I think insomnia is largely related to gut - solution tips?

MartinK

Senior Member
Messages
336
Likes
526
Hello everyone, I've discussed the problem of severe insomnia here several times. In the past, insomnia once led me to the hospital due to total exhaustion.
I am among those who sleep less than 8 hours cause painful hard PEM.

Now I think, my (and maybe many more me/cfs people) insomnia is largely related to gut. I had a relatively good period with sleep, but when I did FMT, my insomnia is back - I'm falling asleep around 3 hours, I wake up almost regularly between 4 am and 5 am and my brain immediately starts up at full speed in a second, making it hard to fall asleep again. It's called racing thoughts, isn't it?
(FMT also gave me more energy after a good meal, which is great and there are definitely some small positive effects.)

It's very strange because the vast majority of people's FMT improves sleep - I have the impression that the gut is mainly doing something with serotonin, but dont know.
But racing thoughts and "wired" feelings are associated with adrenaline and cortisol, aren't they?

Some ideas? Has anyone tried any strains of probiotics that are directly aimed at sleep?

I have to take and try sleep drugs now, because not sleeping is much worse.

I tried:
Mirtazapine (I've been using it for a long time, since I couldn't sleep for the first time)
Zolpidem (it puts me to sleep, but wakes me in the middle of the night and causes severe anxiety the next day)
Benzos - Alprazolam and Ativan (ineffective and I do not want to take large doses due to possible addiction)
sedative antihistamines - (not work)
Qetiapine - (not work)
Trazodon - (not work)
Prothazin - (not work)
Magnesium - (not work)
sleep supplements like GABA, melatonin - (nothing worked)

Only one drug what works relatively well is Eszopiklon (3mg) - need one for sleep and second for falling asleep in the middle of the night.
But it's not a good solution, I still don't want to do medication like this.

I would like to take a closer look at the brain-gut connection, because I believe that something is going on there...
What can happen? A cytokine storm over microbiome changes?

Any tips and discussions? Desperate situation, every support would be good, I'm so weak due to insomnia ...

Thank youuu :)
Martin
 
Last edited:

Judee

Senior Member
Messages
2,997
Likes
8,405
Location
Great Lakes
I do think with some of the gut issues or ME issues we tend to get a build up of ammonia. I take a supplement once in a while that has ingredients said to reduce those like L-ornithine and Ornithine alpha keto-glutarate. I do tend to wake just a tiny bit refreshed sometimes when I take it.

Reading reviews on Amazon for L-ornithine a lot of people mentioned it helped them to sleep. (I still wonder if that's because it reduced their ammonia load.)

Also @Howard and I have both noticed cherry helping. He takes tart cherry powder, I believe.
I just drink some organic unsweetened sweet cherry juice.

Anyway, maybe these are "easy-peasy" suggestions. I hope not, but thought I'd mention them anyway just in case they could be helpful to you.
 

Wishful

Senior Member
Messages
4,531
Likes
8,264
Location
Alberta
For me, quickly-digestible carbs after noon will cause insomnia. Adequate fibre with the carbs solves that problem. I don't know why this happens, but gut interactions can be quite complex, so it might take a lot of experimenting to figure out what triggers your insomnia, or maybe finding something that blocks it without knowing why.
 

Howard

suffering ceases when craving is removed
Messages
1,317
Likes
8,786
Location
Arizona
I was unable to attain restful sleep for seven years running, until I started ingesting tart cherry juice/powder at night.. 2-3 hours prior to sleep.

I experienced positive sleep results and less fatigue upon waking, almost immediately.

Per pilot study -

"Cherry juice increased sleep time and sleep efficiency. Cherry juice procyanidin B-2 inhibited IDO, increased tryptophan availability, reduced inflammation and may be partially responsible for improvement in insomnia."

I do not understand the mechanisms involved (over my head), but perhaps this will be of some use -

Study link:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5617749/
 

lenora

Senior Member
Messages
3,635
Likes
6,275
I've suffered from severe insomnia for over 35 yrs. now. Do I have any inkling of what helps? No, but I wish I did.

I do know that I can't eat anything after 4:00 p.m. at the latest, and even then it's something like a cheese stick and crackers. No, drinking even water is out of the equation also. Pills of all sorts, and help from my neurologist ( who will prescribe meds) are also not effective. As a matter of fact we don't even bother with meds any longer. I've thought long and hard about what makes this better/worse and have come to the conclusion that in MY case at least, the brainstem is affecting the sleep center of the brain. My neurologist believes the same is true and most of his spinal cord patients are affected with the same sleep pattern. (Please note that I have two separate neurological illnesses....have had surgery and I was having trouble sleeping even before the surgeries).

Yes, pain can keep me awake, I do have FM and other nerve damage to my body, but for the most part that isn't the main reason for not sleeping. I've gone for 4 days w/o sleep....I mean none, nil. I function, although I have started falling asleep while drinking a warm cup of tea.....momentarily, but enough to spill it on myself. Then I may sleep for 3 nights w/o problems, but there are no guarantees. It's the way things are for me and I accept it after all these years.

