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Diet and sleep aids for insomnia

 
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Just an update (I was reminded of this thread 'cos I was awarded an apple for a post in it recently. Yay! And thanks.)

My overnight sleep study proved I do have sleep apnea and require a CPAP machine. So, for the past month I've had that. I call it my 'facehugger,' which indicates my opinion of it (Alien movies reference.) It's OK, my wife is happy since I no longer snore and I breathe normally. I still need my O2 concentrator. That irritated me as I thought the facehugger meant I'd no longer need it. Sads....
 
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Don't know if you've found relief, Yet what helps me get DEEP sleep is not eating 4 hours or longer before going to bed.

I get vivid dreams when I do so.  It also depends on the meal if it is a piece of fruit maybe even 3 hours might be enough.
 
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Wow. You guys have been through some real hell with this insomnia stuff. My heart goes out to everyone and I hope that each one is finding solutions from all of the great information that's been shared here. I just wanted to share some thoughts regarding my (short) journey with insomnia, in case I can possibly help anyone.

I was always that person who could fall asleep anytime, anywhere, no matter what the noise or light or activity that was going on. At night I would just lay there and think myself to sleep, only very rarely did I need any help falling asleep once I decided to do so.

Fastforward to last year, of course corona/quarantine hit and turned us upside down, then we had a serious drama happen with our business partner; my husband, D, fell gravely ill, and then my mom died. I was thrown into the role of businesswoman/manager, caretaker, and grieving the sudden loss of my mom who I had had unresolved issues with. I was working all day, plus taking care of the kids with minimal help from D (who was trying his best!), and still taking care of the property and animals as needed. In spite of being exhausted in every way by bedtime, I desperately needed my alone time then to process and grieve and just be a person. There was so much stress that I could get deeply drowsy by reading or watching youtube videos, but then when I laid down I would start thinking again and be wide awake again in 5 seconds. This would happen many times during the night, so that I would only be able to fall asleep by 3 or 4 am--then D would wake up sick, and need me, and I wouldn't get back to sleep until 5 or 6. It was an exhausting cycle, but I eventually found some solutions that worked for me:

--get a routine. For me that meant putting the kids to bed the same way every night, feeding the doggies, turning off lights around the house, making sure D had everything he would need for the night, then settling in to journal or read or watch something. I would try to get in bed around the same time always, but after I was there I really avoided checking the time--it made me feel like I was on a countdown, until a cut-off time when I "had" to be asleep. Stressful.
--everybody knows caffeine screws up sleep patterns, but I also found that warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, or even hot peppers, would give me a stimulant "jolt" that would keep my heart pounding and my nerves jittery for hours. I also learned to never eat chocolate close to bedtime; it doesn't keep me from falling asleep, but can give me horrible itches and vivid nightmares once I fall asleep--not very restful!
--I never try to sleep hungry. Even if it makes me gain a little weight, I eat a snack right before bedtime or ideally a substantial meal 2-3 hours before I want to sleep.
--on the days when I get plenty of sun and fresh air and moderate exercise of some kind, I sleep sooo much more easily than other days. Easier said than done, though.
--from what I understand, grounding is super important for sleep quality. So every night when I was actually ready to fall asleep, I would walk outside barefoot for a few minutes, look up at the stars, listen to the night noises, and smoke half an herbal cigarette. I make the cigarettes myself, sometimes they had CBD (legal here) sometimes not, but for me that was absolutely essential to relaxing me enough to get to sleep. Since I smoked so little of it I never saw any influence on my REM/stage 4 sleep, just relaxed my muscles and slowed my brain down a bit. I would go back in and immediately get in bed, and 99% of the time I would go to sleep almost immediately. I think getting a little chilled from being outside really helped--made the bed seem that much cozier.
--As soon as my husband was well enough and his needs weren't medical emergencies anymore, we had a talk and I asked him straight-out to not awaken me except in cases of absolute emergency. He is an early-morning insomniac, and would sometimes just want company. It seemed a bit cruel since he would be lonely for hours and not feeling his best, but in order for me to ever be a functional human being I needed to sleep uninterrupted. Fortunately he respected and understood as he always does and that helped so much. For me, 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep is worth 12 hours with interruptions.

