38 AM

I'm post menopausal since July 05. We still store estrogen/hormones in our fat, so I feel that what I expererience when I drop even small amounts of weight is related to that change, likewise with significant muscle building. Less fat, less hormone storage in fat.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 01:34 AM

The from of magnesium I take is Mag Citrate so already got salt there and it does help.

C221a8c9efba0c80d03b9f84a2b3b3f9

(418)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:33 AM

Estrogen is not only produced in the Ovaries but in adipose(fat) tissue and progesterone is also produced in the adrenals.Cortisol,T3 and T4 are hormones as well. I suggest giving your Dr. a call to make sure that all of your hormones,not just female-centric ones are in balance.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:32 AM

Good grief, Annie - I just googled this and I have to say it's made me very grateful that I only have small problems. Thanks for commenting. Hope you find some relief from it.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Good grief, Annie - I just googled this and I have to say it's made me very grateful that I only have small problems. Thanks for commenting. Hope you get some relief from it.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:28 AM

Seriously?? I'll try this. Any hints about why it works, Thomas?

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:14 AM

Oops, I should have mentioned - 8 years post menopause (hysterectomy) with no hot flashes any more.

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8 Answers

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2
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 01:28 AM

I connect what you are describing as peri-menopausal or menopausal events. I also experienced what you are describing prior to the pre-menopause years when I was under alot of stress and chronically overworking - huge hours. (I, too, am a nurse. ;) ) I'd literally just SLAM awake with what felt like exactly what you are describing.

I think the combo, for some of us, of stressors and the biological stressors of pre/menopuase feed into this. I also am just a life-long HOT natured person. And this is the single drawback for me of eating low carb/high fat/ancestral in these years especially. I love fat and always have. But my experiece is that it makes me "burn hotter."The other thing I have been experiencing is that surges increase both with weight loss (have experieced this previously) as well as with muscle building - less fat and significantly more muscle. I've had 90lbs off since late 02, but am now dropping more.

I do strenth/resistance - interval training about 3 days a week and I just started teaching Zumba in the Curves circuit twice a day, two days a week. My body composition has been changing over about the last 8 months and I am also slowly dropping more weight now, below my original goal in 02. Since 02 I've had two times of weight gain - 10lbs once and over two years 16obs once, both with adding back low carb wheat/soy/pasta. Both times of dropping that weight, I experieced big surges in previously stabilized/occasional hot flashes.

I am also experienceing something similar to what you are, but I wake up less at night and do this surging more just when I am falling into sleep - just on the age - then SLAM! I'm doing meditation/relaxation breathing and remembering that this will stabilize. But it's hard. I live in the deep south and it is hellishly hot and dry here now and it is hard to be having markedly increased sweats and flashes.

But, my experience is that when I drop weight/add muscle, this happens to me and it WILL pass. The combination of increasing muscle mass+weight dropping is significantly worse, in my experiece, than just dropping lbs.

The good news is that overall, I feel GREAT and this will pass.

Don't know how much mag you are taking. Mag does help me as it enables fater sleep induction and I feel that it does help with night awakenings. I've done between 350 and 600 and while 600 gave excellent effects, it produces too much stool loosening for me! Do you also take Zinc?

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 07:01 AM

@Jac - So glad it was helpful to you. Where are you in your weight loss? I am curious as to the protocol as to the leptin resistance protocol as well. Perhaps we can talk more. It's late here and I have to get to bed! Thank goodness it is windter where you are, lol! the heat here now just really adds to it! But as I said, it does stabilize. You get to a weight and stay there awhile - or hit goal, and my experience is that my body then adjusts ---> homeostatis. Hope the inc. mag is helpful. Make sure it is CITRATE. More bioavailable form too.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:23 AM

Mem, this post just about made me cry - it's so right. Although from this very tired perspective I feel like I've never slept properly, in fact this isn't a chronic problem and has been appearing and disappearing over the last few years. It's probably worse right now because for the last few weeks I've been losing weight, and in the last week since I started Jack Kruse's leptin resistance protocol I've lost more rapidly. (yay). It feels just like the pre-surgery messed up hormone effect. I don't take zinc - I could add that though. I take about 350 of mag citrate but could increase that.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:27 AM

I'll go back to my old ways of light blankets and cool drinks, too. It's winter here, so not a bad time of year to have this happen!

