4

votes

Insomnia - Please advise!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 26, 2011 at 12:36 AM

I have been Paleo for a couple months now and have sleeping issues that have persisted throughout the better part of my life. I am INCREDIBLY sensitive to the quality of my sleep. I am not remotely a person who can get six hours and feel normal the following day. I need high quality 8 and even then I am someone who can easily take 2 hour naps each day. When I sleep poorly, which I often do, I am prone to headaches, lethargy, SEVERE moodiness (verging on the diabolical!) and none of these results have subsided with pretty strict Paleo (I dabble in aged cheeses, 1/2 and 1/2, decaf coffee and spirits/wine, but otherwise am a true blue cavegirl). Additionally, on days following a poor night's sleep, I tend to overeat tremendously, which makes it hard to get a good night's sleep the following night, but I will feel or think I feel famished at every meal!

What typically happens is I fall asleep at a decent time but wake up wayyyyyy too early. I usually have to get up at least once in the night to use the restroom (it's hard for me to "dehydrate" before bedtime -- I'm prone to hyper/hypoglycemia, I have exceedingly low blood pressure and I'm always thirsty) and I can usually go right back to sleep but a. sometimes I can't and b. separate from the incidents when I wake up to use the restroom, I often wake up hours before I intend to and CANNOT sleep. I'm not even setting alarms these days so fear of it going off is not an issue.

In the past drinking warm milk has helped me, but I have cut out milk due to the insulin response it induces. If I eat an entire meal, however, I can similarly fall back asleep on those mornings when I am inexplicably up at 4AM, but I really do NOT like resorting to this method. I like to eat around the same time each day and eating at 4AM or 5AM throws everything off. I also feel very sluggish when I do wake up. Read: I do not enjoy using food as a soporific.

Sometimes I resort to 2 Tylenol PM before bed. I know it's not great, but if I've slept poorly a few nights and need to guarantee a good night's sleep, they do the trick.

I have an incredibly neat bedroom, I sleep with a night mask every night (and even scent it with a blend of essential oils that induce relaxation), but does anyone have any recommendations?

I am especially interested in effective recommendations for what I can do at 4AM when I'm awake and feeling miserably cracked out because I cannot go to sleep.

I've experimented will Melatonin/Valerian/Magnesium pills but they don't put me to sleep. I don't want to have to get a prescription, but I can't deal with a bad night's sleep. I'm utterly useless the next day. :(

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 31, 2011
at 05:35 PM

I would add that it's better to make sure that your feet are warm (wear socks) and rather than put something electric into your bed, use an old-fashioned water bottle...the rubber kind that you just fill up with hot water.

Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on March 13, 2011
at 11:20 PM

you're welcome. hope to hear how it goes.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:33 AM

It is also worth experimenting with magnesium sulfate, Epsom salts.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:11 PM

The possible fish oil correlation is interesting and I may indeed pursue an experimentation. Right now I'm working on eliminating coffee (though I was only drinking decaf) and seeing whether the adaptogens I've just begun to take will help. Thanks for all of your great advice!

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Right. That would be helpful! Thanks!

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Oooooh, good one. Thanks!

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:09 PM

It doesn't sound out there at all. In fact, you have reminded me of my ocean music that used to help me in the past. I had been so sleep-deprived I forgot about it! It is comprised of several tracks of ocean and rain sounds and is extremely relaxing. Thanks, Beastie Girl!

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Thanks, Kate! I'm very glad to hear you have conquered the problem!

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Interesting. Thanks, Jimbo. I don't know what kind I tried but if I go that route again I'll be sure to go with Glycinate.

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:45 PM

I've taken AdreCor but I think it's best to get the cortisol test so you know when and how much to take. Otherwise you're operating in the dark and may be doing more harm than good.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Have your thyroid and ferritin checked

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Consider the possibility of salicylate intolerance. And a dairy free trial would be worthwhile too

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:04 AM

CheshyCat--I started taking Jarrow Adrenal Optimizer a couple of weeks ago and am finding I have more energy during the day and a slightly easier time getting to sleep at night (we could be twins with our issues, for real). My body temp even went up almost a full degree after taking just one pill. The only drawback so far is that it is kinda spendy. I'd be curious to know what other folks are taking for adrenal stuff, too.

