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Insomnia ideas?

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by kaffirlime, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. kaffirlime

    kaffirlime

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    I've been dealing with very big insomnia issues for a long time, and currently take low-dose psych meds for that as a crutch, but still looking for better alternatives, since I'm not happy with chemicals. I feel that lots of the insomnia is due to nervous excitability (and probably excitotoxicity? I react clearly to MSG for example), and brain needs something to calm itself down at night. Melatonin doesn't do much of anything. Lithium orotate does have some effect, but it also makes me feel weird and panicky (and how does it affect my already low thyroid?). Tried valerian and other herbs too, I do believe they affect brainwaves positively and can aid as a background aid. Activity can easily put me into insomnia mode as well. Could you please share what has helped your insomnia? Thank you!
     
  2. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    Hi @kaffirlime - yeah, I've been dealing with big insomnia issues too and I'm very sensitive to MSG as well. I now think there are 4 main parts to this insomnia: high cortisol at night, excitotoxins (excess glutamate, msg), GABA and serotonin. THe GABA and glutamate are related, it's a balancing act.

    Cortisol: if possible, it's good to get an adrenal stress index test done. It's a saliva test which measures cortisol levels throughout the day/evening. If cortisol is elevated at night, it's almost impossible to sleep. Seriphos (phosphorylated serine, NOT phosphatidyl serine - they are 2 different things) was very helpful in normalizing high cortisol levels. I found it worked best taken in the morning; at night it worsened insomnia.

    Excitotoxins: First, avoid MSG in all its forms. You're probably aware that anything that says "natural flavors" generally has msg or glutamate and you want to avoid it. I have found that almost all processed foods have "natural flavors" or other euphemism for MSG added (hydrolyzed yeast, etc.) You can find a list of these euphemisms on-line.

    I do okay with say a can of chili at lunch, but don't dare eat it for dinner or I'll have severe insomnia.

    These things help mop up excess glutamate in the brain: vitamin C (I take 2000 mg with each meal plus more at night - it's a high dose but I seem to need it); calcium pyruvate and resveratrol also help mop up excess glutamate. I take these at night before bed and in the middle of the night.

    GABA: Niacin or niacinamide help sensitize or stimulate GABA receptors and can be very helpful for sleep. Do not get extended or time release niacin as it has been linked to liver damage. You need plain niacin, which causes flushing. I take it with l-theanine, it seems to be a good combo.

    serotonin: I can't tolerate prescription anti-depressants but do well with 5-htp. It helps the brain produce serotonin without the awful side effects of ADs. I take 150 mg before bed though am going to be increasing it to 250 mg. It's a long story. Tryptophan can also help but is more expensive.

    Glycine and inositol have also been helpful. I know, it's a ton of stuff to take. You'll have to experiment to see if any of this helps you. Good luck!

    I also take 3 mg sublingual melatonin before bed and another 3 in the middle of the night.
     
  3. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    @kaffirlime - a couple more suggestions re high nighttime cortisol: l-citrulline (which is converted into arginine and nitric oxide) can also help lower cortisol. Arginine can do the same thing, but l-citrulline is actually a more effective way of getting arginine into your system, and also produces nitric oxide. In addition citrulline can help either prevent or recover (am not sure which, or both) from PEM (post-exertional malaise) (see http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...ce-pem-post-exertional-malaise-crashes.48438/)

    However, I've just been reading about citrulline malate, which might be more effective for PEM than plain citrulline. I think it's worth an experiment (which I will do!)

    And Relora, which combines magnolia bark extract with phellodendron amurense can also help lower cortisol.
     
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  4. kaffirlime

    kaffirlime

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    Thank you for your thoughts, Mary!

    I have found that garlic for example causes terrible hyperactivity in my brain and if I eat it in the evening I find it hard to sleep. Don't know if it has to do with mercury toxicity as well. Maybe I could try taking valerian root and niacin daily. How much niacin is optimal? I get 50-100mg from my B-complex. L-theanine has been on my to-do list as well.
    I experimented with taurine, since it should be calming for the brain. I'm not sure how it affected me.

    And yes, I should get the salivary adrenal stress profile done, I did it in 2007 or so, and it showed low cortisol, and I was on low-dose hydrocortisone for a long time, but then quit after tested ACTH-stimulation. Now I take licorice root and adaptogens (like suma, ginkgo, ashwagandha etc varyingly, but don't really know what I'm doing). Wouldn't like to go the HC route unless really had to, but it has crossed my mind occasionally. It's possible my cortisol is high too, or goes up and down. I know the cortisol is high when my tongue coating becomes yellowish and get mouth blisters, just like when taking HC.
     
