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What do you use for insomnia? I am dying of sleep deprivation!

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Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 47 total)
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    The Real Amy

    sa230e, not sure if you mean you feel groggy and disoriented when using no sleep aids, but if it’s after using an antihistimine the night before, it’s probably from that. I have had to take benedryl before for a food allergy, and when I have I will sleep like crazy, but the whole next day I am groggy and dizzy and out of it. That stuff lasts in your system a long time. I would be better off having pulled an all-nighter than having slept a full night with benedryl.


    @The Real Amy, although I understand your position on marijuana, you might want to look up the effects of CBD and THC. There really is such a thing as no-high marijuana, that exhibits the positive effects on anxiety, sleep, pain relief, etc.

    Just a quick search produced this intro piece-

    The problem seems to be that the “good” street or dispensary stuff tends to be super high (ha!) in THC, as the market seems to veer towards the most potent getting the most money. From what I read, THC and CBD compete for the same receptor sites, so the more THC, the less CBD there is. Of course, that seems to be the point for many.


    @amajo319 You mention that you took seriphos and that you suspect that your sleep problems stem from cortisol disturbances. Did you take it at night with dinner or before bed? I know that many people take supplements without giving much thought to the timing of things. According to Chris Kresser, the timing of seriphos is critical, so I’m just fishing to see if you were aware. He advises 1-2 with dinner to down regulate the cortisol at the appropriate times.

    I’ve considered taking seriphos to counteract my own disregulated circadian rhythms, but I’m not that motivated yet. I’ve had really good results with the correct timing (for me, at least) of supplementing with vitamin D. I got the idea from Seth Robert’s experiments with morning vitamin D therapy, as well as increasing the dosage to between 4000-8000 IUs. Here is his archive on the effects of vitamin D and sleep (scroll down and/or go through previous entries to see more)-

    I think for me, the vitamin D when I wake up, as well as exposing my eyes to bright light soon after waking has helped move my cycle to be more conducive for better sleep and energy. I also periodically take ashwaganda, which is another adaptogen like Rhodiola, to deal with stress. Since Rhodiola seemed to work for you, albeit temporarily, maybe consider other adaptogens? Siberian ginseng, green tea extract, and maca are also supposed to be adaptogens, but can be over stimulating for some people. For others they fit the profile of adapting to the stresses of life for regulating either high or low states. Just for your consideration.


    Thanks for the info Tangytam! Yes – one pill at dinner and one before bed. However, I recently read in the Mood Cure by Julie Ross that one shouldn’t take it for more than 3 months as it can mess with your pituitary gland on a permanent basis.

    The Real Amy

    That’s interesting. Thanks, Tangytam.


    Amy, I feel groggy whether I take antihistamines or not. I’ve been out to lunch for the last 13 years. It’s incredibly hard to describe. People scoff and say it’s all in your head but I know my body and I know when I’m not functioning. I’m convinced something happened to me hormonally around puberty but I can’t prove it.

    I had a brief glimpse of lucidity a few years ago when I was taking amphetamines. I instinctively recognized the feeling that I was functioning on a “normal” level, like I did before this whole mess came about. I’m sure most people who have never used them will dismiss this as just being “high” but it wasn’t like that. If anything it felt more like I was finally sober and actual sobriety to me feels like intoxication. Unfortunately, like most drugs, it has a dark side and can have some very nasty effects so I’m giving the stimulants a rest.


    sa230e, that’s interesting about your experience with amphetamines. I didn’t feel rested in the morning no matter what I did but I always chalked it up to fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, which I developed after getting mono that went chronic.

    I am sure some of my fatigue was from caring for babies/toddlers who didn’t sleep, and I’m sure some of it was from the antihistamines I was taking to stay asleep. I could not take care of kids or function otherwise if I woke up for the day at 4 am. That was the trade-off. My doctor wouldn’t give me anything prescription to use long-term. I tried everything else I could get my hands on (supplements and otc stuff) but nothing worked as well as unisom.

    I should add that I “sleep hygiened” til the cows came home, even went so far as to avoid coffee, and of course that didn’t help me at all. I just needed to eat more, but didn’t know that at the time.

    I am finally, very slowly, starting to feel like I’m getting restorative sleep. It is taking a really long time, but I can’t expect this fatigue I’ve had for 20 years to lift completely overnight.

    • This reply was modified 11 years ago by Finngarian.
    mighty m

    Finngarian, I’ve really appreciated your comments here and elsewhere about needing to eat more to restore sleep. I haven’t had it as bad as you describe, but the general gist seems to apply to me.