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 26, 2011
at 05:31 PM

The one indication that this might not be your problem is that you have less of an issue with sleep onset and more with waking up. My problem was sleep onset. So maybe it's not the problem, but maybe people react differently to DMAE too. It's certainly worth a try imho... it was an incredible relief for me to cure my crippling insomnia just by eating less of something. Good luck to you! I know how frustrating it can be. (BTW if that doesn't work, the other thing I've found that helps with more normal bouts of insomnia is meditation... really relaxes the mind).

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 26, 2011
at 05:27 PM

That's really what I should have asked, as it's effectively the same thing. DMAE is found in the fat of sardines for sure. Once I figured it out, it took several days for it to be purged from my system after I stopped taking fish oil. I would recommend you stop eating sardines for a week... see if your sleep improves. Then eat a couple cans in a day and see if it gets worse. I'm very serious about this. My experience is that people have been very skeptical about this fish oil-> insomnia connection, but I am 100% positive via extensive testing that excess fish oil causes insomnia for me.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:43 PM

I have to agree with Aek on this. Seroquel is an antagonist of, oh, just about every major neurotransmitter in the brain--dopamine, serotonin, norepinepherine...also mucks with histamine and some acetylcholine receptors. And it has a metabolite that does the same stuff. Mucking with all your neurotransmitters at once is never a good idea. If anxiety is the issue, something like diazepam that works on one class of receptors (though I'd try to avoid this too) is better than antagonizing every receptor in your brain. @AEK: Dr's are prescribing seroquel off label for insomnia a lot lately though.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:18 PM

THANK YOU! Truly. I will get that adaptogen you recommended today and work on the other recs as well. I'm so grateful you and everyone else took the time to respond. :)

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:37 PM

PS: Are there particular adaptogens you recommend, Gazelle?

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:52 AM

For me, the take-away from Sisson's article is that if I do wake up during the night (and I do this often), not to worry about it. Just relax. The worst thing is to worry, "Oh no, I'm awake, I won't get enough sleep, I'll be terrible tomorrow." Just accept waking up during the night as natural, and use the time for some quality meditation/contemplation/conversation etc

F1cd291cf9ba1ebd9a9db21d3dd09735

(436)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:33 AM

Respectfully, but vehemently disagree, Lee, about using an antipsychotic medication casually. The literature is finding evidence that all of these medications cause metabolic and cardiovascular derangement. The latest shows that even brief use causes the risk of cardiovascular disease to skyrocket. There is also evidence that this class of medications causes permanent derangement in the brain - loss of cognitive function, extrapyramidal symptoms, tardive dyskinesia. There is no on label use for any of them in insomnia, anxiety, etc.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:15 AM

Thanks for the link. While I'm happy to embrace an alternate sleep schedule if it suits me, when I can't sleep I am not remotely rested, so I know I do need more at a stretch at night. Also, it would be great to get a solid 8 per night in case circumstances prevent me from napping. I'm unemployed at the moment so napping isn't an issue, but I can't say my fabulous circumstances will persist.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:14 AM

I've downloaded Flux! Thanks. I'll have to see how I do with it. Skipping dinner or eating too early doesn't work for me because hunger tends to keep me up too. :P

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:12 AM

P.S. If Ambiem doesn't work for you, ask your doctor if he'd consider letting you try Seroquel. When my insomnia is at its very worst, that is the only thing that works - and it ALWAYS works. 25 or 50 mg and Im out cold.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:11 AM

Yep. The computer time is an issue. Thank you!

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:10 AM

Thanks for the great tips, Gazelle and Terrence! I'm really glad to hear you have had success, Gazelle. I'm definitely going to look into adaptogens and rethink my exercise regimen. I'm so delicate perhaps I should really scale back on the intensity, even though I don't think what I do is intense at all. Perhaps, however, it's too intense for me. The saliva test also sounds interesting.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:08 AM

Hmmm, no I don't take fish oil but I eat a lot of fish: canned smoked sardines 5x per week...

