Sleep!

Newcomer introductions, personal anecdotes, caregiver issues, lab results, and n=1 experimentation.
Anna
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Re: Sleep!

Postby Anna » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:46 pm

Hi MsCindy, Sleeping doesn't come naturally to me either. According to my mother, this has been true ever since I was an infant. I think the only time I was a good sleeper was before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and needed nine hours a night. I don't have any awesome solutions, but I can certainly offer sympathy.

I used to take trazodone, which worked really well (and truly gave me my life back!), but my mouth became miserably dry, and I learned about anticholinergic effects (although not as bad as some other medications), so I weaned myself off. Now I get by with Ashwagandha, melatonin (typically 1/2 to 1.25mg), PharmaGaba (which supposedly crosses the blood-brain barrier better than other forms of gaba), and magnesium -- almost the same supplements as you. This usually gets me 6 hours, occasionally 7, but not necessarily consecutive. I recently added glycine, but I can't say I notice a difference. Some things that definitely help are spending time outside, exercising in the morning, avoiding caffeine after the morning hours (avoiding it altogether is even better), sleeping alone, reading before bed (which seems to distract me from my worries), running a humidifier (white noise effect in addition to not waking up dry and thirsty), and making sure I get up in the morning rather than inadvertently lengthening my sleep window by trying to patch together 8 hours (which has been shown to be counterproductive). Sleeping in a dark room makes a huge difference for me in the summer, when the days are longer. My best sleep occurs on days when I manage to not trigger a stress response -- easier said than done!
~Anna
4/4 but so much more

lamb chops
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Re: Sleep!

Postby lamb chops » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:38 pm

I've been using the Uvec blue blockers the last few hours before bed and have been falling asleep within 10 minutes. I still haven't conquered the waking several times during the night. Valerian root did not work, nor melatonin alone. I will try the ashwagandha and magnesium w/ melatonin and see if that helps!

Anna
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Re: Sleep!

Postby Anna » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:51 pm

I forgot to mention one thing that worked really well for me: acupuncture. I did a series of weekly treatments for muscle knots and generalized pain a few years ago and couldn't believe how relaxed and sleepy they made me, both at bedtime and during the acupuncture treatments. In fact, I dozed off during the first session. I almost NEVER fall asleep during the day. Anyway, it seemed to have a profound effect on my nervous system, with improvements in anxiety and sleep.
~Anna
4/4 but so much more

Genesis322
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Re: Sleep!

Postby Genesis322 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:14 pm

Something that looks very powerful is time-restricted eating—making sure that you consume all your supplements and food within an 8-hour window during any given day. This mediates your circadian rhythm at least as powerfully as night and day do.

Here's a great discussion about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R-eqJDQ2nU

Modern lifestyles can benefit from it more because our lives are saturated with more and more blue artificial light. When we can no longer rely on light to help us with our circadian rhythm, we have to lean on other things that do, and time-restricted eating looks like something E4's can lean on, not only for the sleep benefits but for the lipid-clearance benefits during the fasting window among so many other things. It's very good for the heart on every level they measured, including HRV.

Just yesterday I signed up for the study at myCircadianClock.org to help me be more aware of when I eat. Remember this includes everything, even zero-calorie foods like flavored waters or supplements. And it's not caloric restriction! Just time restriction. There is some wiggle room, so you can still get benefits from a 12-hour eating window, but 8 hours is very good.

Rainy
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Re: Sleep!

Postby Rainy » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:22 pm

Oh my, this topic is so timely and the comments so insightful and generous. First of all, my heart is with you, Wondering, as you grieve the loss of your mother. For the past few years I have had more trouble staying asleep than falling asleep. What helps me re-enter dreamland when I awaken is deep, slow breathing as I conjure my own beloved mother's face smiling lovingly at me.
And (it still feels strange to write this in a public space, since I missed out as a goody two shoes during the 70's cultural revolution) what also helps me perhaps the most is cannabis/weed/marijuana about an hour before bedtime. Specifically Indica in the form of 10mg THC capsules, tiny mini chocolates, or tincture. I find Indica more soothing and relaxing than Sativa or even CBDs, with no crazy high. Not sure this is helpful to folks who don't have access. Also not entirely sure this has been scientifically proven beneficial for E4s, even though I have looked at the research and posts on this forum. From a study abstract on NCBI "...low doses of THC can enhance mitochondria function and does not inhibit melatonin's enhancement of mitochondria function. These sets of data strongly suggest that THC could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer's disease through multiple functions and pathways."
Best of health to you!
Rainy
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Wondering
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Re: Sleep!

Postby Wondering » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:39 pm

Julie G wrote:Very intuitive and insightful posts, Wondering and Martha. I definitely think that emotional work contributes to better sleep. Even crying is an excellent destressor. I’m a work-in-progress with my meditation, but when I’m diligent, my sleep is much better.

Lots of love to you (((Wondering))) as you grieve. I’m so sorry for your loss. -xo


Thanks, Julie! :)
E3/E4, both parents have LOAD

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vermillion
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Re: Sleep!

Postby vermillion » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:56 am

I have had years of hard time staying asleep; mostly once I wake up the brain goes on overdrive and I cant sleep until I have solved all the worlds problems.

But now, the world must fend for itself.

