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What's the *cause* of alpha wave sleep disorder?

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by Wendy B., Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Wendy B.

    Wendy B.

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    Can anyone comment on what we know at this point about the actual cause of *why* the alpha wave is going on for many of us? I've got an horrific case of it...sleep doc said worse he'd seen. It was bad to begin with, made worse by the treatment: benzodiazepines (mostly Ativan). I'm off benzos almost four years now and sleep still is not recovered. I'm on groups online for those who've had long term consequences from benzos (post withdrawal syndromes)...Best thing is time off the med to heal. But just trying to figure out if my brain will ever go back to normal and if part of it is the cfs sleep prob to begin with (and not just the ativan damage)...what I can do to fix myself. There seems no lack of google entries on alpha delta sleep etc, but i see little discussing the cause of the alpha wave intrusion to begin wtih. Anyone have info?

    Thanks!
     
    Wayne likes this.
  2. Iquitos

    Iquitos Senior Member

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    I don't have any information on the why of it but I've suffered from it for over 30 years now.

    But I have found a lot of relief by using medical cannabis. I'm even having dreams again, although I don't usually remember them. I know because there's that fleeting remembrance of a dream when I'm awakened by the urge to urinate or some noise wakes me.

    I don't appreciate the side effects: some dizzyness right after I take my cannabis tincture, and the "marijuana munchies" contributing to weight gain. But getting better sleep is SO worth it.
     
    Wayne likes this.
  3. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi @Wendy B.,

    I've had good success with Alpha-Stim (Cranial Electrical Stimulation). Don't know if it would be applicable to your situation, but I would give them a call and discuss it with them. They might possibly may be familiar with your kind of situation. -- Good luck...
     
  4. Wendy B.

    Wendy B.

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    Alpha stim increases alpha wave right? How does that help? arent we trying to get rid of alpha? i did do neuro training but it didnt help.
     
  5. Barrie

    Barrie

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    20 years of this problem and still going, what I'd give for a proper nights sleep!
     
    Wayne likes this.
  6. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    I'm not sure anyone knows--and my sleep doc didn't, either. Maybe pain? Upper airway resistance has been suggested as contributing to sleep problems, as has reduced heart rate variability.

    Oddly we also have intrusive delta waves during the day, so maybe none of those.
     
    Sushi likes this.
  7. kisekishiawase

    kisekishiawase sad

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    No more info on this?
    This is new to me. Im not sure if what i experience similiar to this.
    Is it when you have difficulty get into deep sleep and stuck in alpha state?
    Also what i worry is meditation supposed to help or make it worse? since meditation increase alpha wave right.
    I knew that benzo drug makes it harder to enter deep sleep but for people with difficulty asleep tend to use it cause what should we do :(
    Biofeedback is therapy using audio to change brainwave? Is it really effective?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  8. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Random thoughts here,
    cortisol and dysfunctional cortisol rhythm. Circadian rhythm dysfunction, cytokines and inflammation, excess nmda and glutamate, gaba receptor resistance, low serotonin, high adrenaline/noradrenaline, high histamine, low dhea, low progesterone, pain, increased urinary frequency, sleep apnea, restless legs, neuropathy.

    I'm sure there's more plus mix and match the combinations? ?
     
  9. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Usually in ME the common finding is excess/elevated beta and (that can be caused be medication such as benzos according to comments on a bottom of a test report I have, I'd never thou had benzos at that time). The canadian consenus doc mentions it and its something I have.

    My alpha waves with my ME is "poorly developed" according to my test results.
     
  10. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    Alpha wave intrusion is instances of waking for a moment during sleep.