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:14 AM

Ditto, Gazelle. My saliva test showed that cortisol level was lowest at 8:00 am. when it should have been highest; the other three readings were fine. I suggest that CheshyCat get a saliva test. I am taking an adaptogen, too. It seems to be working. I will know for sure in a week or two, hopefully not longer. I need more sleep..

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:10 AM

I second that about Flux.

4bb7a88866d5f97c6bd900b2a83fa2b0

(223)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:07 AM

http://stereopsis.com/flux/ Flux has also been great for me and my wife.

4bb7a88866d5f97c6bd900b2a83fa2b0

(223)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:05 AM

this has also worked for me and my wife.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:46 AM

At the risk of sounding crude, I need something to knock me the heck out. When my insomnia is REALLY bad, even Ambien hasn't worked.

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12 Answers

4
Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on February 26, 2011
at 02:33 PM

I would highly recommend NOT using medications. They actually push you past REM stage in sleep and can, after prolonged use (in addition to the other problems already mentioned by other hacks above) can result in waking hallucinations/nightmares.The body has to dream, and when you're taking sleeping medications for "deep restful sleep" you deny the brain an essential mechanism.

It sounds like textbook adrenal issues. Things to try (supplemental-herbal & timing):

The best time to eat breakfast is before 10:00AM in the morning because between 6:00 and 8:00 AM cortisol levels typically rise rapidly, peaking at around 8:00AM and while your cortisol levels are higher, you may not feel like eating.

In addition, the low liver function that often accompanies low adrenal function also suppresses early morning hunger -- this is often why you wake up at 3-4 AM. This is the time of day/night where the liver goes through it's cycle, and if there's excess adrenaline, cortisol, it's going to be kicked out into the bloodstream, hence your early wake up. I had this exact problem 2 years ago.

Eat lunch between 11:00 - 11:30
Eat a snack between 2:00 and 3:00 Eat dinner around 5:00 or 6:00 And eat a snack just before bedtime.

Make sure you're getting enough B-Vitamins. If not, find a good food-base concentrated source I know our diet should be pure and essential, but these days with all the soil depletion, food often just isn't cutting it by itself, unless you're springing for a biodynamic/uber organic kind of produce.

And an herb that you can get easily at WF or other good health food stores is an Ayurvedic Herb called ashwaganda. It's an adaptogen and can help support your adrenal system in healing.

Eat Desicated Adrenal glandulars. Check out dr. ron's website: http://www.drrons.com/thyroid-adrenal-liver-pancreas-glandulars.htm

Also, you might want to have your hormone levels checked: specifically -- pregnenolone. This is the precursor to many of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. It is a raw material that supports basic adrenal function. Pregnenolone is best taken towards the evening but may be taken earlier if it interferes with sleep. start with 25 mg.

Try the warm milk again, but antidote it's sugars with 2 tsp ghee/8oz, and a pinch of cardamom and cinnamon.

Good luck!

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:18 PM

THANK YOU! Truly. I will get that adaptogen you recommended today and work on the other recs as well. I'm so grateful you and everyone else took the time to respond. :)

Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on March 13, 2011
at 11:20 PM

you're welcome. hope to hear how it goes.

2
9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:07 AM

Mark Sisson actually had an interesting post about this the other day talking about how a solid 8 hours of sleep wasn't necessarily the norm for much of human history. People would often take, essentially, 2 4-ish hour naps during the evening, and wake up in between and have some chill time.

The 8 hours of continuous sleep thing really is a product of the industrial, and now post-industrial age. The fact that you can easily take multiple naps during the day kind of suggests that maybe that is the way to go if possible. That is, just find a way to get that 8 hours during a 24 hour period, but don't sweat it if it isn't continuous. I know that is hard for most people, but long term insomnia and the anguish it causes people is a lot worse.

That the Tylenol PM and Ambien don't quite do it, and you've done everything else that people tell you to try to sleep suggests that maybe you're fighting an uphill battle against your own circadian rhythms.