    Suddenly developing 4am wakeups was what brought me to 180Degree and made me decide to abandon any dietary restriction and just eat abundantly, especially bread sugar and dairy. I developed the problem after 5 months of not eating (you guessed it) grains, sugar or dairy. Never before in my life had I had insomnia, until then. After about 6 mo of sleep deprivation, you can believe I didn’t give a s— about “getting fat”! I had tried ALL the sleep hygeine stuff, plus amino acids, plus melatonin … didn’t work. Eating abundantly is working! And, I am not needing to be as vigilant about “never go hungry” as a few months ago, there’s more margin for error as time goes on.

    I don’t mean to suggest presumptuously that just eating more would/should always work! There seems to be as many different causes and cures for insomnia as there are insomniacs. But it did work for me, and I’m glad to read that I wasn’t crazy or just “comfort eating” (which I truly don’t do, in general).

    Kind thoughts and well wishes too everyone who can’t sleep! It is HARD!


    Mighty M, thank you, I appreciate that! I knew I was getting “real” benefits from doing this when my need for sleep medication was suddenly gone, overnight, without “sleep hygiene” or any of that other crap my doctor shoved at me each year at my physical.

    I have read that as metabolism goes up and the body heals, it is easier to go without eating for longer periods without crashing everything out. I’m not there quite yet, but I no longer have that feeling of needing to eat or I’m going to eat my arm!

    I was even going to go get a sleep study to prove that my brain did not know how to sleep, my doc automatically decided I had apnea (I guess anything is possible but my husband does not see symptoms of that in me at all), but I’m glad now that I didn’t go through all that trouble… it wouldn’t have shown anything anyway except for the patient being wide awake from 3 am on… and me possibly being put on some medication, when all I needed to do was eat the freaking food!


    Not eating after supper seems to be helping me. My problem was a mild one, but I’ve always slept well normally.


    I’ve had ridiculous problems with insomnia, so I’ll share some of the treatments that have (and haven’t) worked for me.

    Bendadryl- Most antihistamines are somewhat helpful at inducing sleep, but it dries me out and I sleep horribly because the dryness makes my breathing worse. I may just be extra sensitive.

    Mirtazapine- This is an antidepressant that binds to an antihistamine receptor and also boost serotonin–in a pleasant way, unlike SSRIs. This drug was better than benadryl because of the combination, but it also made me tired all the time and I just couldn’t get anything done during the day. Another effect–which could be a positive or a negative–it will make you binge like crazy and could be a wonder drug for people with low appetite and sleep problems. Seriously, it gives you munchies three times as bad as marijuana.

    Z-drugs (like Ambien)- These were extremely helpful for me, but they’re also addictive and you probably don’t want to take them for more than a few months. Another huge plus for me: They didn’t create any hangover effects, making them almost the ideal sleep drug–if they weren’t induce tolerance and dependency. They also have a weird effect where you can forget the last half hour or so before you fall asleep–like a waking dream–and my wife would tell me funny stories about the crazy shit I would say.

    Alcohol- As long as you limit yourself to a night cap, alcohol is great for inducing relaxation. But if you drink too much it will disrupt your sleep during later cycles. The other obvious issue is to watch out for dependency.

    Marijuana- It can be helpful for relaxing, but sometimes I have such a good time looking at funny stuff on the Internet that I end up staying up too late anyway. Dependency isn’t much of an issue, though.

    Melatonin/5-HTP- These weren’t helpful for me, and they also made me feel groggy the next day.

    Kava- This was helpful for a while, but it’s basically just an OTC benzo.

    Trazodone/Seroquel- These made me sleep, but I was a dysfunctional zombie the entire next day.

    Other helpful ideas:

    Avoid caffeine completely if you can, but especially after noon.
    Avoid all other stimulants. When my sleep was the worst, I tried daytime stims like NuVigil and Concerta, but this just created a cycle that made the problem worse.
    Exercise, but not too late.
    Eat a ton of carbs, but not too much right before bed. You want to eat to the point that it makes you feel relaxed, which is the point (I suppose) that you’re lowering your stress hormones. Seriously, eating sufficiently is great for sleep.

    In the last half year, I’ve eliminated all sleep drugs (except some alcohol and marijuana) and I’ve actually found that increasing my calorie intake was the by far the most effective treatment for my sleep issues. If you haven’t tried it already, eat a TON of starch and sugar during the day and see how that affects you.

    As you can see, I have a lot of experience with this problem. I’d be lying if I said I’d fixed my insomnia completely, but I’ve gotten better at it as I’ve learned the best long-term and short-term solutions.