I know all of these suggestions are pretty lame, and show that my "insomnia" isn't nearly what some of you have suffered through. I feel like such a sissy after actually writing this out! But for me they are things that made a huge difference and maybe something will click for somebody.

D was sick because he was poisoned with rat poison and pharmaceutical drugs by our business partner. Not pretty. Almost killed him, and definitely gave him awful insomnia for a long time among many other symptoms. All sympathy to you guys who have been jacked around by prescription drugs and doctors suggestions. I know sometimes it helps and is the only solution, but sometimes it's just hellish.

One other thing that I would suggest is looking into a traditional chinese medicine diagnosis. After some research, I found that my racing thoughts were connecting to having a liver imbalance--so I found some foods to balance that out, and it really helped. It's the same imbalance that will make you obsess over thoughts or make you have a song "stuck in your head" or make you tend towards angry outbursts and impatience. Of course sleeplessness makes the imbalance worse soo...another catch-22 as several people have already mentioned. I am guessing that acupuncture would help as well, if you could get a consultation with a tcm practitioner first and figure out what your imbalance/syndrome might be. I am a HUGE fan of acupuncture, it truly does work, it healed me of a massive back injury and was the one thing that helped D with the depression that he had coming out of his illness.

That's all I've got! Love and best of luck to all you insomniacs!!
 
Paul Sofranko
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Marie Abell wrote:
I know all of these suggestions are pretty lame, and show that my "insomnia" isn't nearly what some of you have suffered through. I feel like such a sissy after actually writing this out! But for me they are things that made a huge difference and maybe something will click for somebody.


Not lame at all. If you were motivated enough to reply to this thread, then your personal connection is important and what you said matters; and as you said, it may help someone sometime.  
 
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Some Good News!!

Thanks everyone for your support and I of course sympathize with your own struggles.

When I started this thread, I was having a particularly bad week or so of insomnia.  As I stated previously, I have had some pretty disastrous insomnia since 2006, but shortly after I posted here, things actually started turning better.  My insomnia had been so bad for so long that I actually did not believe that my insomnia was improving—I had been given false hope before.  Make no mistake, I still have insomnia, but I have better control over my insomnia than I have at any time since it started 15 years ago.

Part of the change started several years ago after I let my sleep doc go.  My new doc treated my insomnia much more aggressively, but also added a new dimension—we attacked the morning fatigue with a couple of “wake-up” Meds.  These are not hard-core stimulants, and I had previously used them earlier but only on mornings after really bad nights.  The difference was that the new doc wanted me to take these every morning to reinforce a wake-up time so that I would become wide awake in the morning and then get tired by evening.  This approach did work well, but the real magic took some years to materialize.

Starting in about 2019ish this dual approach actually made my night time Meds work better.  I still take my night time Meds but I can count on them working.  Better still, I am in the process of reducing one of my two night time sleep Meds.  A couple of nights I went to bed really tired and actually forgot to take my night time Meds yet slept just fine anyways.  Though this is not a regular event, just a couple of years ago sleeping without meds would have been impossible for me.  My goal now is to slowly wean myself off first one med completely and then the other.

I wish I could point to a specific event, but it may have just been a sort of “healing” from getting regular sleep for a long time.  I don’t actually know why my sleep is improving, but I am certainly happy that it is.

I thought I would add this as a little update as this thread has taken on a life of its own.  Again, thanks to everyone for your support and I certainly appreciate your own struggles.

Eric
 
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Eric, so glad things are improving!