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  5. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Drugs
    Keep doses low, alternate between a variety of different drug types and maybe different combinations to avoid tolerance etc.

    If you can find a natural substance that works, great. They can be good to combine with some medications and also need to be regularly alternated as tolerance occurrs with them too. Many hardcore insomniacs need more than natural supps ive found.

    I think there is a subset of mecfsers that will always have sleep issues and need medications. With crap sleep i think theres little chance of improving.

    I remember watching a doco on some people from an ME outbreak and 30 yrs on still had sleep problems.

    I think many cfsers are reliant on sleep meds just like someone with hypertension is reliant of medication to keep blood pressure normal. Addiction is different to being reliant on a medication for medical reasons.

    Life is too long to live without sleep. Way too long.
     
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  6. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member

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    I deal with it by taking something every night to sleep. I alternate between Melatonine 3mg, Benadryl (dormiphen) 25mg and Sublinox (zolpidem) 2,5mg. This way I avoid any dependance.

    I don’t try to sleep without help anymore, it just doesn’t work and is making me more ill.
     
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  7. kaffirlime

    kaffirlime

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    Heapsreal and Dechi, thank you for your thoughts! Yes, maybe I should stop obsessing about chemicals, and put things into perspective. Sleep is important. Currently I am on low dose Saphris, occasional low-dose mirtazapine or trazodone, plus melatonin, I also tried antihistamines in the past with varying results (promethazine seemed to work at that time). I try to rotate them to avoid tolerance. Maybe I need to get back on valerian root.
     
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  8. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member

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    @kaffirlime Yes, I think finding a way to sleep is a lot more important than avoiding chemicals, in general.

    Someone once said ME is a sleep illness, and I believe it is, along with many other things. I think if one si careful to avoid dependance, then meds and supplements should be tried and stayed on if well tolerated and ME symptoms aren’t increased from it. No need to say your doc has to agree ! :)
     
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  9. PatJ

    PatJ far and free I gaze

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    Check my blog post for information about sleep aids that I've found to be very useful.
     
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  10. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    Hi @kaffirlime - re niacin: I can't tell you what is optimal because we are all different. But I'll tell you what I do. first, I don't take it during the day. During the day it makes me tired - possibly because it causes too much GABA in my system, or also, it slows down methylation and if it's slowed down too much, that can cause fatigue too. I do take a B complex during the day which has 100 mg niacin which I do fine with.

    However, when I take niacin at night, it doesn't affect me badly the next day. So I take 500 mg before bed with 300 mg l-theanine. It does cause flushing but I don't mind it any more because it helps. And when I wake up in the middle of the night, I generally take 300 - 400 more mg niacin, plus 200 mg l-theanine. THis would be too much niacin for many people but it seems to be what I need.

    I take an adrenal glandular for my adrenals and it works quit well. I take Drenamin by Standard Process. I get it from my chiropractor who does muscle testing. I've had to take varying doses over the years, I need more at times of greater stress, and less at others. I use muscle testing to determine my dose and it works pretty well.

    Taurine helped me some with sleep for a few days, and then it flipped, causing insomnia. So I stay away from it.

    The glycine also made a rather big difference when I added it in. I take 3000 mg before bed and 2000 more in the middle of the night.

    I think these 3 things - niacin, l-theanine and glycine have helped me the most. And getting my cortisol levels normalized, whether with Seriphos or Relora or citrulline or some other method. And the 5-htp. I keep adding things! But I need them all.

    Good luck! :)

    (just a tip: if you put the "@" sign before someone's name when you reply to them like I did with yours or like this @Mary, they will get an alert that you have responded to them)
     
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  11. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    @kaffirlime - one more thing (always one more thing it seems!) - when I first took glycine, it caused a very strong detox reaction. I slept very well but felt like I had been hit by a truck. The next day I got lost going to my sister's house, it was very strong. I think the issue was mercury. It's a long story but over a period of several months I gradually became able to tolerate the glycine, and also added in inositol and glutamine as well - both caused a milder detox reaction. At the end of several months, I was able to tolerate glycine with no problem, and I stopped having detox reactions to lots of things. I believe these 3 amino acids helped my detox pathways to finally start working somewhat properly after several years of having detox reactions to all kinds of things. I think for years I was retoxing - mobilizing toxins through various things (e.g., apple cider vinegar - anything with "cleansing" or chelating properties) but the toxins would just resettle. It never got better, until it finally did with the glycine, inositol and glutamine.

    So I wanted to recommend that if you try glycine, start with a small dose and see how you do.