I hope you'll fare better, I really do....b/c it's not anything one would wish upon someone else. I have no answers, whether from meds (oh, I'll sleep for a night with a new med, but not beyond that), vitamins, herbs....if it's out there I believe I've tried it. Always open to anything new, though. Yours, Lenora.
 
Messages
10,179
Likes
24,587
How about another idea entirely! How about Chinese Traditional?

I'm sharing a treatment I never tried. I got the ground Scorpions. They are still here. I should actually get braver and try it.

I am a very poor experimenter it seems. Lack of Virgo in my chart, or something.

They were given to me for "insomnia" altho full on insomnia wasn't;t really the issue.

Here is one study discussion the possible route of action of taking ground scorpions...(these are raised in farms).

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31279926/

EXCERPT:

Our work describes the first "map" of functionally active scorpion toxins in processed scorpion medicinal material, which is helpful to unveil the pharmaceutical basis of the processed scorpion medicinal material in traditional Chinese medicine. BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Scorpions have been used as medicinal materials in China for more than one thousand years. This is an example of the well-known "Combat poison with poison" strategy common to traditional Chinese medicine. In the past 30 years, extensive investigations of Chinese scorpions have indicated that the neurotoxins in the scorpion venom are the main toxic components and they target various ion channels in cell membranes. However, whether these neurotoxins are retained in processed Buthus martensii Karsch scorpions used for traditional Chinese medicine remains unknown. Our study described the thermal stability and instability of potassium channel-modulatory neurotoxins in processed scorpions and helps to understand the pharmaceutical basis underling the strategy of "combat poison with poison to cure diseases".

(delayed edit: we should kick around how might potassium channels be involved in sleep?)
 
Last edited:
Messages
2,045
Likes
4,718
Location
United Kingdom
Insomnia is a nightmare.

I'm sure my suggestions won't help but have you tried melatonin and valerian root extract? I'm taking 800mg valerian root extract before bed and it does help keep me asleep. But I've got the opposite of insomnia so prob won't help you at all :( but when I am struggling to sleep it still helps so maybe.
 

Judee

Senior Member
Messages
2,997
Likes
8,405
Location
Great Lakes
Okay a few more of my simplistic ideas that may be too simplistic but make sure your feet are warm. I can't fall asleep with cold feet.

Like @lenora mentioned, try to lower your pain...at least something to take the edge off. I sometimes take a children's tylenol (because I'm sensitive to meds) and that will help me fall asleep.

Avoid things that increase glutamate (even bone broth). This is a good thread where that was discussed.
https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/go-to-er-for-sleep-problems.75671/page-5#post-2201052
even something like glutamate in broth can be neuroexcitatory.

Here is a site that has a list of foods that contain glutamate:
https://bebrainfit.com/glutamate-neurotransmitter/

Also I wake more the earlier I go to bed. Does your schedule allow you to stay up to 3:30 am say?

If I do that I sleep through with maybe just one wake up but if I get to bed by say, 1:30am, I wake 3-4x. Your body (like mine) may just be sleep inverted. (I know, slightly different problem then you are describing. :()

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_inversion (Wow, I just found this again and they also talk about ammonia.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_sleep_phase_disorder

"If they are allowed to follow their own schedules, e.g. sleeping from 4:00 am to 1:00 pm, their sleep is improved..."

I hope you can figure out something that will work for you. Insomnia is torturous.
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,179
Likes
24,587
My husband is offering to try the scorpions (he thinks he has sleep troubles, but is sleeping in the chair half the day)


RE: the thread title- do you think the gut produces alot of the GABA? because even a small amount of that helps me sleep incredibly alot better.....
 

Art Vandelay

Senior Member
Messages
469
Likes
1,900
Location
Australia
My crippling insomnia also seems to be linked to my gut (also my PEM too).

The only real relief from insomnia that I've had in 20 or so years with this illness has been with taking digestive enzymes over the last few years.

The ones I take don't have anything fancy added. They're just betaine HCL and pepsin.
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,179
Likes
24,587
I hope he won't try those. You just never know the reaction he might have. I think I've read that scorpions are in the same family as ticks. :eek:
its totally safe. As my practitioner would never give me anything not safe.

scorpions are arachnids, eight legs like spiders.....and it seems it functions like a homeopathic dose.
 

keenly

Senior Member
Messages
802
Likes
881
Location
UK
The latest study ties our whole flu season to the Vit D issue. Take 2000 Its Vit D daily, you pretty much are unlikely get a cold or flu, period.

I need to get outside in the morning and get light on me and often I dont' or can't do so.

Am sunlight builds melatonin via first morning UVA.
 

MartinK

Senior Member
Messages
336
Likes
526
Hey, thank you all - very interesting opinion @Rufous McKinney @Judee with ammonia levels!
Isn't LO-LA better than simple L-Ornithine?
I'll try it!
I have the impression that many patients with lyme also mentioned high ammonia.

@godlovesatrier thank you so much for Valerian Root tip. I tried melatonin, yes, but no Valerian Root.

@Judee yes, warm feets are important for me too... I put them in hot water before going to bed, because I suffer from cold feet all day. But my room must be very cold because I have a problem with higher temperature tolerances.

I'm going to read all your links folks, thank you very much!