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Sleep, cortisol, insulin--in relation to the gut (etc.!)

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by Gestalt, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. WoolPippi

    WoolPippi Senior Member

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    I wanted to be brief and cut corners. That's why the quotes around it.

    Insulin is a major tool of the body, I mean large/impressive/not to be taken lightly, and it gets really heavily employed when there's the need to control that other "poison" that's even worse: high blood sugar. That's the proposed use that I got from the original post: start with blood sugar in order to get to insulin in order to dampen cortisol.

    Blood sugar peaks like modern humans experience are not natural. The tax on the insulin system is not natural. It's big league weapons we are wielding, these two systems. They should not be taken lightly.

    I base my views on the book I read by dr. Bernstein, The Bernstein Connection. He's a born diabetic and became a doctor to understand it better. He can cover just his base insulin needs and doesn't need anything for meals. He avoids all blood sugar peaks otherwise and is a long living diabetic.

    You see, I'm not saying insulin is bad, I'm saying raising insulin by means of high blood sugar is bad. Less bad is raising it through protein. And even less bad is raising it by eating a volume larger than your fist (say a bowl of lettuce). But all three will raise insulin higher than naturally occurring. Or desirable imo.

    That Harvard study looks at Atkins which is not a proper ketogenic diet, it's high protein. Protein raises insulin (and cortisol).
    Proper ketogenic diets are high fat and high calorie and they reduce epileptic seizures. They are not meant for loosing weight. Starving the body is a stupid thing to do.
    Please see Hyperlipid on good info about ketonic diets and scientific studies.

    Homo Optimum Diet is a proper ketogenic diet: high fat, little protein, little carb. The body is not starving for glucose or calories, there is no stress nor a stress response, nor is there faulted production of the neurotransmitters.
    But besides that, you are talking about day time stress responses instead of the natural fluxes in natural sleep patterns about which I am talking. I merely mentioned my diet because there's no glucose shortage during my nights nor day time blood sugar peaks or the stress they bring about (which could have an after effect during the night?).

    I'm only talking about natural release of cortisol and noradrenalin during the sleep phases. Noradrenalin specifically is supposed to rise after nonREMsleep to get the brain into REMsleep. (search terms: rem-on rem-off neurons noradrenalin)
    That's where MAO A comes in, it's supposed to keep the rise in check.

    I'm pondering the coincidence of the many persons here with trouble sleeping through the night ánd a MAO A signature, in connection to that natural rise of noradrenalin to shut up the REMoff neurons and get GABA going.

    It's my (anecdotal) experience that insomnia between nonREM and REM phase is more related to noradrenalin then cortisol, based on the fact I make little of the latter myself (yes something's wrong, I acquired Addison's with ME) and my sleep response when I supplement.
    I am trying to provide my data because I'm very much invested in the subjects you write about :)
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  2. Gestalt

    Gestalt Senior Member

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    Well, I'm just going to agree to disagree with you on this. I don't wan this thread to turn into a ketogenic diet debate. I'll just say that Resistant Starch has empirically been proven to be one of the best ways to control insulin and prevents those dreaded insulin/blood sugar spikes you fear so much. Plus it is the optimal way to feed the many bacteria that play a critical role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and hormones. Anecdotally many people's sleep improves considerably when taking Resistant Starch.

    What I am questioning is whether the large cortisol peak during sleep is a "natural flux" or if it's actually a stress-hunger response to an anthropologically and historically "UNNATURAL" sleeping pattern. People in ketosis still get hungry and will also thus have the associated stress response.

    So I searched this, and it would seem you are wrong.

    "Noradrenergic neurons are activated during waking, decrease their firing rate during slow wave sleep, and become silent during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22180750

    "The release of certain neurotransmitters, the monoamines (norepinephrine, serotonin and histamine), is completely shut down during REM.[7][8][9]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_eye_movement_sleep



    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  3. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    @Gestalt, I realize that I am going off on a tangent, but does this mean that fasting would not be a good weight loss strategy for someone with ME.
  4. WoolPippi

    WoolPippi Senior Member

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    thanks for searching, I was too tired yesterday to provide specific sources.

    I'm zooming in on onset of REM-sleep as I feel that's where the struggle is: going from nonREMsleep into REMsleep. These are two different kinds of sleep and something specific needs to happen in the brain to make the transition.

    During nonREMsleep there’s a continuous firing of REM-off neurons. Only once they seize firing another set of neurons start firing, REM-on, and REMsleep commences. We need to get those REM-off to shut up.

    REM-off neurons are intertwined with serotonin and noradrenaline.
    (I'm so sorry, I've completely lost my footing again, can't think straight. Not sure if this is a good source to explain the mechanism, hope so: http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/i/i_11/i_11_cl/i_11_cl_cyc/i_11_cl_cyc.html )

    “Also, a critical level of norepinephrine in the system was required for the generation of REM sleep, however, a higher level may be inhibitory.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15680190/

    Only when REM-off cease firing will REM-on neurons start firing. GABA is one (other) way to get the REM-off neurons (and the Locus Coeruleus) to shut up. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/9153658/?i=5&from=/9753163/related

    Onset of REMsleep does seem to be governed by cholinergic input from the Locus Coeruleus. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11377848/

    I'm only focusing on research about the onset of REMsleep. (or rise of GABA). I want to sleep!

