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Natural sleep remedies

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by CBS64, May 26, 2011.

  1. CBS64

    CBS64

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    I am looking for information on natural sleep remedies that are effective for people with CFS. I've only been sleeping 4 hours a night lately and not more than 1 or 2 hours at a time. I'm not able to tolerate prescription drugs and had a bad experience with sleeping pills, so I'm looking for something natural but strong. I've tried many natural remedies, but so far haven't found anything that has worked. The following are things I've already tried or can't tolerate:

    Can't tolerate:
    5-htp, melatonin, valerian (wakes me up), kava, anything with alcohol in it

    Have tried:
    homeopathic sleep remedies, Bach rescue remedy and Rescue Sleep, GABA, Suntheanine, Enzymatic Therapy Sleep tonight (with magnolia bark), various sleep tea blends, bacopa, Natural Calm magnesium, calcium, inositol, phosphatidylserine

    I would greatly appreciate any suggestions!
     
  2. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    hmm thats a hard one. I kind of sleep if I take both melatonin (tiny dosage of 1mg sublingual) and 5-htp (but take it during the day, not in the night) but since thats of the table for you... I know that rooibos tea is great at calming me down when nothing else works.
    you could try antihistamines too..
    it would help if you could tell us what your exact problems are; not able to get into sleep/ waking up/ anxiety etc
    btw too low thyroid hormones or too low estrogen or progesteron can also cause sleep problems, you may want to look into your hormones and thyroid antibodies and pursue bioidentical hormone treatment
     
  3. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    I agree, the 5htp is wonderful but if you cannot take it, making sure you are balanced with bioidenical compounded hormones is great. I see a doctor who know how to test and does it for me twice a year to make sure all is going fine. Triest Estrogen, progesterone, etc....

    I never take anything strong, these natural things took me from no sleep to long nights of good sleep.
     
  4. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    i have found tryptophan better then 5htp for sleep, i use a dose of 3-4000mg and it seems to work well with phosphatidylserine 100mg which is suppose to help lower high night time cortisol, then throw in some melatonin with it. But try to use tryptophan on an empty stomach or a few hours after eating.
     
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Lithium Orotate for Sleep

    Hi CBS64,

    I'm getting ready to try the natural mineral called "lithium orotate". This supplement is fairly well known in the Lyme community to be able to calm an agitated brain/neurological system. This calming helps many sleep better.

    Apparently, many years ago, after observing lithium had a calming effect, it was researched to see what kind of brain chemical or neurotransmitter effect it had. To the researchers' surprise, they learned it had none of these effects at all. The reason it worked so well for a variety of neurological symptoms was because lithium is extraordinarily neuroprotective and is able to the protect the brain from toxicity.

    Chronic health conditions such as Lyme, and I suspect at least some cases of ME/CFS, generally have various kinds of bacterial and microscopic parasitic infections. These infections can release potent neurotoxins into our bodies (and brains) so that we're exposed to them 24/7. Lithium apparently has the ability to provide a great deal of protection from these toxins.

    Just starting to learn about lithium. Though it's well known in the Lyme community, I was a bit surprised to do a search on this forum and found very little. I may end up starting a thread on it if I get good results after trying it. Note: Lithium orotate is vastly different and is used in much smaller quantities than the prescription lithium (carbonate) that can cause some extreme side effects.

    I hope you can find something that works well for you.

    Best, Wayne
     
  6. CBS64

    CBS64

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    Thanks very much for your reply. I have tried antihistamines (Benadryl), but they didn't work for me and made me feel ill. I've been taking thyroid for a long time, so that base is covered. I had surgery last fall to remove an ovarian cyst and one ovary, which put me into early menopause, so hormones may be a contributing factor. But I'm not able to take estrogen (even bioidentical) as it causes an autoimmune flare-up. My gynecologist also said I need to avoid any supplements which would be estrogenic, in order to prevent a recurrence of what happened last year. So, unfortunately, that's not an option.

    I have had CFS for 20 years and have had pretty severed sleep problems the whole time. But I've been getting acupuncture for years and have usually been able to piece together at least 6 or 6 1/2 hours of sleep. I need at least 7 1/2 hours sleep to feel fully rested, but can function at a reduced level with 6-6/12. But in recent weeks, the sleep problem has gotten a lot worse. I've only been able to sleep for 1 or 2 hours at a time and then I wake up and may be awake for several hours. When I fall back to sleep, I'm again only able to sleep for 1 or 2 hours. I'm not able to function at any level with this amount of sleep and my health goes down hill fast.

