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Issues with Insomnia  RSS feed

 
Bardo McCoy
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Hi everyone - There`s so much good info on these forums, I was wondering if I might impose on some wise souls for a little advice on behalf of my darling wife.

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 

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Hi Bardo, you've read through the sleep....perchance...and NOT dream thread, right? There are tons of great suggestions in that thread.

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.
 
Jami McBride
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Jocelyn, can you list the herb product you used?

I have a friend with the same trouble and I would love to have a natural product to recommend.

Thank you so much
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Hi Jami,

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:

PhytoPharmica Adren-Plus™...
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!
 
Bardo McCoy
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Much thanks for the wonderful advice - We've been down to the local health store to look at the options, as well as doing a little more research.  Hopefully this will help!

Much, MUCH Grattitude 
 
Jordan Lowery
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what does she do all day? could it be the lack of using that stored energy thats keeping her awake. i had a friend who had really bad insomnia, whenever he got out and actually did something, something that used that stored energy. he fell asleep no problem( yet sadly didnt notice ). on days where he would not do so much, he would be up all night fighting to get to sleep.

he tried all the medicinal herbs to help him sleep. when really the answer was simple.
 
                                  
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Insomnia is a symptom of a sleeping disorder characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep despite the opportunity. It is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Insomniacs have been known to complain about being unable to close their eyes or "rest their mind" for more than a few minutes at a time. Both organic and non-organic insomnia constitute a sleep disorder. Sleep disturbance is commonly seen in anxiety, depression, psychosis and mania. Many psychiatric conditions start with disturbed sleep. It is important to take insomnia seriously. It is good to address the issue as soon as it starts than to let it build up and cause complications.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Physical exercise every day is absolutely crucial.  Breathing exercises such as pranayama or qi gong directly regulate the autonomic nervous system and will help to induce parasympathetic response (relaxation). 

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.
 
John Rushton
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Location: Norman, OK
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Dr Christopher's formula used for all nervous system related difficulties including insomnia is equal parts: blue cohosh, black cohosh, blue vervain, skullcap, and lobelia, often used in tincture form.  There are dozens of other relaxing nervines that one can try and see what works for them beyond what was mentioned in this and the other thread.  Everyone has unique body chemistry, playing around can be useful.

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.
 
                        
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Location: South Central Idaho
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If Gensing is what your looking for .. try Mountain Rose Herbs in Oregon .. my go to place for all herbals because they are so good.

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.
 
Leif Kravis
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Location: Toronto Canada
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might be related to low vitamin D levels which then affect seratonin production and affect our circadian clock regulation. My N.D. has me on a liquid Vit D supplement of 10k units a day as my D levels were at about 1/4 of the recommended minimum. since starting on it i no longer have those familiarily described nights of  idea head. i sleep quickly and easily now, i was had type 2 diabetes, wide drops in body temp, sometimes as low as 94 degrees. total lack of energy sore fatigued muscles etc. The Vitamin D is making a huge difference. my body clock and temp controls are settling down. I'm off the Diabetes meds and feeling good. still some adrenal fatigue, but even that seems improved so you might want to see a naturopath, or try taking a  liquid D supplement.
 
                        
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Location: South Central Idaho
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Just found this looking for something else ..

# 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.[5]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotransmitter
 
Jamie Jackson
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Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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I suffered with this for years.  I have written up my experience with it and how I got well in an email to a P.A. who needed the advice for a patient of his when medications wouldn't work.  I can't find this email now but have asked him to send it back to me.  As soon as I get it, I'll send it on to you. 
 
                                
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Location: Elmira, ny
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If you are not having major issues with sleepiness during the day, and you have said in one post at least that you are not, I would not worry about not sleeping. Seriously. I would quit trying to treat it, because it is not something wrong.

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.
 