I do have a few other herbs to add which I didn’t see mentioned. None of them are miracle cures, but all have sedative effects in the realm of calming the racing mind.
Skullcap - Scutelaria lateriflora. It is particularly indicated for stress, anxiety, and a racing mind. Fairly neutral flavor, so can be good in tea. 1 tablespoon in a cup of boiling water, combine with a bit of chamomile. I would take it for at least a week or two before deciding whether it helps. Also, I would drink it an hour or two before bed - nothing like having to pee to interrupt your sleeping efforts!
Hops - good old beer hops have a sedative effect. The ones grown for herbal use are more aromatic, but still very bitter, so a tincture can be easier to get down. Another traditional way to use them is a “hops pillow”: a small cloth bag filled with hops next to your regular pillow. The pillow would be more along the lines of helping you feel relaxed and calm in bed - not forcing sleep.
Poppy - even regular poppies have some sedative effect, but California poppies are more commonly seen in herbal formulas. This one is slightly more for staying asleep, rather than falling asleep.

For some folks, these one of these herbs might act strongly and well, for others they might do zilch. All depends on the individual constitution.
 
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May sound crazy, but try switching off the wifi at night and turn your phone on airplane mode. If you have a smart meter on your house, call in and ask for it to be changed back to analog. It’s the only thing I’ve ever found helpful, but it worked better than any medication I’ve ever tried for insomnia, and now I don’t even use medication any more. Combine that with eating exclusively organic, non-processed food as much as possible, and the problem more or less goes away.

I was an insomniac for years and years and found little help. One day my wife said she read something online about wireless signals messing with sleep, so we figured we’d give it a shot. We turned off everything and got the best night of sleep in a very long time. Afterwards we started doing more research and came across a little book called “The Invisible Rainbow” which documented the little-known scientific data behind wireless technology messing with human and animal physiology. Very eye-opening.

When we then later switched to eating strictly organic and non-processed (whole grain, few or no pre-packaged sauces, etc), we both again noticed massive improvement. Now I never have insomnia and I’m on zero medications.
 
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Hi Janice here,
I've been reading your thread on sleep issues with avid interest! I was struggling with sleep for awhile and still do at times but nothing to compare with what some of you are experiencing. Lowering stress is important but not easy.
I ha e found getting outside in the morning sun even if it overcast and getting lots of light in my eyes has helped, I also take magnesium that's high absorption but I also use magnesium cream at night and I rub it on the bottom of my feet. This magnesium doesn't go through the digestive tract and is applied directly to the skin for an effective remedy for pain and sleep. I have been bike riding lately because the weather is amazing right now on the East Coast of Canada. Refined sugar causes me trouble so I try to stay away from it or limit it. I have trouble with racing thoughts at night but most of the time I get sleep which is something that eludes you all and I can't imagine what you face each day. I have on occasion taken something for sleep ( Tylenol PM) and it's worked wonderfully the first few times and then not so well. I take it when I'm desperate not like people here who have to take something daily. I'm not qualified to give advice on sleep issues  but if anything I do can help someone I would be happy about that. It sounds like many things have been tried already. Pills definitely give a quick fix but have serious side effects or just stop working as has been mentioned and i like to avoid them if possible but im not an insomniac either.  Natural remedies take much longer to work but can become much more effective over time. Green drinks can also help with overall well-being because they are easy to absorb nutrients your body needs! I'm not sure if any of this is helpful but I must also mention strength training,  I am about to get back at that because I remember sleeping better than I ever had in my life, it helped chronic pain and so much more. I did a minimal amount of 1 hour 3 times a week and the results were astounding ! Also I'll mention getting outside first thing in the sun if possible and in nature or a park as much as possible.  Make sure you get enough Natural salt , i add it to my water with a slice of lemon to stay hydrated and avoid packaged chemical filled "food"as much as possible 😉 I also avoid using most store bought products like body cream ,soap and toothpaste.  I make my own most of the time and avoid synthetic scent. You can make something as simple as a body moisturizer with herb infused oil and beeswax  , but if not you can but it from the health food store of farmers market. Making changes for overall health goes a long way 💯 It's a combination of things for the good of your overall health.  I hope you all can find something that helps in some way to give relief 🙏 I also forgot to mention I drink one or two shots of beet juice a day to help my high blood pressure but the other benefit is helping me sleep!
The post about turning off wifi is something I want to investigate   I've heard about this a few times now and think it makes total sense 🤔
 
