The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Good sleep aid for nine to fiver?

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by Prefect, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    I think I need to stop depending on alcohol as a sleep aid. It gives me amazing slow wave sleep for 3-4 hours and then I get insomnia, which is a known and recognized phenomenon and is likely due to the fact that alcohol raises cortisol, so once the good gaba fuzzy love is worn off I'm all awake and it's 4 am.

    The reason I've been using alcohol is that I'm a nine to fiver, and it can put me to sleep and I'll be fully alert in 4-5 hours. Also, I'm one of those people on this forum whose symptoms drastically improve and feel energized with alcohol intake, which I suspect is because it's a perfect combination of cortisol raise, NMDA antagonism, and gabaergic and ion channel blockage action.

    But now I'm getting scared. Because now I'm drinking close to 3/4 of a bottle of wine a night and not even getting drunk or getting sleepy. So I'm developing tolerance and on my way to becoming an alcoholic and I need to stop this.

    But I don't know what to take instead. I need a sleep aid that knocks me out no more than 7-8 hours and be able to get up after a night's sleep and not be a zombie. I need to be alert when I wake up. I guess I'm looking for something with a short half life? or what, I don't know. My doc prescribed me mirtazapine and it knocks you out too long. Someone on this forum told me a single doze made them sleep 4 days straight! I can't have that.

    I'm leaning on the side of Gabapentin or Pregabalin, because they're mild calcium channel blockers and I'm convinced all my issues to due to an ion channel disorder. But can I take them and feel alert in the morning? How about valium? etc.

    Please don't suggest vitamins, B3, l-theanine, melatonin, etc, etc. I'm done with integrative medicine/neuraceudicals for good (discussion for another thread) and these things do not work on me. Pharma all the way baby!:D

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
    Mel9 likes this.
  2. Mel9

    Mel9 Senior Member

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    Have you tried valerian root? (4. X 530 mg capsules before bed.)

    Or panadol?
     
  3. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    Valerian root: I can't explain it, but I'm phobic of botanical medicine/neutraceuticals. I'd rather take valium (which is the synthetic form of the same thing) if I only knew how I'd feel in the morning.

    Panadol: I've been reluctant to take paracetamol products since they've been implicated in dysregulation of endocanabinoid system with links to CFS, depersonlization, and autism. Now I only take (and give my 3 year old who is mildly autistic) Ibuprofen.
     
  4. geraldt52

    geraldt52 Senior Member

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    I would be very careful about the available pharmaceuticals. They are a treacherous path to dependency that can be extremely difficult to extract yourself from...think Michael Jackson.

    I don't think wine is a good choice for using alcohol for sleep because the alcohol content is so low. I find that the best way to use alcohol for sleep is to get yourself in bed, relaxed, and ready to sleep, and then get up, take a single shot of something with high alcohol content, like vodka, and immediately get back in bed. This will almost always get me 3-4 hours of sleep. Sometimes I'll take another shot in the middle of the night when I awake, but often I am able to scratch out enough sleep with just that one "dose".

    After years and years of experimentation, I no longer take any supplements or drugs on a regular basis for sleep. Very infrequently, when I desperately have to sleep for some reason, I'll take an Ativan, for one night only. I'm not enamored with having to use the alcohol for sleep, but compared to the pharmaceuticals it has been a godsend. Any tolerance I've experienced over many years has been minor, and usually temporary.
     
  5. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    I find this fascinating because you just described most of my nights. My nuclear option is whiskey. I start the night with red wine because it's been my dinner time routine for years and I enjoy it. But when I wake up at 4 am I have a double shot of whiskey in the manner you described. On a nocturnal empty stomach it does wonders. And for some reason when I have a Halls menthol eucalyptus lozenge with it the relaxation is really magnified, don't know why (possibly because menthol is a weak k-opioid ligand, gabaergic, and sodium channel blocker); I fall asleep before the lozenge melts in my mouth. I don't wake up till 7-8.

    But you don't find this habit forming? I'm finding I'm having to increase the amount I drink (even in the middle of the night) to fall back asleep. Benzos and alcohol are both gaba acting substances that cause dependency, why not pharmaceuticals then? And gabapentoids have a lesser reputation for tolerance and dependency.
     