But I'd try reading Mark's blog: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/biphasic-sleep/

So if you wake up at 4 am, don't sweat it, just keep the lights dim and maybe do a little reading or something for an hour, try going back to bed and see if you can sleep for another 3 or 4 hours (depending on when you need to be up) and maybe that works. I mean I could say work on your stress and anxiety or all sorts of other things, but it sounds like you've probably tried everything. And I know plenty of people with the same problems and they just wind up having to try more medications. You could get a benzo script or something, but that will only work so long. I think the epidemic of sleep disorders is just another one of those diseases of civilization things--we've pushed people into these unnatural schedules, at least for some of us, and the body and mind rebels. So my suggestion is just try sleeping when you're tired--if that means a few naps a day, so be it, and don't sweat it when you wake up naturally. Maybe splitting up the 8 hours over a 24 hour cycle will work better for you. Good luck, I know it can be a really rough problem to deal with.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:52 AM

For me, the take-away from Sisson's article is that if I do wake up during the night (and I do this often), not to worry about it. Just relax. The worst thing is to worry, "Oh no, I'm awake, I won't get enough sleep, I'll be terrible tomorrow." Just accept waking up during the night as natural, and use the time for some quality meditation/contemplation/conversation etc

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:15 AM

Thanks for the link. While I'm happy to embrace an alternate sleep schedule if it suits me, when I can't sleep I am not remotely rested, so I know I do need more at a stretch at night. Also, it would be great to get a solid 8 per night in case circumstances prevent me from napping. I'm unemployed at the moment so napping isn't an issue, but I can't say my fabulous circumstances will persist.

2
E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:04 AM

This pattern of insomnia is not uncommon and has been discussed here before in several threads, IIRC. It can be related to hypoglycemia and some people get relief from having a protein-rich snack before bed. However, in my experience waking up way too early and being unable to fall back asleep is caused by adrenal fatigue. Testing your cortisol levels with 4 saliva tests over the course of a day can be revealing.

I reversed a very severe case of this type of insomnia by healing my adrenals (cutting out caffeine/alcohol/sugar, eating more carbs, taking adaptogens, avoiding over-exercising, fasting and stress).

If you are desperate to knock yourself out and break the pattern, I highly recommend doxylamine. It's over the counter and works much better than prescription sleep aids. Just don't use it too often, as it can cause depression.

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:45 PM

I've taken AdreCor but I think it's best to get the cortisol test so you know when and how much to take. Otherwise you're operating in the dark and may be doing more harm than good.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:04 AM

CheshyCat--I started taking Jarrow Adrenal Optimizer a couple of weeks ago and am finding I have more energy during the day and a slightly easier time getting to sleep at night (we could be twins with our issues, for real). My body temp even went up almost a full degree after taking just one pill. The only drawback so far is that it is kinda spendy. I'd be curious to know what other folks are taking for adrenal stuff, too.

1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:14 AM

Ditto, Gazelle. My saliva test showed that cortisol level was lowest at 8:00 am. when it should have been highest; the other three readings were fine. I suggest that CheshyCat get a saliva test. I am taking an adaptogen, too. It seems to be working. I will know for sure in a week or two, hopefully not longer. I need more sleep..

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:10 AM

Thanks for the great tips, Gazelle and Terrence! I'm really glad to hear you have had success, Gazelle. I'm definitely going to look into adaptogens and rethink my exercise regimen. I'm so delicate perhaps I should really scale back on the intensity, even though I don't think what I do is intense at all. Perhaps, however, it's too intense for me. The saliva test also sounds interesting.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:37 PM

PS: Are there particular adaptogens you recommend, Gazelle?

1
A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 26, 2011
at 01:09 AM

Do you take fish oil, and if so how much?

I have gotten very severe insomnia from taking high doses of fish oil, and now that I know what to look for, I know that if I take even 2 grams of fish oil in a single day even that will give me some insomnia. After that the severity of insomnia scales up with fish oil intake.

(If anyone is interested, I believe the culprit is a chemical called DMAE, which is found in fish oil acts as a stimulant to some).

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 26, 2011
at 05:31 PM

The one indication that this might not be your problem is that you have less of an issue with sleep onset and more with waking up. My problem was sleep onset. So maybe it's not the problem, but maybe people react differently to DMAE too. It's certainly worth a try imho... it was an incredible relief for me to cure my crippling insomnia just by eating less of something. Good luck to you! I know how frustrating it can be. (BTW if that doesn't work, the other thing I've found that helps with more normal bouts of insomnia is meditation... really relaxes the mind).