    Another Kim

    Joining the party a little late here. Amajo319, I hope you’ve been able to get some sleep. If not, I have a few suggestions. Though as David mentioned above, it IS important to make sure you get enough to eat during the day. I find if I come up short, I will wake up hungry in the middle of the night in spite of any sleep aids. Since you are still nursing, you know you need extra food above and beyond your own needs.

    I’m not sure if you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. I get it both ways myself. I also have had issues with cortisol, mine being high at night and low during the day. I’ve made it a very high priority to try to fix this. As soon as I can after I get up, I get to a sunny window and let the sun shine right on my face with my eyes closed. I only do this for 1-2 minutes. It’s supposed to help reset your melatonin/cortisol cycle.

    I also take some melatonin at night right before I go to bed. I’ve had to play around with figuring out how much to take because too much has a stimulating effect on me. I have 1 mg capsules and I open up a capsule and take about a rice-sized amount. Very small, I know, but when I don’t take it I can usually tell the difference.

    I also have a couple of tension-relieving herbal products to recommend, both recommended to me by my doctor and they both seem to work for me equally well (I don’t know if tension/anxiety is an issue for you). The first is called Night Night tea by Traditional Medicinals. It contains passionflower, chamomile, linden, catnip (!) and hops. I buy mine at the grocery store or at the health food store, so I would think you can probably find it fairly easily and it’s not too expensive. The other recommendation is Myocalm P.M. It contains passionflower, valerian, hops, and lemonbalm. I have a lot of issues with tension and anxiety affecting my sleep quantity and quality, but you didn’t mention that so maybe you don’t.

    Magnolia bark is another herb that has come across my radar recently. It’s supposed to help with lowering cortisol and anxiety, but I haven’t tried it yet because I haven’t needed to. I’m in a pretty good place with my sleep right now, but if I start having issues again, I will probably give it a try. Like you, I feel like I have to keep my body guessing sometimes!

    Hope you catch some ZZZ’s


    Thanks, Another Kim! I am sleeping a bit better these days – I really upped my rhodiola rosea and have to make sure I eat a meat (not just protein) snack right before bed. I am writing down all your great suggestions! Thanks so very much! Thanks for all your suggestions too Dave. I have been using NyQuil when I HAVE to get a good night’s sleep. The alcohol in it keeps me asleep all night…I just hate using OTC stuff unless I have to.


    OTCs, supplements such as melatonin, and all other crap will not help long term. Infact it will make your situation worse. Waht you need to do ;

    1. Eliminate EMF (electro magnetic radiation).
    a. Kill WiFi, go to wired LAN.
    b. Reduce cell phone usage to few minites per month. Trash the smart phone and replace it with most basic and use it only for emergency purpose.
    c. Check EMF from electrical appliances and wiring in the house. You need a gauss meter for this. If you fing that they release EMF do following ‘
    c1. Shut down circuit braker, power in the house at nigh (10:00PM) except fridge & furnice.
    e. Eliminate curly bulbs from the house and replace with Bug Lights. Curly buld are strong EMF releasers. All Blue lights destroy normal cicadian cycle.
    f. Install “f.lux” on computer. This reduces blue light fro mcomputer screen.
    g. If your power company installed a draconic meter (smart meter) on your house, have them replace it with analog. Worse case buy a cover for it to reduce EMF.
    h. Check to see if you leave near major power lines. 40 meter distance is required.If you do, move.
    i. Check to see if you leave near cell phone towers. 0.5 mile distance or more. If you do you need to move.
    j. EMFs from above mentioned factors cause our bodies to loose connection to earth magnetic field and earth shuman resonace therefore both need to be augmented with following;
    j1. Buy Magnetico Pads.
    j2. Buy shuman resonator. and, or this
    k. Get grounded. Yes, walk barefoot on wet grass or concrete (not asphalt). Go to an ocean and stay in the water as much as you can.
    l. Fix your gut. Eat gut healing foods.
    m. Drink lot’s of none fluoridated water.
    n. Detox your body from heavy metals. Eat foods rich in iodine. Use Dr. Brownstein iodine protocol. Read info here ;
    o. Get as much sun as you can especially in the morning. No, you will not get skin cancer as current doctors tell you. Infact, you will get healthier.
    p. Read Dr. Jack Kruse blog. Start in cronological order.

    “When you know better, you do better” By Dr. Jack Kruse.

    If you follow my advice you will regain health and baby sleep, make no mistake about it. You will find supporting info for my advice in Dr. Jack Kruse blog.

    Read Dr. Jack Kruse blog. Start in cronological order.

    Do your own research on everithing i mentioned then practice and after you get better let us know.


    Read Dr. Jack Kruse blog. Start in cronological order.

    Based upon this statement alone, I will be ignoring all of your other suggestions.

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