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Unfortunately the insomnia issue is multi-faceted and complex. Having struggled with sleep issues myself and having gotten on the other side of it mostly, I can offer the following insights:
1. Insomnia and/or the inability to stay asleep or sleep in general is very often a reaction to environmental toxins such as mold or chemicals. Since google doesn’t really find stuff anymore, here’s a link to a blog I trust on the subject. http://biotoxinjourney.com/areyoumoldy/ Just because you can’t “see” mold or “smell” mold doesn’t mean it isn’t present in your environment. It is very often behind the walls.
2. Mold and chemicals such as flame retardants (in most mattresses and couches) causes your brain to kind of “catch on fire” so to speak. It becomes super agitated and can’t rest. This is measurable in the body through lab tests and the VCS test mentioned in the above link.
3. If the issue was kind of a sudden onset, this is a telltale sign that something in your environment changed. Did you move? Get a new piece of furniture like a couch or bed, etc.?
4. I now am able to sleep after years of trouble shooting this, getting out of mold, getting a petrochemical-free mattress, stopping the use of all artificial and toxic scents (perfumes, scented laundry detergents, household cleaning products, candles, etc).
5. If all environmental factors can be ruled out, then this book may help. Many times psychological and brain disorders are caused by gut issues. This book and others by this author have been tremendously helpful for me. https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/gut-and-psychology-syndrome/
6. I only use melatonin and sometimes ashwaganda now.
I wish for everyone who struggles with this that they can find the answer to this problem. So often we think it’s our body’s fault, but actually it’s an external fault and our body is trying to protect us from it.
 
pollinator
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Eric, you stated:
"Soon a pattern appeared.  If I had school (I am a teacher) the next day I could not sleep without Lunesta."
I was a teacher too, and I experienced years of sleepless nights. My attitude was that once my body is exhausted, it will fall asleep, and it did but what you have sounds much worse and I feel for you.
Things much improved for me once I retired. [Even though I loved teaching and my students were great for the most part, other aspects of the job were stressful. Not enough prep time, too many students per class, having to justify my job every year to get enough classes for a full time job... Envy from other teachers/ staff, feeling devalued by the rules enacted by my state... It was rough.]
 However, now at 73, old age is causing me to have a few sleepless nights now and again. I consider any medication to help you sleep a treadmill: You get on it and it helps, but then you build tolerance and it stops helping.
I realize that you cannot quit your job just because you can't sleep however, so I'm left feeling helpless sympathy for you.
It is true that stressors make it much worse though. I made a journal, a list, [and it was long], of all the things I thought of when I could not sleep.
It may sound like Pablum for you, but avoiding stressors will help. Apparently unrelated is making a list of things that bring you joy and revel in those things. Take the time to enjoy the things that give you joy, as these things are great de-stressors.
I wish I could help you more as I've gone through staying awake and feel exhausted with a foggy mind, and it is really unpleasant. This is likely to make you irritable, compounding the problem.
Stay strong, Eric!
 
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ERIC HANSON:

Can you share the manufacturers of the compression garments that you use?

Thanks so much!
 
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Hi Eric,  I don’t know if you’ve found any solutions yet as this seems to be an older thread.  Obviously my heart goes out to you and all those who suffer with sleep issues.  I do as well but not to the extremes I’ve read here.  

I suffered from chronic fatigue for 13 years before finally getting the right help so I’ve been on a significant health journey as well. Over that time I’ve learned a lot and come across a lot of different things.  

I will briefly offer a few things that I’m not sure I saw in any other posts...

GHB, aka the date rape drug.  Illegal in the US of course, but in some European countries I believe it is prescribed.  I heard an interview with a dr one time that it’s the best sleep medicine that actually works and doesn’t have side effects when used properly.