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Consider the possibility of salicylate intolerance. And a dairy free trial would be worthwhile too

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:08 AM

Hmmm, no I don't take fish oil but I eat a lot of fish: canned smoked sardines 5x per week...

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 26, 2011
at 05:27 PM

That's really what I should have asked, as it's effectively the same thing. DMAE is found in the fat of sardines for sure. Once I figured it out, it took several days for it to be purged from my system after I stopped taking fish oil. I would recommend you stop eating sardines for a week... see if your sleep improves. Then eat a couple cans in a day and see if it gets worse. I'm very serious about this. My experience is that people have been very skeptical about this fish oil-> insomnia connection, but I am 100% positive via extensive testing that excess fish oil causes insomnia for me.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:11 PM

The possible fish oil correlation is interesting and I may indeed pursue an experimentation. Right now I'm working on eliminating coffee (though I was only drinking decaf) and seeing whether the adaptogens I've just begun to take will help. Thanks for all of your great advice!

1
4bb7a88866d5f97c6bd900b2a83fa2b0

(223)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:04 AM

What time do you usually have dinner? I have found that having a very early dinner or skipping it all together really helps with my sleep quality.

4bb7a88866d5f97c6bd900b2a83fa2b0

(223)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:05 AM

this has also worked for me and my wife.

4bb7a88866d5f97c6bd900b2a83fa2b0

(223)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:07 AM

http://stereopsis.com/flux/ Flux has also been great for me and my wife.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:10 AM

I second that about Flux.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:14 AM

I've downloaded Flux! Thanks. I'll have to see how I do with it. Skipping dinner or eating too early doesn't work for me because hunger tends to keep me up too. :P

1
47665bed42db28e4d6ae815ec6fa1c8e

on February 26, 2011
at 01:02 AM

I have the same issues. A few things helped - completely darkening my room. Melatonin helps. And I do have ambien for once a week, and it works great. But I won't use it more than once a week - usually Sundays. Getting away from the computer for a hour before bed seems to help too. It's a pain, I am now used to 5 or 6 hours tops. Can't sleep more than that.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:11 AM

Yep. The computer time is an issue. Thank you!

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 31, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Keep in mind that some people (like me) have a strange reaction to magnesium if taken right before bed....If I take it right before bed, it keeps me wide awake!!!! Same goes for GABA!. Now one other thing that might be helpful, given that you have early-wakening as a symptom is to make sure to get late afternoon, early evening sunlight.

0
3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on February 28, 2011
at 03:41 PM

What kind of Magnesium did you try? After trying some random kinds that turned out to be Mg Oxide (which isn't really absorbed), I found that 400mg of Magnesium Glycinate would knock me out cold! My wife even had trouble waking me up on the morning.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Interesting. Thanks, Jimbo. I don't know what kind I tried but if I go that route again I'll be sure to go with Glycinate.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:33 AM

It is also worth experimenting with magnesium sulfate, Epsom salts.

0
Bad3a78e228c67a7513c28f17c36b3cf

(1387)

on February 28, 2011
at 11:21 AM

I'm 52. Was a serious insomniac from about age 30 until about 4 years ago when I started low carb. For me, dropping the wheat and sugar really did the trick. However, I did learn a few things in my neolithic era that helped me sleep. For me, the best way to get to sleep or more importantly to get back to sleep was this 3 step technique: 1) Make sure you are warm enough. Turn on a heating pad if necessary. 2) Get in a comfortable position, and then don't move! If you are constantly tossing and turning, or foot tapping etc, you will never get to sleep. 3)Clear your mind. Focus on your breathing or some other technique. This is easier said than done and really takes practice. Learning some meditation skills can really help here. Good luck to you! I know how miserable it can be to be chronically sleep deprived.

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Thanks, Kate! I'm very glad to hear you have conquered the problem!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 31, 2011
at 05:35 PM

I would add that it's better to make sure that your feet are warm (wear socks) and rather than put something electric into your bed, use an old-fashioned water bottle...the rubber kind that you just fill up with hot water.

