Insomnia - Really Need Help

Alzheimer's, cardiovascular, and other chronic diseases; biomarkers, lifestyle, supplements, drugs, and health care.
User avatar
Posts: 587
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:35 pm

Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby LillyBritches » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:23 pm

Guys, I don't know where to begin, and I genuinely need assistance. My sleep schedule is completely and utterly screwed because I telecommute and care take mom. I've never, ever had sleep issues before I hit my mid-50s. I mean, I've always been able to sleep at the drop of a hat for a LONG time. I know it's probably a clustereff of hormones, stress, supplements, off-kilter circadian cycle, too much exercise too late at night/too little exercise in general, coffee too late at night, getting off Ambien finally, blah, blah, blah...but I'm worried.

I'm so afraid that AB is piling up. :( :( :( I mean, I used to be able to at least crash during the day, but now when I do that, I'm waking every hour on the hour. I've no idea how much daily sleep I'm getting - I don't think it's more than four hours.

I'm on melatonin 8 mg at bedtime (whenever that is), and it initially did the trick, but now it doesn't seem to be doing a damned thing. Could it be because I DCed Ambien? I tapered, so I don't think this is the result of a shock to my system.

I know Gilga has dealt with this. I don't want to return to pharmaceuticals, but I know it's crucial that we 4s sleep and sleep soundly.

Is anyone else currently coping with this? Does anyone have any advice? I would profoundly appreciate any suggestions./help.
I'm just a oily slick in a windup world with a nervous tick.

Support Team
Support Team
Posts: 349
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:36 pm
Location: San Francisco,CA

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby Starfish77 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:08 pm

Rather than thinking you are unusual because you can't sleep, I think it is amazing you can sleep at all with your circadian
system so mixed up. Is there anything you can do to make your sleep time a little more regular? I know if I go to bed
too late when I'm tired, I get a second wind, and can't get to sleep when I finally do get to bed. Can you at least start
with eliminating late night coffee and late night exercise? Perhaps you can't handle caffine as well as you used to.
I'm trying to make my bedtime more regular because I sleep so much better when I do. I'm so sorry you are having
problems with sleeping because you need your rest to cope with everything else. We care about our (((((Lily))))).

Posts: 3645
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:43 am

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby circular » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:11 pm

My sleep is always vulnerable to stress, but I've gotten much better from the worst days, which went on a good six or seven years??? I was unwilling to take the prescriptions other than for a night or two to bust a bad spell. During a very stressful trip I had good success with taking valerian every night - I forget how much - but I generally avoid herbs long term so didn't continue after the trip. I stop coffee at noon now (used to have a cup after lunch). I drink 1.5 cups when I get up followed by a green tea and then no more caffeine. I generally don't exercise at night but that's more because it stimulates my appetite which disrupts my sleep. Melatonin isn't supposed to make you sleep but allow you to sleep when other conditions are right (or so I read). Blocked emotions can Really disrupt sleep. Our active minds can make us think it's our thinking that causing it. Often it's what's *beneath* the thinking. Find a place and a way to get it all out. Who knows the affect of taking your particular combination of supplements. Menopause is a big trigger. Are you taking progesterone? This helps a lot of women sleep better. I also sleep to ocean waves. They really help calm and reframe my mind as I'm falling asleep. I also play calming music in my home much of the time, unless I want quiet. It's a very good thing to have in the background for its subconscious relaxing effects. You know how people spend big money for their days at the spa? Well why not make your home like a spa? (Or maybe you have?) The biggest help though for me has been Ketotifen for the mast cell activation disorder. I was so screwed up for so long I was desperate for medicine. I should have started it sooner but I wanted to try addressing the histamine load naturally. It just didn't work. Ketotifen is a weak first gen antihistamine plus mast cell stabilizer. My histamine has been through the roof for a number of years but it took so long to understand its effects. Now my circadian rhythm is MUCH better. I get TIRED at 10:00 - no more late nights. I've been able to eat dinner, then walk and sleep through without getting hungry. (It's a new habit to eat a big enough dinner early so I have fudged that some but working on it.) I have energy ALL day! (Maybe a first EVER) Tha's not to say Ketotifen or similar is right for you but I thought I'd share. I hope something here helps. Insomnia is a really bad affliction. I'm a bit choppy here because I'm 11:00 min late for bed myself :-)

You will get out of this undertow Lilly, keep plugging away ...
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.

User avatar
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:16 am
Location: Muchea, West Australia

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby pgf54 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:05 am

I have found i get a very good nights sleep after two cups of ashwagandha tea, i steep the dried roots in hot water and although not over joyed with the taste i do sleep well.and deeply.........Much more effective than the ashwagandha supplements.
Don't wait for your ship to come in, row out to meet it.

Posts: 364
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:14 am

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby Silverlining » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:08 am

Don't forget the blue blocking glasses. I'm waiting on mine to arrive. Stavia posted on this when she first joined (I think) and it seemed to make a difference for her. Also the suggestions above are all good, but that one that stands out is tightly regulating your schedule. I know that sounds impossible given your circumstances and I suspect your inherent temperament, but just try. Sleep hygiene is a big deal with good science backing it up. I won't even talk to my "girls" (daughters, friends etc.) after 8:00 because I get animated and it really affects my subsequent night of sleep. Hey Lilly, you got this, just drill down on it. Big hugs!

