She suffers from chronic insomnia (about 2x or more a week for years) which takes the form of racing thoughts and `body energy` which prevent her from getting any sleep. Come morning however, she often ends up crashing and disrupting her day.
Oh - and it`s probably worth noting that the racing thoughts aren`t colored by anxiety or worry, but rather simply an over-activity of the mind.
She`s tried relaxation therapy as well as melatonin, but neither has offered any relief. It`s also worth noting that she`s a pale freckled redhead with a high sensitivity to pain and drugs, medicines and foreign substances in general.
It`s affecting the quality of her life, and if anyone has had any positive experiences in how to handle this, it`d be greatly appreciated.
If I`ve omitted anything material, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions. One again, any advice, insight, or observations would be greatly appreciated!
Much Thanks, from both of us
What it sounds like to me (I'm NOT a health care professional!) is an adrenal-cortex issue. When the adrenal glands are worn out, they can throw off your cortisol, which regulates blood sugar. When this happened to me, I had surges of energy at 11:00 at night, and huge bottoming out in the afternoons where I was literally nodding off at my desk.
My Naturopath diagnosed it with a saliva test over 24 hours that measured my cortisol levels. The test came back showing cortisol peaks and valleys that exactly matched what was happening to me throughout the day. It was such a validation to know it was bio-chemical and not me being lazy, having a psychological issue (ahem, well... :wink or not managing my time better.
The cure was an herbal supplement that included ginseng to help restore my adrenals. It worked.
That's the problem, it's been such a long time ago now, that I can't exactly recall. There was one supplement by a company that's now changed names (both the product and the company changed names!) and I can't recall that one at all.
I think I also used this one:
Clinical studies show high-quality extracts of Panax ginseng and Eleuthero can restore vitality; increase feelings of energy; increase mental and physical performance; and improve the body's response to stress. This formula also includes extracts of bupleurum chinense root, wild yam root, curcuma (turmeric) rhizome, and licorice root. The active components of bupleurum chinense are compounds known as saikosaponins, which apparently increase the release of cortisone and other hormones by the adrenal gland, making them more potent; licorice enhances the effects of bupleurum chinense.
One of them made me more jittery than the other, due to the ginseng. But it sure helped with my energy and my daily rhythms!
Good luck to your friend!
Much, MUCH Grattitude
he tried all the medicinal herbs to help him sleep. when really the answer was simple.
Establish routine rhythms, including bedtimes and mealtimes.
Get rid of extra lights in the bedroom and blinds for light pollution from outside.
The cortisol connection, as mentioned above, is also very important.
And, yes, insomnia should be taken seriously as it can lead to other problems.
Another interesting solution many natural healers have suggested is a simple long walk in the grass or bare earth of any kind barefooted, or a trip to the beach and swim in the ocean. Supposedly this has helped people with chronic insomnia resistant to any other course of treatment. Some say it is the exercise and stress release that does the healing. Others say something about the release of a buildup of static electricity within a body prevented from proper grounding by rubber soled shoes. Whatever the reason, effective or not, it's surely worth a try.
My evening tea as of late is Yerba Mate and Gensing in half a cup of water.
All herbs can be destroyed by heat .. so moderately heat the half cup of water and barely dip the end of a spoon into a sack of each and have a diffuser cup inside the water cup to catch the gunk afterwards .. or drink it down or leave it in the bottom of the cup afterwards.
The length of time on the soak will vary with Mullein being the longest .. 15 minutes - decongestant weed that grows in all 48 and I have just dated myself .. .. to five minutes or so for yerba mate and gensing.
Go through all of your herbal supplies to try and find a cure for each item that is bothering you. I have gotten cures from herbs such as bilberry that are not listed anywhere. I don't know if everyone reacts differently to each herb or what. Take each herb for several days and see what is better .. write it down.
In the book on Charles Goodnight .. he treated gun shot and arrow wounds .. lightning strikes - lay them out on the ground with a slicker over them and they would come to and get up after a while .. each ailment with .. what was growing near by when they got sick.
# Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Most is produced by and found in the intestine (approximately 90%), and the remainder in central nervous system neurons. It functions to regulate appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature, mood, behaviour, muscle contraction, and function of the cardiovascular system and endocrine system. It is speculated to have a role in depression, as some depressed patients are seen to have lower concentrations of metabolites of serotonin in their cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue.
Years ago I used to have a hard time falling asleep. I couldn't shut my mind off. I read some magazine article that said if you could not sleep, to get up and do something worthwhile. It also said that just lying in bed was 75% as good as actually sleeping. So I decided to try it. Since then I have rarely had a problem with insomnia. If I can't sleep, I get up and do something, usually read or some kind of quiet work. Eventually I get tired again and go back to bed. Recently I read that in the middle ages, people regularly got up after midnight for an hour or so and did something quiet, like mending or talking. There was a special sort of communication that went on in the wee hours.
What you say about the dreaming reminds me of the effects of mugwort, which works to help people remember dreams by causing them to sleep more lightly. However, I don't know any "cure" for this. Perhaps you are being hypervigilant about something in your environment. I think you mentioned getting up to check things, so that would fit. I would focus then on ways to make myself feel safe, like installing carbon monoxide detectors or burglar alarms or whatever. But my choice would be to dump the Ambien, whcih might be difficult at this point, and just quit worrying about it and get up if you can't sleep.
Wish you all the best!
1. Since menopause, I have had a hard time sleeping if I've had sugar and/or chocolate late in the day. Or I might get to sleep then wake up at 3 am restless. Some other women I've talked to have had the same experience.
2. My husband used to talk about catching the train - the sleep train. If you miss the wave of sleepiness, it's harder to get on board later.
3. Valerian. I have some in the garden, but we just buy capsules at the drugstore. Take enough. Then catch the train.
4. Recently we've been discovering ayurvedic herbs such as Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Ashwaganda which help with relaxation and stress.
5. I've had trouble with some herbs like Ginseng and Yerba Mate which stimulated me too much and kept me from sleeping, so experiment.
6. Sometimes a little exercise helps get rid of the excess fuel in the body (perhaps from too much sugar in the evening as in item 1). We have an exercise bike, but a walk might help.
7. I know sleep experts say to keep technology out of the bedroom, but since getting a smartphone a year ago, I've had great success quieting or distracting my worried mind by listening to hour-long talks on YouTube by soft-voiced spiritual or meditation teachers. They put me to sleep even if I want to listen to what they're saying. If sharing a bed I use earbuds. My favourites are Matt Kahn and Rupert Spira, but you can find your own.
8. Finally, if the mind is distracted and the body is restless (perhaps from too much sugar in the evening as in item 1), an orgasm works wonders, whether self-induced or assisted. It reboots the system.
I know (own experience) that when you feel stressy or restless you can try whatever remedy, food, other mattress, other time, other place, etc. but it does not help! First the cause for that stressy feeling have to go away. When it's PTSS ... it won't go away so easy Maybe a good (holistic) psychotherapy.