0
344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

on February 28, 2011
at 10:17 AM

I KNOW this sounds a little fruity-woo-woo but it works for me! I downloaded a 'binaural beats' app for my iPod and listen to the 'sleep' setting on nights where I just toss and turn. After about 15 minutes of listening I pack it in, put my iPod on the nightstand and I'm asleep within 10 minutes.

If you don't have an iPod touch or similar, go to YouTube and search for 'sleep binaural beats', there's heaps there. You do have to listen with headphones, though or it won't work.

Like I said, a bit 'out there' but I swear it works for me - even if it's a placebo effect, who cares? I'm asleep! :)

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:09 PM

It doesn't sound out there at all. In fact, you have reminded me of my ocean music that used to help me in the past. I had been so sleep-deprived I forgot about it! It is comprised of several tracks of ocean and rain sounds and is extremely relaxing. Thanks, Beastie Girl!

0
186b8011a1572ec5b3ac68f5a7a72d2d

on February 26, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Some great advice here! I've often had severe trouble sleeping, and sometimes find putting lavender oil on my pillow helps me drift off.

This related thread might also be of use: http://paleohacks.com/questions/22385/are-we-meant-to-sleep-much-longer-in-the-winter-than-in-the-summer

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Oooooh, good one. Thanks!

0
39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:09 AM

I've struggled with severe insomnia all of my life, so I can really relate. My doc says I'm ome of the 5% of the worst insomniacs he's ever seen! In other words, I hear you!

A few comments. First, and I am sure this will not be the most popular answer on this forum, but i need something like Lunesta or Ambien, or I wont sleep through the night once per month. I hate taking meds, but for me the consequences of getting no sleep far outweigh my fears about medication.

I have found that establishing a pattern of getting up at the same time every day and heading to the gym is helpful. If I do a hard workout to the point of muscle failure (I follow Dr. Bernstein's workout recommendations for diabetics, and it has changed my life) in the morning, by evening i am dead tired and sleep so much better.

Also, you mention wine. Have you tried cutting alcohol? It can really mess with sleep more than you might imagine. Try ditching it 100% for a couple weeks and see if it helps.

Not to play psychiatrist here, but the kind of insomnia you describe, falling asleep ok, but then waking up and not getting back to sleep, is generally attributed to anxiety. That is certainly my case, and my sleep has been greatly improved by taking steps to alleviate anxiety.

When you do wake up, I recommend reading in bed. Never do anything electronic like turn on the tv or your computer. That just gets too many neurons firing and makes the problem worse.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Have your thyroid and ferritin checked

Medium avatar

(310)

on February 28, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Right. That would be helpful! Thanks!

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:12 AM

P.S. If Ambiem doesn't work for you, ask your doctor if he'd consider letting you try Seroquel. When my insomnia is at its very worst, that is the only thing that works - and it ALWAYS works. 25 or 50 mg and Im out cold.

F1cd291cf9ba1ebd9a9db21d3dd09735

(436)

on February 26, 2011
at 07:33 AM

Respectfully, but vehemently disagree, Lee, about using an antipsychotic medication casually. The literature is finding evidence that all of these medications cause metabolic and cardiovascular derangement. The latest shows that even brief use causes the risk of cardiovascular disease to skyrocket. There is also evidence that this class of medications causes permanent derangement in the brain - loss of cognitive function, extrapyramidal symptoms, tardive dyskinesia. There is no on label use for any of them in insomnia, anxiety, etc.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:43 PM

I have to agree with Aek on this. Seroquel is an antagonist of, oh, just about every major neurotransmitter in the brain--dopamine, serotonin, norepinepherine...also mucks with histamine and some acetylcholine receptors. And it has a metabolite that does the same stuff. Mucking with all your neurotransmitters at once is never a good idea. If anxiety is the issue, something like diazepam that works on one class of receptors (though I'd try to avoid this too) is better than antagonizing every receptor in your brain. @AEK: Dr's are prescribing seroquel off label for insomnia a lot lately though.

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