6
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:55 AM

Reading your post, my first thought was related to fat adaption as well.

The mechanism is that whilst sleeping (and not eating) your blood sugar will decline. Ideally what you would like to have happen is that your body oxidizes some of your fat stores for fuel and you keep sleeping peacefully .

However, if you have some metabolic issues and your body cannot access your fat stores, low blood sugar is an issue so your bodies stress response kicks in by releasing cortisol. Cortisol promotes gluconeogenesis, so your body can break down protein into glucose, thus bumping up your blood sugar. Elevated cortisol will also wake you up so you can get up and find something to eat.

So if the above scenario is your issue, it is elevated cortisol that is waking you up. In a perfect world cortisol is lowest when we get to bed and sleep, and rises through the night to be highest in the morning, so we wake up alert and ready to go for the day.

It's generally thought it takes about 2 - 4 weeks for most people to become fat adapted. Since you've been paleo for about 4 months I would of thought that you should be fat adapted.

Chronic elevated cortisol levels can affect your fat adaption because this state can cause insulin resistance (and if you're IR, you're going to have elevated insulin levels and your body won't be accessing fat for fuel).

So, how is your all round stress levels? Are you getting stress upon stress? I.e. Stressful lifestyle causing elevated cortisol, causing issues with sleep - which once again bumps up cortisol, then you're dealing with stress with poor sleep and you are in a nasty downward spiral.

Are you currently trying to lose weight? If so is it coming off okay?

Do you fast at all? If so can you go 16 - 24 hours without getting overly hungry?

(I'm just trying to get an idea of your fat adaption vs insulin resistance).

It could be well worth consulting with a functional medical practitioner to see if you have some chronic cortisol issues and then learn how to manage them.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:53 AM

yeah, mem, I would think you should not be doing IF.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:11 AM

I really do think I'm fat adapted - fasting for up to 20 hours isn't a problem as long as I have good fat/protein intake first, I'm not craving carbs, I'm losing weight slowly but steadily and I'm not all that stressed as I have a pretty cruisy life. Thanks for the clarifying questions, though. Really helpful for pinning down the possible approaches.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 02:41 AM

+1 Rhubarb for an answer that I think has alot of importnat info in it. I have in the past been a poster child for elevated cortisol with extreme high stress work and stacks of 12 -16 hour workdays with lots of 24 hour call on top of that. I've been prety much retired since this last Nov and working on the whole stress trip as my last front in healthy living. I'm very fat adapted (many years) and now do IF with no hunger for 16 or more hours.I've done lots of healing over years, but my guess is that my cortisol would show high if tested.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 04:53 AM

@Thomas - I'm actually conflicted about it and was a total grazer - ate probably every 3-4 hours as able, for years. But, I've been out of the huge stress for 8 months with mega better sleep etc. And Ihave never been a breakfast person. So, I decided to experiment after reading about IF theory.Fact is, I don't get hungry till after noon, and generally eat post workout, about 2P most days. I feel good and there is NO difference with the HOT stuff whether I graze or eat two BIG meals a day when I am HUNGRY. But, as I said, I also am open to reconsideration. Thinking about Chris Kresser consult..

775c11c884f56a943735cdefa22c5499

on October 20, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Rhubarb, thank you very much for this answer. On my second paleo week I had a horrible night just like Jac described and it freaked me out really bad. Very good to know it has a scientific explanation related to food - and it was not a panic attack!

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:25 AM

Drink or eat something salty before going to bed. The salt will reduce the adrenaline surges.1/4 teaspoon or so should do the trick.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 01:34 AM

The from of magnesium I take is Mag Citrate so already got salt there and it does help.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:39 AM

Sodium chloride might be better. If you up your dose of Magnesium you risk having stomach upset disturb your sleep. Of course, this depends on the person.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:28 AM

Seriously?? I'll try this. Any hints about why it works, Thomas?