  6. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    @Prefect I was curious why you feel convinced that all of your issues are due to an ion channel disorder? Did you have testing which showed this or is it based on something that you read or something else? I also feel that my issues are strongly related to an ion channel disorder based on an autoantibody that I test positive for. But I am the opposite of you and cannot tolerate any alcohol whatsoever since I got sick in 2013 (probably b/c of the histamine content and b/c it is a vasodilator and I already have low BP).

    I am also not supposed to take meds that block the calcium channel (which would also be the opposite of what you are suggesting with Gabapentin, etc). I am very interested in this issue and would love to hear more when you have time. Sleep is not a major problem for me but when I cannot sleep, I take Klonopin ODT (but I know that is not something you are wanting to do and I totally understand).
     
  7. keenly

    keenly Senior Member

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    Truedark glasses

    Block blue light or everything else is irrelevant.
     
  8. geraldt52

    geraldt52 Senior Member

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    I have been doing the shot thing for years now and have not found it habit forming and habituating in the way that the benzos and sleep meds were...but that is just my experience. I don't used any other alcohol at any other time, so a single shot during the night would seem a very low amount to start worrying about alcoholism, though awareness is not a bad thing.

    My sleep issues started with Klonopin. I didn't even know what anxiety was, and fell asleep when I hit the pillow, until after becoming dependent on Klonopin, which I was taking because of the nonsense theory that it was "neuro protective". I stumbled onto the alcohol trick after many, many years of withdrawal from Klonopin during which I tried nearly every supplement and every drug for the purpose, all of which led down the same path as Klonopin. I would be very careful with the sleep meds and supplements. And, alcohol may have the largest and longest running clinical trial in all of human history! :)
     
    Prefect likes this.
  9. Rich D

    Rich D

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    Cannabis can be very effective.
     
  10. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    There's been some discussion on this forum about relationship between CFS and ion channel dysfunction:

    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...be-treated-with-ccblockers.56777/#post-943894

    One reason I think I have it is the first week I got sick (20 yrs ago) I had these episodes where I'd go into full body spasm (I mean it, my entire body), where I'd have to lie down, fully relax with arms stretched, and not even blink or move a finger, or my entire body would seize up and cramp. Something like that is bound to happen because of some ion channel phenomenon. Since that week I also have tachycardia, thought I'm told I don't meet diagnostic criteria for POTS, and vasomotor rhinitis, which all point to something looping happening with ion channels. Not to mention alcohol helps me, and it's an ion channel blocker.

    Where did you get that autoantibody test done?
     
    Gingergrrl likes this.
  11. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    I've read a lot of the threads on this topic but it often seems like people with ME/CFS are helped by CA+ Channel Blockers and I did very poorly with my one attempt. In addition, I have been told by Neuros not to take any meds that block the CA+ Channel b/c I already have an autoantibody doing that. So this often makes me feel it is an additional factor why CFS is not my diagnosis.

    I had muscle cramping and spasms, and an extremely exaggerated startle reflex, from the anti GAD65 autoantibody but this disappeared with IVIG and never returned. Would this also relate to an ion channel phenomenon?

    I am the exact opposite and have a complete intolerance for alcohol since getting sick in 2013 (but was fine with alcohol prior to getting sick).

    Through Mayo Clinic. I did not go to Mayo but had the blood tests through Mayo's lab.
     
  12. Eneia

    Eneia

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    Well I guess it might be part of your phobia, but I manage with .3-5mg (yes .3, physiological dose) for the first part of the night, and second part 5htp. I will most often need to eat as well before being able to fall asleep.

    Orange juice and salt when you wake up was meant to be another option to try. Cheese and grapes by my bedside have also helped me before I heard of 5htp.

    That said, I had a great 5htp but the seller disappeared from ebay and I cannot find one that is as effective so far, although the Swanson one is the closest I have found so far. 25mg is best for a few more hours' sleep. If I just take 5htp in the evening I *will* wake up after 5 hours with a nightmare or high anxiety.

    Apologies if 5htp and melatonin are part of your phobia, but maybe then the post will help someone else.
     

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