User avatar
Posts: 4534
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:47 pm
Location: Middle Earth

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby Stavia » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:12 am

Yes Silver, I use them and they are fabulous. But they are a tweak on top of a rigorously disciplined day/night schedule that I seldom vary. Excercise and natural light in the day. Consistent bedtime except if we go out or have guests. Nothing stimulating after 8pm. Hubby isnt allowed to talk to me after 9pm (he is a night owl). No chocolate/caffeine after 6pm. Etcetera.
The reason I do this is cos I feel so crap if I dont sleep enough.

Lilly, its multifactorial and indeed a clusterf... Too many independent drivers messing up your sleep. You are just lucky you slept well before. Im not suprised you cant sleep. In fact Id be amazed if you could.
I doubt if one intervention is going to fix this know you cant safely take ambien for a long time.....and a bit of a herbal thing or more of something stacked on all this is unlikely to help significantly. My approach is to fix the cause not try and patch it up. You know what you should do - remove what you can of the factors causing this. Surely some are possible to change? Obviously your mom and work cant bend much. But surely some of the other factors can? And maybe you should go off all your supplements and add them back one at a time?

Im so sorry. My poor e3/4 son doing shiftwork as a emergency medicine doc is like a zombie. He has resigned and is changing his career path because sleep is that crucial. Something in your life needs to give honey.

Love you xxx

Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:42 pm

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby Rshircliff » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:52 am

Oh Lilly, I feel your pain and frustration!

2 things helped me. 1. Finding out that I have sleep apnea...doctors didn't want to test because I'm not overweight, but apnea has been connected to e-4 gene
2. I went off my anti-depressant (Prozac) but stress got me back on one - Lexapro. still getting used to it since it has been only a week but my sleep has settled down somewhat the past couple of nights. Hugs!

User avatar
Posts: 1116
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:45 pm

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby KatieS » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:07 am

Lilly, I feel so akin to you being another married childless woman caring for an elderly mother, but you have the enormous burden of dementia with your mom. First implement those sleep hygiene posts, especially caffeine (are you a genetically slow metabolizer rs762551CC ? Blocking light with the night eye shades benefits the natural melatonin. Could you be experiencing a paradoxical response to the melatonin 8mg?

R's reminder related to the E4's elevated risk for sleep apnea should be considered particularly if you snore. If you or anyone has questions about sleep apnea, please don't hesitate to PM me.

User avatar
Posts: 2018
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:33 am
Location: Central Colorado

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby SusanJ » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:30 am

Oh Lilly, many hugs. It's a rough road.

Does your mom require a lot of attention at night? Is she sundowning? You said you wake regularly - is it because you hear her and need to respond, or is your brain worried and thinks it needs to wake up and look for something? If she's sundowning and you have to respond, you might benefit from hiring someone at least a few nights per week so you can sleep uninterrupted.

All the comments about sleep hygiene are spot on, but it seems tackling the stress will be necessary. I know, easier said than done (been there, done that, not always so well). Here's what helped me. Daily meditation, journal by hand not on a computer (writing by hand slows your brain down and it seems to help to write things down so your brain can let go), and maybe add a dose of gratitude every night before sleep to change the overall thoughts from "just another clusterf... day" to okay, some good things happened today. Even if it's just to be grateful for having a roof over your head and that the sun came up in the morning.

We're here for you. Please let us know how it's going.

Posts: 1653
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:57 pm
Location: Front Range, CO

Re: Insomnia - Really Need Help

Postby Tincup » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:24 am


A few thoughts:

Stress is a big and bad actor for me. When I was under extreme stress during my divorce, nothing helped. I would try something like a med and it would work once, then be counterproductive.

My history with things like tryptophan, 5HTP & melatonin are such that I tend to react opposite "normal." I can now take 0.5 or 1 g melatonin and it is OK. If I take much more, it is counterproductive. Sometimes I'll take 500 mg tryptophan, but any more is bad news.

Staying up too late, in my case after 11 pm, makes going to sleep much more difficult. One doc I heard said, "Don't let the train leave the station without you." He said that, if you paid attention, you'd notice that you might yawn at say 9 PM. This was your signal to be in bed. I've rolled my bedtime back to around 9:30 from 11 where it was for years.

Sometimes meditating myself to sleep works. If I'm stressed, I'll do stress reduction before meditation. This includes 10-15 minutes of yoga to get rid of the physical tension - 4 rounds of sun salute, then a few other asanas. I'll follow this with progressive relaxation & alternate nostril breathing, then meditation. I don't always do all of the above, many times just the yoga then meditation.

As to breathing exercises, you might follow some of these links: There is one from this book (I have the book, but can't find it in my post-move disorganization) that was trying to increase your CO2 level. You'd exhale completely, hold for 20??? seconds and repeat three times. Then breath in through nose out through mouth slowly while looking up at the "third eye." I may have the details wrong and will post it when I find my book. This was effective for me. A few moments and I'd be gone. Here is Google book with pages on CO2 & sleep: Book is here:

When I used potato starch as a resistive starch experiment, my sleep improved, for a few months... Si it is like the neurotransmitters became balanced and sleep was really good. Then they got out of balance the other way. It is something I plan to try to experiment with in the future with other resistive starches and quantities.

Now, I try to make sure I'm in bed pretty early and plan to spend 7-8 hours with my lids closed whether or not I sleep that whole time. Sometimes I'll wake up early, get up and do the yoga/meditation thing, then fall back to sleep during meditation.
Last edited by Tincup on Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Return to “Prevention and Treatment”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jan, MarcR and 6 guests