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:26 AM

I'll increase the mag citrate. At 350mg it hasn't caused me any problems so there's some room to tweak the dose

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Low salt activates sympathetic nervous system. You might want to take salt with a little bit of sweet fruit or juice (sweetness will help calm the cortisol). Not strictly Paleo but "whatever gets you through the night" as I'm fond of saying.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 15, 2011
at 03:23 AM

Thomas - are you tinkering with Peat stuff? I'm interested.

1
6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:22 AM

I have the same thing, but I also have dysautonomia, which is the likely cause. I am not peri-menopausal and have had this for several years. It has not been cured by Paleo. Any tiny little noise can set my heart pounding and release tons of adrenaline. I have a hard time getting back to sleep afterwards. I wish I could help with some remedies, but I have none. The good news is that it seems to come and go in cycles. I hope someone here has answers for you, good luck!

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:39 AM

Thanks Jac, I am actually doing great now. I had most of those symptoms for many years. Hope you find your cause. As for me, I am a salt freak because of low blood pressure and I take magnesium nightly. No dice for the adrenaline surges.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Good grief, Annie - I just googled this and I have to say it's made me very grateful that I only have small problems. Thanks for commenting. Hope you get some relief from it.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:32 AM

Good grief, Annie - I just googled this and I have to say it's made me very grateful that I only have small problems. Thanks for commenting. Hope you find some relief from it.

1
C221a8c9efba0c80d03b9f84a2b3b3f9

on June 15, 2011
at 01:11 AM

Peri-menopausal/menopausal perhaps?

C221a8c9efba0c80d03b9f84a2b3b3f9

(418)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:33 AM

Estrogen is not only produced in the Ovaries but in adipose(fat) tissue and progesterone is also produced in the adrenals.Cortisol,T3 and T4 are hormones as well. I suggest giving your Dr. a call to make sure that all of your hormones,not just female-centric ones are in balance.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 15, 2011
at 01:41 AM

Ovaries as well?

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:14 AM

Oops, I should have mentioned - 8 years post menopause (hysterectomy) with no hot flashes any more.

0
A02337d9b1e20775ac1bd6cb2338b976

on October 22, 2011
at 07:59 PM

Oh my god, it happened to me this week, 4 days without sleep or sleeping 2 or 3 hours a day, its terrible.

I was getting 6000 calories a day to gain weight, then suddenly overnight i decided to go Paleo and Intermittent Fast, then drop to 1500 or 2000 (max 2500) calories then started Jiu-jitsu at night, close to bed hour, that really make me tired, and started the josts during the sleep. Now, after 5 days (second week), i feeling better because i added more carbs on training days and getting more carbs from fruits e veggies. Is helped me, because i think i was relying on carbs too much and not prepared my body to become fat adapted.

The same happened to me in 2010, on the same circunstances (but was not 6000 calories, proprably 3500-4000) and, when i became fat adapted, it was wonderful, my sleep even on 5 hours was full resting, waking up at 6 without clock and jumping of the bed greatly. Unfortunately, i got back to carb (red junk food) lifestyle and the sleep was bad, without adrenaline surges, but very poor (it was like a truck hit me on the morning).

Now, i became again fat adapted (i think), sleeping well yesteray and woke feeling greatly, despite the 4 nights without sleep well.

I think i put too much strain o m my body, and now he's restored.

0
F99858355e6b9c8f99d1991f96d33cf1

on July 15, 2011
at 08:11 PM

I've been using Phosphatidyl Serine (even though you can only get it derived from soy these days) to deal with cortisol surges. I've been having adrenal fatigue issues lately and it helps me sleep. I'm also experimenting with some more carbs and 3 meals per day instead of 2 since that's supposed to help according to some (e.g. Schwarzbein Principle).

0
Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on June 15, 2011
at 08:18 PM

Are you hypoglycemic? I'm a diabetic and I wake up like that sometimes when my sugar is very low.

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