I am not sure which of these things has put me in the sweet spot, but imagine it is a combination. I take one M-threonate in the morning and two about an hour before bed (Magtein). I also take 2 PS100 (phosphatidylserine) at bedtime. I also take an herbal supplement that contains valerian, passionflower extract, and hops (vivinox, easily available in Mexico, pricey elsewhere). And, finally my Vitamin D is in the 40s, so that may also be a contributing factor. Even if I have to get up to go to the bathroom, I am able to fall right back to sleep.

I also am quite a fan of Headspace, the meditation app.

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CarrieS
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Re: Sleep!

Postby CarrieS » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:12 pm

I started unplugging my WiFi and putting my phone on airplane mode when I go to bed as I've read that EMF's can disrupt sleep. I also have adhered to the "no food 3 hours prior to bed" window and fast 15 - 16 hours a few days a week and have found that my sleep deepened. When I've had a busy day with lots of talking and exchange of ideas, I DO tend to wake up with my brain wanting to go back over all of the conversations. When that happens, I try breathing techniques to calm my brain but there are times that I'm just too wound up to get back to a deep restful place.
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marthaNH
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Re: Sleep!

Postby marthaNH » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:43 pm

One technique for improving sleep that I am having some success with -- "sleep consolidation". I hadn't heard about this before. I was told to count up the total hours of sleep I got the night before. Of course you usually have to guess a little if you're like me. But I came up with 5.5 out of the 8 hours I was actually "in bed". So I was to add a half hour to that, so that's 6 hours total, set my wakeup time (which must remain consistent day to day) which for me is 6:20 am, and not get in bed until 6 hours before that -- 12:20. Then repeat the next day. For a while you will feel very sleep deprived because.... you are! I found it pretty miserable! But I have been on this program for a little over a week and it has worked. I have gradually managed to actually sleep a much larger proportion of the time I am in bed and tonight I get to go to bed at 11:00! The last two nights I've had the best sleep in a long while. (I'm also being read to by audible, shutting out all lights, turning off computer, two different sources of white noise to muffle the sounds of people coming in late, the standard supplements, mostly things others above have posted and I agree with.) I have also found that calorie restriction will make it hard to sleep. I can do a little, but not so much.

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Re: Sleep!

Postby CoachDD » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:21 pm

Sleep has eluded me for MANY years. . . so much so that I completely understand the desperation some have (propofol, anyone?) - I would NOT wish insomnia on anyone. That said, it has taught me so much - to listen to my body, to understand the impact of stress and unresolved conflict, and its significant importance (or impact!) to our health!

Carrie - I agree with you on the importance of unplugging. My husband is an expert in the tech industry and is always gathering the latest technology and gadgets for our home (we built almost 20 years ago and each room has ethernet built in to EVERY room and also have a server in our basement!). I've shared so much information with him regarding the potential health concerns regarding EMFs, but he still isn't convinced. That said, I've persisted enough that we now shut down our entire network at night. If anyone would like data on this, please let me know. I agree with using Blue Blocker (aka Amber) glasses at night for at least an hour or two before bed.

Martha - I haven't heard of this technique. . . which is highly unusual since I've pretty much tried everything. I am sleeping better than I have in a long while (probably an average 6 hours per night), so I think I'll hold off on trying that for now, but will keep it in mind!

Anna - YES. . . acupuncture!!! I did not realize how much this was helping me until my acupuncturist went away for 3 weeks (to China to complete his doctorate!) and I nose-dived. Game changer, for sure!

I've used a variety of medications and supplements over the years - too many to list - but here are the ones I believe truly helped:

5-HTP, PharmaGABA (recent find - excellent!), transdermal melatonin (need a script and is filled by a compounding pharmacy), Ashwagandha, and Magnesium (recently switched from Glycinate to L-Threonate). My FM (NP) doc swears by phosphatidylserine, but it didn't do much for me. Like Anna, I took trazadone (it is prescribed off label, by the way) - it did get me through some VERY difficult times, but I am not a fan of staying on any pharmaceutical long-term.

Here are a few "alternative" methods I've come across (and aside from what's been shared above):

Socks: I keep a clean pair next to my bed (gross to think about walking around the house and then crawling into bed with them)

Tense/Release Exercise: Start with your toes and tense up each muscle group for about 3-5 seconds (both left and right at the same time), then release. Work all the way up to your face. This technique is thought to release any stress built up in the body.

Meditation: Thought to help with stress reduction and racing thoughts. I personally like Mindvalley's 6 Phase Meditation (free with sign up!), Headspace (an app) or The M Word (by Emily Fletcher). These programs are great for those left-brained minds who have difficulty sitting still or don't want anything too "far out there".

4-7-8 Breathing Method: Touted by Dr. Weil as one of the best ways to fall into a deep sleep. It is simple - once you are relaxed in bed, inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat (I believe the recommendation is 10 times - but I don't think more or less will hurt). Here is the technique: https://www.drweil.com/videos-features/ ... -8-breath/

Sleep Naked: I'm not a fan - but some say this keeps your body at a lower temperature.

Grounding: Another one that I'm not practicing regularly, but I've heard great things about getting outside, barefoot for 10-15 minutes per day. Alternatively (or on bad weather days), take a regular spoon (make sure its a stainless steel one) and run the backside down the bottom of each foot three to five times. There are also grounding mats you can purchase and use to stand or sleep on.

I sincerely hope this helps anyone suffering from acute or chronic insomnia!!
Learning to Live (3/4)
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