    I tried Ambien over 10 years ago and took it for a while, but it made me feel sick and I never felt rested. Then I built up a tolerance and had to keep taking more. Eventually, it stopped helping at all. I also tried some of the sleep medications in Dr. Teitelbaum's protocol (e.g., Trazedone) many years ago, but wasn't able to tolerate them. I've had a hard time tolerating most prescription medicine, even Ibuprofen or Tylenol. I'm not able to detoxify drugs very well, so they just build up in my system. But I'm about at the point where I'll try anything. I know there are some newer prescription sleep medications, but don't know if they are any gentler or less toxic than the old ones.

    I know this is a challenging situation. That's why I posted here -- because I know a lot of folks with CFS have sleep issues and wanted to see what other options are out there. So I'm open to any suggestions.
     
  7. CBS64

    CBS64

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    The lithium orotate sounds interesting. Please let us know if it works for you.
     
  8. CBS64

    CBS64

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    Unfortunately, I'm not able to take tryptophan either -- for the same reason as 5 htp and melatonin. I've had an autoimmune condition in addition to the CFS and these supplements are contraindicated for that -- they cause an autoimmune flare up.
     
  9. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    just to make sure you know; there are 3 types of estrogen, estriol is supposedly good for autoimmune diseases, including ms
     
  10. CBS64

    CBS64

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    I haven't heard about the estriol being good for autoimmune -- that's interesting. But my gynecologist said I can't take anything estrogenic or it might create another large cyst like the one I had removed last year. I wish I could take it, as it probably would help.
     
  11. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    yes, that is one of the reasons why autoimmune diseases improve during pregnancy; estriol is very high then.
    btw thyroid issues and cysts point to a iodne defficiency (fybrocystic breasts do as well).. im not saying you should take it tho, as it may, according to some, trigger autoimmune thyroid disease (which you may already have)
    anyway, maybe progesterone can help you?
     
  12. CBS64

    CBS64

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    I do take homeopathic progesterone. And vitex, vitamin B6 (p-5-p) and zinc, which boost progesterone levels. I tried the bioidentical progesterone cream a few years ago. I didn't tolerate it well -- it would send me up and down and my system wasn't able to detoxify it, so it built up in my body. Then the stored progesterone ended up turning into the bad kind of estrogen, which my GYN said it very common. She told me to stop the cream. So I started taking the homeopathic progesterone, which I tolerate just fine.
     
  13. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    ok, i dont believe in homeopathy but thats just me :) lithium is interesting, but can be toxic, also for your thyroid, so only under MD supervision. Well keep us posted if you find something that works.
    BTW how are your adrenals? they can also mess your sleep up big time. Mabe get some 24hrs cortisol test?
     
  14. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi, sorry ot hear about your sleep problems. I managed to sort mine out using only natural methods -i dont tolerate many medications well and have had problems with drugs making me very ill in the past so i find it hard to trust them. The route i took is not for everyone and its definately not a quick fix, its taken me about 18 months to get my sleep back and its now almost completely normal (apart from the mental dreams still)
    One of my main prob;lems was hypoglycaemia (which i didnt realise i had) which can wake you up at night. For about 6 months i would eat a high protein snack before bed such as a handful of almonds (high in magnesium) with half a banana, some prefer a bowl of porridge or a high carb snack. I also ate higher protein in the day to even out blood sugar problems. I also take magnesium 300mg a day -i know you said you have taken it, it is the sort of supplement tht is cumulative over long periods of time and is very calming, a bath with epsom salts could be taken instead a few nights a week as hot as possible -this makes many people sleepy -although it just makes me feel weird and didnt help my sleep.
    I also learnt to meditate and practice every day for the past two years for 20 minutes a day. This is a bigger long term commitment but many studies have shown the beneficial effects of meditation on the immune and endocrine systems and is well documented to help with insomnia -when i cant get to sleep i mediate laying down in bed and im off pretty quickly if this happens - i can also use the techniques i learnt to help me back to sleep if i wake. A friend of mine with M.E gave me a good tip for getting back to sleep if you wake repeatedly which is to not open your eyes and to concentrate on the dream you woke up from - sounds crazy but also worked for me.
    I am able to take valerian however and have been taking it at very very low dosage prescribed by a medical herbalist -again i have been taking it twice a day for a couple of years as i had severe excitotoxicity symptoms. My herbalist has also prescribed Agnus castex which has helped with the night sweats and helped to regulate my hormones -have taken this for the past 8 months and am weaning myself off now a drop at a time.
    DR Myhills site has some good stuff about sleep which i used to help sort me out.