                            
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My mother in law takes Passion Flower seed straight from the seed pod with gelatin coating still on. 1-2 per evening. Seems to work well for her. You can store these in winter months in freezer. Also there is a company called " Pure Herbs' that makes herbal extracts for hundreds of ailments. Very reliable company. You can find their web page online under pureherbs.com.
 
maikeru sumi-e
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Try rooibos tea. It's naturally lightly sweet and gentle on the stomach. I find it enjoyable to drink. I've noticed it has a strong sedative effect on me, sometimes a bit too strong. I usually sleep longer and more deeply for 8-10 hours after drinking one or two warm cups at night. It has a similar effect on my family members. We joke about it being better than Nyquil.
 
                      
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Location: Tejas
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I make a skull cap tincture with the dried herb from Frontier Herbs online(usually use
fresh herbs to make tinctures but I am not too savvy on fresh skull cap).

About 9 drops in water does the trick. 

Hope she gets better.
 
Michael Longfield
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I can't recommend enough finding a natural medicine professional.  I'm personally partial to those in the traditional Chinese herbal tradition, which is the most (in my opinion), sophisticated natural health tradition in the world.  It is important to remember that what works for one person, may not work for another, for we are all different.  That is what is so powerful about some ancient traditions, because they understand the differences of each person, and can craft a program that is tailored to your specific attributes and symptoms.    For example, valerian root can be a tremendous help for some people, but for others, it can actually keep them up at night.  The reason that this could happen is thoroughly mapped out via Chinese medicine.

Wish you all the best!
 
Krofter Young
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Good comments about the adrenals.  However no one pointed out what causes the adrenals to go bonkers.  Caffeine can be a big culprit as can sugar or excess calories from carbs (which the body turns into glucose, a form of sugar).  Some folks benefit by increasing fat consumption - especially ompega3 (from cold water fish) as well as saturated fat (from animals and coconut oil) and monounsaturated fat (from pecans, macadamia nuts, avocados and olive oil).  Go easy on the nuts. Pastured pigs can also produce lard high in healthy monounsaturated fat.  If you increase calories from fat you need to decrease calories from carbs.  The blend of the two can generate harmful cholesterol particles. Also, our siphylization (hee, hee)  is highly stressful.  Need to learn to back away and take long breathers.   http://drhyman.com/  ; http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/09/29/gaba-for-sleep.aspx
 
Heather Holm
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Location: Nova Scotia
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Sleep has been the Holy Grail at our house. Here are some things we've learned/used.

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.
 
Sharon Carson
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I find most of the advice above helpful. I can't afford to go to DRS or naturopaths or by in herbs so grow my own and make medicines. I am always learning. I follow Susan Weed and her books as well as many other herb books. i work hard on my homestead and do find gardening excellent exercise for body mind and soul . One friend uses my catnip tea as a sleep aid I have rheard it is also gret for colic in babies. I make valerian tincture and grow several Ayervedic and chinese herbs . The latest one is a vine that is easy to grow and harvest from Japan that works like Ginseng (Jiagulan). Another is wild Chinese yam (light root) and Fo Ti . I think the best herb for adrenal support is nettle leaf tea. I sleep in a cold ,dark room with no electronics and let my self sleep as long as I choose Sharon
 
Cathy Sciglibaglio
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I feel your wife's pain. I've struggled for years now, but I recently had a blood test ( MTHFR) that told me I don't have the genes to make a lot of things that help you sleep., gaba, dopamine and a number of others, it was a 20 dollar test. and I now take a supplement that helps me sleep much better. Also if your wife is so inclined I tried THC ( pot) specifically for sleep. Worked wonders but for work issues couldn't continue to take it. But that would be the way I'd go if you can get your hands on it .It worked wonders. Good luck Scigc
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Hi you all. Though I am a good sleeper generally, I have my opinion on this subject. I know / knew many people with insomnia. In most cases that's because chronical pain is keeping them awake. But in all cases (incl. the chronical pain patients) they have trouble getting rest because of stress, PTSS, feeling inquiet, restless, etc.
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.
 
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