    I additionally seem to have the problem of staying in Stage 1 (very light ) sleep instead of sleeping well. I would have claimed I was awake but polysomnography claimed that was Stage 1 sleep. Could be why it does help me a little to "fake sleep" as Toni Bernhard puts it (no guarantees this is the same stage for her as for me )
     
  11. kisekishiawase

    kisekishiawase sad

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    @WillowJ that seems familiar to me. Is it why i get awaken easily even from slightly sound, etc.
    Which is why we get unrefreshing sleep. And its restoration process isnt complete. And we left with problems.
    @taniaaust1 but benzo supposed to induce relaxation state=alpha. Not beta. :confused:
    Benzo suppressed REM sleep however.
    @heapsreal thats exactly what i thought too. Must be neuro, hormonal issue. And cfs does have a wide range of body function wackyness which are connected/overlapping.
    I read about delta wave sleep disorder. its role to reduce cortisol, healing fuction, fix hormonal imbalance, decrease sympathetic and increase parasympathetic, etc. It stated some condition could cause problem to damage ability to enter the stage.
    No wonder this sleep problem has been a vicious cycle for me. :(
    Sleep have big impact on me but i have difficulty sleeping.

    I think neurofeedback only for increasing alpha instead? But cant delta/theta.
    Commonly people are to fix, obtain alpha wave.

    Drug increase REM sleep maybe could help. But i dont think i could take it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
    heapsreal likes this.
  12. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I find I need a benzo or z drug to initiate sleep. I think if the dose is kept sane than its like hormone replacement but it's gaba replacement. But I find I need an antihistamine to help increase sleep depth.

    Tolerance is going to be an issue with chronic sleep problems so I mostly alternate between different meds in these classes.

    baclofen is a gaba B drug that is said to increase stage 4 sleep. My experience is on its own it didn't do a lot but in combination with other sleep meds it seemed to increase sleep quality.

    With benzos I give myself a top dosage equivalent to 10mg of valium so equal to 15mg zopiclone etc

    I think many with ME have damage done to those functions that control sleep. Poor sleep on its own can increase inflammation, reduce immune function etc

    the orexin inhibiting drug which I can't remember the name of is suppose to be on the market now or very soon. I haven't heard from anyone who has used it yet. It's sounds promising.

    The perfect sleep med is like finding the goose that lays the golden egg.
     
    kisekishiawase likes this.
  13. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Is that a generally accepted explanation of why alpha waves appear during sleep, @WillowJ?


    If so, then perhaps the focus here should be on what causes these instances of brief waking moments during sleep.

    One obvious possibility is that noises during the night (such as cars driving by) may momentarily wake you. ME/CFS patients generally have a much greater sensitivity to sounds (ie, even during the day, ordinary sounds can be very disturbing and overstimulating to the mind if you have ME/CFS), so I imagine this greater sensitivity to sounds may make ME/CFS patients more easily aroused and thus momentarily awoken from sleep when there are noises during the night.

    I have not had any sleep studies done on myself, but I know that I used to get woken up many times during the night because of noises like cars driving by.

    My solution is to wear ear plugs while I sleep. This has greatly increased the quality and depth of my sleep.

    The best ear plus I have ever found are Mack's Ear Seals. These are so good, that even when there was a pneumatic drill (jackhammer) just outside my bedroom, breaking up the tarmac on the road in the early morning, I put in these Mack's Ear Seals, and that extremely loud noise outside my house just faded into the distance, and I was able to get back to sleep, and sleep right through all the pneumatic drilling.

    The Mack's Ear Seals ear plug actually fits into the ear canal. However, because of this, I don't find Mack's Ear Seals all that comfortable, so I only use them when there are roadworks or similar loud noises outside when I need to sleep.

    But on most nights, I just use regular foam-type ear plugs that insert into the outer ear.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
    Dreambirdie likes this.
  14. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    It is generally accepted that an alpha wave is a wave that occurs when awake and relaxed.

    Thus, some sleep docs do describe it as frequent wakening if this happens often. It does not seem to be an official sleep disorder (I know someone that their sleep doc originally described their polysomnography as having no significant abnormalities, but when pressed admitted the patient was waking 25 times an hour).
     