    UPDATE here's a (limited) study that does link reduced MAO-A functioning to bad sleep: http://www.journalsleep.org/Articles/290802.pdf
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  5. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I think I need to get those REM-off to start firing. I feel like I dream too much. I decided to buy a headband sleep monitor for home use to find out how much time I spend in REM sleep. Unfortunately, I learned that the company that made them had gone out of business.
  6. JPV

    JPV Senior Member

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    Ok, I've been playing with resistant starch for about a month now, with (as usual with just about everything I try) mixed results.

    So I took part of your advise and had some rice and honey before going to be last night.

    I woke up feeling ok but not great.

    Ate some hamburger, rice and gravy for breakfast. Basically a loco moco minus the eggs. Started feeling like crap an hour or 2 later. I usual eat Paleo/LC but have started trying to introduce a bit more starch as per the Perfect Health Diet.

    I went with my girlfriend and her daughter to Universal CityWalk. The music in her car started ratcheting up my brain fog.

    For lunch, I had some gumbo and a little bit of mac and cheese and some of her salad.

    Later, we went to an arcade that was, as you can imagine, extremely noisy and chaotic. Expecting my brain fog to go into extreme and unbearable overdrive, something weird happened... it calmed down after about a half hour in the arcade.

    I'm very confused as to what happened (always seems to be the case). I find it very hard to discern any logical patterns with this illness. I wonder if maybe there was a larger than normal cortisol spike in the morning, because of eating carbs before sleeping? I guess I'll try again tonight.

    I know that food and sleep are the big issues with me. If I don't get good sleep (whatever that means), the whole day is usually shot to hell. Sleep seems to be some sort of reset. It either eases my condition or exacerbates it, depending on some intangible quality that I can't quite seem to pin down. I feel that cortisol may be the problem, but almost all cortisol blunting supplements that I take such as Phosphatidylserine, Theanine, Holy Basil, Relora and numerous others, all seem to stop working after a few days. Hopefully this is more consistent.
  7. Gestalt

    Gestalt Senior Member

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    Ditto on your above points.

    I don't know about you but lots of protein/fat early in the morning does not go over well with me. Carbs are fine. Protein fat/digestion is a more energy intense process where carbs are much easier. The morning is the time of day when I have the least energy.

    Recently in terms of my sleep and energy throughout the day I have made significant progress. Albeit from a psycho-somatic perspective.

    Sleep and especially dreaming is a time when the subconscious mind takes control over your bodies biological processes. What is most important is the emotional content locked in your subconscious mind throughout the day that takes rein at nighttime. If there are a lot of unresolved emotional issues it will place a considerable demand on your neurotransmitters, hormones (cortisol) and autonomic nervous system.

    There can be a very high degree of sympathetic arousal that can then really tax the bodies energy systems which then leads to non-rejuvenating sleep, drowsiness and brain fog during the day. Because of the spontaneous nature of dreams and the subconscious mind this process can be quite unpredictable in nature.

    When I have a bad dream (that I can remember), I will wake up exhausted and remain that way throughout the day until hopefully the next night the dream will be better. Nights as for you, really seem to act as a reset for me as well.

    I don't want to get too psycho-technical, however for myself I have noticed a direct correlation between sustained amounts of mental dissociation and fatigue. Dissociation is a autonomic nervous system process that kicks in when there is too much emotional sympathetic nervous system activation in the body. Dissociation occurs via the dorsal vagal nerve and causes a disconnect of the mind form the body for purposes of metabolic conservation. The brain though goes into overdrive (dissociation is the highest form of activation) and it's glucose demands increase.

    Sleeping at night is a from of dissociation however it doesn't down-regulate emotional sympathetic activation to the same degree as it does during the day. This is probably for survival mental focus/awareness reasons. Can't be bothered by all those pesky emotions when hunting a lion.

    Thus unresolved emotional issues that we can quite easily actively suppress during the day, come on full steam at night.

    Waking up after four hours of sleep eating a little and walking around, forces a certain degree of re-association with the body. it gives YOU a little more cognitive control over how you would like to direct emotions. For the longest time it felt like my emotions would take me for a roller-coaster ride every night. Waking up after 4 hours of sleep forces me to get off the roller-coaster earlier before it goes out of control. It also enhances dream memory since your not "out" for so long. If you can make an effort to remember your dreams and their affective (emotional) states this will give you a good idea of what is going on biological wise when you sleep.

    The other benefit of waking up after 4 hours, moving around/eating a bit is that after 20-60mins if you go back to sleep it's much easier to do a WILD (wake induced lucid dream). This will give your conscious-ego control over dream states so you are not willy-nilly swept along by unresolved emotions. You can then use this state to very effectively resolve emotional issues!

    If on the other hand you sleep straight for 7-8 hours, and wake up and remember your dream it will be only the most recent one, which may have been pleasant. Yet you still may be exhausted. This because who knows what was going on in the other 4 major REM dream periods and what affects those had on your body.

    Dealing with and resolving the emotional content is ultimately how to fix this.(something I have been doing a lot recently) As you work through emotions your subconscious during the dream state will dredge up more stuff for you to work through. So this sometimes seems to get worse before it get's better. From a deeper soul/spiritual/evolution/survival point of view it doesn't really care about what your day is like and how you feel physically, it cares more about you are doing emotionally and what progress you are making there.

    From an evolutionary triune brain perspective the emotional limbic system develops first and this is where your ANS system is controlled out of. In terms of your biological body this system for evolutionary-survival reasons is more important than what's going on in your cognitive world.

    For the human species biological survival is contingent on social/emotional survival. I recently wrote a lengthy guide on how this works and what is needed to rewire the limbic system so there is better ANS regulation. Personal
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  8. JPV

    JPV Senior Member

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    Thanks for the response. Gives me a lot to think about.

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