Ayahuasca.  Reset the brain.  The best interviews I found on this were on Bulletproof Radio, know known as the Human Upgrade.

Physical therapy that specifically targets neurological disfunction.  I don’t know how it works but I’ve been to one where all you do is lie down on the table, they do their thing and sometimes it leaves you so relaxed you fall asleep.  I’ve heard many people with PTSD have benefited from these techniques.  The place I went to was in Tucson AZ.  Halili PT.

Lastly, a functional medicine dr.  Daniel Aman may have been mentioned.  He does a  lot of brain work.  But also a dr who will look at allergy testing.  Sounds weird right?  I ended up being allergic to corn, tapioca, celery, watermelon, apples and a whole host of other things.  Not saying this is your problem, but it could be one more hidden thing your body has to deal with that adds stress and inflammation.

I have more, but I’ll leave it at that for now.  If any of this intrigues you and you want to know more let me know.  I can do more homework and go into more specifics later.

Best of luck.

 
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Marie Abell wrote:D was sick because he was poisoned with rat poison and pharmaceutical drugs by our business partner. Not pretty. Almost killed him, and definitely gave him awful insomnia for a long time among many other symptoms.


This alone would cause it for not only D, but for you, and anyone who cares about the two of you. I'm so very sorry you (both) went through this, as well as for the loss of your mom.

Marie Abell wrote:
One other thing that I would suggest is looking into a traditional chinese medicine diagnosis. After some research, I found that my racing thoughts were connecting to having a liver imbalance--so I found some foods to balance that out, and it really helped. It's the same imbalance that will make you obsess over thoughts or make you have a song "stuck in your head" or make you tend towards angry outbursts and impatience. Of course sleeplessness makes the imbalance worse soo...another catch-22 as several people have already mentioned. I am guessing that acupuncture would help as well, if you could get a consultation with a tcm practitioner first and figure out what your imbalance/syndrome might be. I am a HUGE fan of acupuncture, it truly does work, it healed me of a massive back injury and was the one thing that helped D with the depression that he had coming out of his illness.


This is wonderful advice, imho. I love my TCM/ acupuncturist, because it is incredibly effective - in my experience - for pretty much everything from trigger fingers to insomnia, to stodgy lymph nodes, and everything in between.


Marie Abell wrote:That's all I've got! Love and best of luck to all you insomniacs!!


I think it's more than you think. I wish the best in healing and prosperity, for you and your D.
 
Carla Burke
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For those suffering with RLS, I found that bumping up my potassium has been a tremendous help, and I'm actually sleeping better, because of it.

I also added banana peel tea to my nighttime routine, which has been an incredible help in flipping off the switch in my brain, allowing me to sleep sooner, and more restfully. I've posted the recipe here, too: https://permies.com/t/157962/neighbors-crazy#1238624



Carla's Banana Peel Tea (inspired by Heather at mommypotomus)
Yield: 7 servings (I make it weekly)

7 banana peels, filling, stickers & stems removed
1 whole nutmeg, grated (or 2T ground)
3 cinnamon sticks
1T vanilla extract (optional)
Sweetener of choice, to taste (optional)
Place peels & nutmeg in a blender, and fill to fill line (I think mine holds 4C) with water. Cap & blend on high, until it's dark brown. Pour into a 2qt (or larger) sauce pot, add cinnamon sticks, and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer for at least 30-45 minutes, don't let the liquid get low - just add more, as needed. Remove from heat, and allow to cool, until you can safely handle it. Strain- I use a reusable coffee filter or tightly woven cloth. Press as much liquid out as possible, leaving the solids in a clump, and toss the solids in the compost (my chickens and worms love them!). Add vanilla &/or sweetener, if using, stir well. Measure, and add enough water to make 3.5Cups.
To use: Just before bed, pour 1/2Cup into a mug, and fill the rest of the way with boiling water.
 