  15. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

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    Alpha intrusions occur during sleep when your brainwaves rise almost to the point of consciousness, but not quite. It's very common for people with fibro and narcolepsy. When I had my first sleep study, I had dozens of alpha intrusions an hour.

    You can have simultaneously brainwaves that are way too high, associated with hypervigilance, and brainwaves way too low.

    @Wayne, I second the recommendation of the Alpha-Stim. I do so many things for sleep and do have to take medicine, but the Alpha-Stim boosts my sleep in a way no supplement does.

    There are other cranial electrical stimulation devices, but the Alpha-Stim has been around for decades and is very well researched.

    I used to do a lot of brainwave biofeedback. The therapist told me that the Alpha-Stim helps normalize the brainwave pattern. On an EEG, after Alpha-Stim use, the brainwaves that are too high--associated with anxiety and hypervigilance--and the brainwaves that are too low--associated with fatigue and depression--become more normal. The spikiness you see in an EEG with people who have one or more of these conditions becomes smoother.

    In the U.S., the Alpha-Stim requires a prescription by a licensed healthcare professional. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but in the past a chiropractor could prescribe one.

    You have to be patient and willing to experiment with the Alpha-Stim. You have to find the intensity, duration, time of day, and number of times a week to use it. Also, some people benefit more from using it with their eyes closed rather than open.

    Here are FAQs about the Alpha-Stim:

    http://www.alpha-stim.com/alpha-stim-technology/faqs/

    For alpha intrusions, Xyrem also helps, and I've read that Trazodone increases deep wave sleep, too. @heapsreal, I use Baclofen every 3rd night, and it helps me with both pain and sleep.
     
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  16. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    @perchance dreamer The Alpha-Stim made my sleep worse. It caused over-stimulation and hyperactivity, and that effect lasted for about 3 weeks after the ast time I used it.

    Everybody is different and every body is different.
     
  17. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

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    Hi, @Dreambirdie, you are right. Everyone is different. The Alpha-Stim certainly won't help everyone.

    I do like to recommend trying the Alpha-Stim, though, because it can be very effective and is a treatment that is not a medicine or supplement. Many distributors let you rent to own. I think trying it out first at home before buying it is the only way to go.

    I once had the same problems with the Alpha-Stim that you mentioned, and I put it away for a long time. I think a lot of us with fibro/CFIDS have highly sensitive brains, easily overstimulated. For some reason, though, it's working for me now, and I have an extremely over sensitive system.

    I use it at the lowest setting of 1. The instructions and my sleep clinic say to try using it to just below the point where the tingling is uncomfortable or you experience dizziness, but that's too high for me.

    I've found that using it every 3rd night at a setting of 1 for thirty minutes with my eyes closed helps me most.

    I knew a nurse once who went to training in Mineral Wells, TX, where the Alpha-Stims are manufactured, and they said that for sleep problems many people benefit most by using it at a low setting.
     
  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    What general benefits have you noticed from using the Alpha-Stim for ME/CFS, @perchance dreamer? Are the benefits mainly just for sleep, or does it help other ME/CFS symptoms too?
     
  19. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

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    @Hip, the other effect I notice from the Alpha-Stim is mood elevation.
     
    Hip likes this.
  20. kisekishiawase

    kisekishiawase sad

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    @heapsreal thanks for sharing :thumbsup:
    Unfortunately i dont think i could try out drugs cause my condition is very sensitive. :ill:
    @Hip been having earplugs since i was a child. But long term use make my ears irritated. (I even search info for it and learn about ear plugs but no other option i can get) Mine was the foam type. For loud noise i still get bothered. So i also use fans, air purifier as a white noises. Those helping but still cant help with loud noise(though other people dont get bother by it).
    ive tried cranial electrical stimulation before but no different. Either the doctor did it wrong or it failed.


    Id like to get a proper sleep studies but its harder to sleep there. So its different than my regular sleep. Also the pressure of must sleeping and get detected makes it harder. :bang-head:
    My sleeping issue also go ups and downs randomly.
     

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