    http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Sleep_is_vital_for_good_health_-_especially_in_CFS
     
  15. xrunner

    xrunner Senior Member

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    Sleep is not a problem for me any longer but it used to be. There was a time I used to ingurgitate at least half a dozen pills of aminos, herbs etc. Like everybody I tried most of the remedies mentioned in earlier posts. I found there are various approaches to sleep.
    One is to take supplements supposed to increase neurotransmitters that aid in sleep like gaba, 5htp etc or relax the state of mind (suntheanine,motherwort ec). This works well for getting to sleep but I remember waking up after 3 -4 hours and not being able to get back to sleep after that.
    The other is to reduce the immune system inflammation that disrupt the wake-sleep cycle. There are anti-inflammatory herbs that can be very helpful but everyone is different and we have to find what herbs that work for us. For eg. ashwagandha, andrographis and cat's claw worked well for me and were the only remedies that could give me protracted sleep.
    The most effective however is to try and get rid off the cause of the immune disturbance which in my case was multiple chronic infections, so much so that since having antiparasitic and antibiotic treatment I haven't needed anything for sleep anylonger.

    In addition, there are also earthing sleep devices. They were recommended to me and surprisingly they do work. I have been using one for a few weeks and my experience is that they improve quality of sleep but can't say whether they will work as well for somebody who can't or can sleep very little. Here's some info for anybody interested.
    http://www.earthinginstitute.net/index.php/overview

    good luck!
     
  16. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi Xrunner, thats interesting about the different herbs. Apart from valerian i also have motherwort and ashwaghanda in my tincture that i mentioned above, maybe these herbs are working more than i give them credit for.
     
  17. caledonia

    caledonia

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    First of all, have you had a sleep study? I was waking up several times a night with my heart pounding. My doc said either sleep apnea or acid reflux. The sleep study ruled out apnea, but surprise, I was kicking my legs a million times an hour. They offered me xyrem, which I declined. I vastly increased my magnesium and that problem was solved. My sleep improved a lot.

    The heart pounding was now narrowed down to acid reflux. I got a wedge pillow and also made sure I didn't lay down until an hour after I ate. Problem vastly improved. Later, my naturopath prescribed GI Health to heal the gut/esophagus. Problem slowly getting even better, although I'm still following my original methods.

    So #1, I would suggest a sleep study to find any hidden problems.

    #2 you may need a cocktail of everything you can tolerate instead of one thing at a time.

    #3 you may not be taking enough magnesium. One pill isn't going to do it. Gradually increase over several days to bowel tolerance. When your bowels get too loose (diarrhea), back off a little and that is "your" dose. For reference, I'm taking 1500mg.

    #4 you can't tolerate a lot of meds and supps. I suggest starting Rich Vank's methylation protocol (very cautiously with very tiny amounts, smaller than what is suggested, and very gradually build up the dose over months). This will build up glutathione in the liver and allow you to tolerate more things. I've had 80-90% improvement in MCS from doing this.

    #5 you have a thyroid problem and you can't sleep. you may also have adrenal fatigue which causes cortisol to rise at night, thus making it hard to sleep. you need a 24 hour saliva cortisol test to properly diagnose this. a regular doctor or endocrinologist does not recognize this condition. See Dr. Lam's website for good info.
     
  18. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Those that tried lithium orotate around when this thread started, how are you going on it now, is it still useful and helping, mainly with sleep??

    cheers!!!
     
  19. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but a couple of possible reasons for inability to sleep may be elevated cortisol (which is common, before it eventually drops to low), and also high copper levels, often from not getting enough zinc in the diet (as zinc competes with copper).

    Melatonin helps me, as does the amino acid ornithine.
     
  20. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    1000mg taurine, 500mg GABA, 200mg magnesium, 200mg potassium and 0.3mg melatonin usually makes me sleep.

    Glycine is also great for sleep.
     

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