    Also FWIW I can't take glutamine any more, not because of a detox reaction, but it seems to now produce glutamate, which it didn't before. So another thing to keep in mind.

    eta: I discovered this article after I went through the above, and it mentions these 3 amino acids (as well as several other things) which are necessary for phase II liver detoxification.
    https://www.diagnose-me.com/treatment/liver-detoxification-phase-II-support.php
     
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  12. PatJ

    PatJ far and free I gaze

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    When I tried glycine several years ago I had the same reaction. My ME fatigue was magnified so much that every day was spent in bed with massive fatigue and brainfog. It was so bad that I stopped taking the glycine after a few days. I've wondered why I reacted so strongly to it and might have an explanation now, thanks to your post.
     
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  13. Awags1986

    Awags1986

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    If you don't mind me asking...what does your insomnia entail? Inability to sleep? Tachycardia? Do you get jolted awake while trying to drift off? Sorry, I'm just trying to determine if my insomnia is abnormal or not. Several days a month I have spells where my body jolts me awake every time I fall asleep. I have great sleep hygiene, and some nights I can sleep fairly well...I can't seem to find a connection as to why this happens some nights.
     
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  14. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    I don't have tachycardia. I generally fall asleep okay (taking all my supplements) but generally wake up between 12 -1 and have a terrible time going back to sleep. I can be awake for 4 hours. I was taking 1 mg. lorazepam in the middle of the night for sleep for 10 years (!) way too long, I always thought it was such a low dose that I'd have no trouble getting off it. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. So I tapered off it over a period of 7 or 8 months and had bad insomnia all that time, as well as ever since. I think my brain is still recovering. Anyways, with all of the above stuff I'm getting some sleep. I've also recently added in CBD oil in small doses throughout the day and that seems to help too. I'm also taking 12 mg. trazodone, which I want to get off as soon as possible.

    Sleep hygiene did nothing for my insomnia.

    So yours sounds different than mine - I don't get jolted wide awake in general; rather I just wake up, can't go back to sleep. Maybe you could do a post about getting jolted awake - someone else may be better able to help you, especially if it's related to tachycardia.
     
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  15. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    @kaffirlime - one more thing (again!) I've started taking CBD oil in small doses after meals (e.g., 2 or 3 drops) and a few drops before bed and it is helping too. I'm really sensitive to it and higher doses make me feel drugged and tired. I've also broken down and started taking 12 mg. trazodone in the middle of the night. I'd rather not take it but need it right now. I'm hoping that especially with the CBD oil my body will eventually just not need the trazodone any more.
    https://bluebirdbotanicals.com/product/classic-hemp-cbd-oil/

    And another thing :)D it's endless!) - here's a thread I did about a pose that did help a lot with sleep. It's supposed to reset the autonomic nervous system. After a few weeks of doing it daily I was sleeping noticeably better. Unfortunately not too long after that it started stimulating my thyroid and insomnia got worse. Sometime I want to work with this and see if it will let me taper off or down at least on my thyroid med. I don't recommend doing it at night because that caused insomnia for someone else who was doing it. http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...-to-calm-balance-ans-stimulate-thyroid.52258/
     
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  16. debored13

    debored13 Senior Member

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    Where do you get your CBD oil? i am waiting until recreational dispensaries open in MA to get mine. I've heard that the stuff sold online is often bullshit/contains varying levels or sometimes no CBD
     
  17. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    It's right there in my post - the link to Blue Bird Botanicals. This stuff works. I did a lot of reading the Blue Bird seems to be very well regarded.
     
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  18. debored13

    debored13 Senior Member

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    I was gonna make a thread on insomnia but just figured I'd comment on this one. After I got Lyme one of my most prominent symptoms was insomnia and it was driving me crazy. I had a sleep study done which didn't show anything abnormal. For awhile I smoked weed and it got me to sleep but doesn't give high quality sleep.
    I rotated various gabaergics for awhile. Benzos, z-drugs, phenibut (basically a bioavailable form of gaba).
    Then I got prescribed gabapentin which helped for a little while. At some point this past summer my insomnia mostly went away, although I still had all my other symptoms. I was able to consistently get 9 hours of sleep with only herbal supplements. Now it's back in vengeance and it sucks. I have no idea what could be causing it and I"m maxing out my gabapentin dose which I know isnt good for my brain/cognition. Anyone have tips?
     
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  19. debored13

    debored13 Senior Member

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    naltrexone felt like it was making my insomnia slightly worse but it's hard to tell because it's so bad in general.
     
  20. andyguitar

    andyguitar Senior Member

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    Here is a pretty strange idea that might work. Sleep with a low level light on.
     

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