Terry Bomberry
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Like others, I take a pile of herbs with a bit of melatonin (1.5mg), but sometimes that's not enough.  For a while these herbal blends were the answer but after months of using them I've developed some tolerance.

https://store.vitalplan.com/products/sleep-complete

https://store.vitalplan.com/products/hpa-balance

When I'm still awake adding a dose of this usually helps.  It's not like a drug that knocks you out, but I relax in a sleep position, think it's not working, then wake up the next morning realizing that it did work.  You can take repeated doses half an hour apart.  I crunch them up a bit and take them sublingually:
https://hylands.com/products/hylands-calms-forte

This one doesn't work for me but might help those with a racing mind:
https://www.boironusa.com/product/coffea-cruda/

For restless legs, these usually work for me.  Sometimes I need 2-3 doses, sublingually.
https://hylands.com/search?q=Restful+Legs+Tablets

Homeopathic remedies should always be taken with a clean mouth: no toothpaste, food or drink 20-30 min before except water.
 
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Ah, insomnia;  how well do I know thee. Mine is stress/anxiety/chronic health issue related. so I combat it by taking herbals and one OTC medication/meditation/scents.

I have several health issues, one being Fibromyalgia.  And fibro is famous for sleep issues. and pain; I literally can not remember the last day I was without some type of pain or sleep related issue.

To combat it, I take a time release melatonin, non-time release melatonin, triple strength melatonin, valerian, lemon balm, or Benadryl.  I don't take them all at once, of course; its usually the time release melatonin and a benadryl, either liquid or pill form.

I was recently on a course of steroids for inflammation, and that has gotten me totally screwed up even more on sleeping. Add to that some changes in the household routine, and its been a roller coaster ride more than usual for about 3 months.

I find its a mind set. I have to literally take control mentally and tell myself that I am going to get some sleep. I have a  routine that I do before bed, and it helps to settle me. I use a sleep mask, as we live where there is light 24/7; either daylight or street lights. I also use lavender oil on my temples, wrists, bridge of my nose tot he tip, and under my nose, have a fan on for white noise, and a recording of thunderstorms playing , too, or night time sounds, to assist with  sleep induction.  

This week, I  said enough is enough, and  I am starting to go to bed regularly again, and it helps.  I went to bed later last night than I have done since Monday, however, and I didn't sleep well at all; because I didn't get to bed until later, I didn't take anything, and therefore, sleep was very light and not very restorative; ended up  getting up at 6:00 am, having breakfast, then going back to bed at 8:00 am for 6 hours.  I am still tired, and tonight will be a time release melatonin/lemon balm/valerian night.  and I will take the valerian about 7:00 pm, because I am fairly sure I will be going to bed about 8.

I always take melatonin about an hour before I lay down. the time release helps to  get me to a deeper than twilight  sleep state and then takes me deeper  during the rest of the night. Lemon Balm works on my anxiety, so  I take it during the afternoon; if I take it at night, and take any of the melatonin I have, with it, I will sleep 10 hours or more, and still wake up groggy. If I take a triple strength melatonin, which I only take at high anxiety times, its 10 hours I am down; if I take it when  its not as stressful, I am out for 14 hours.

I also have figured out that  my brain has a hard time with clearing out the residues from  the times when I am wound up; ie, anxiety, from medicine, from a time when  I was feeling very very good, etc; and I work on  meditation techniques that help with that as well, its taken me a long time to find the right ones that work.

I also invested in a small essential oils infuser several years ago, and it has n made a very significant difference.

I also just realized that I drink a chamomile/peppermint/regular tea mix every day that helps with  the IBS related to fibro issues, and that is helping, too. Without the tea,  I have constant cramps that nothing will stop.

THats what my routine looks like.  I don't know if it will help anyone, but there it is, more or less.
 
Carla Burke
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I wish melatonin worked for me. It really doesn't. For me, it makes matters worse. It may or(more often) won't help me get to sleep, but then makes me so groggy the next day, that I'm noticeably less functional than if I hadn't slept, at all. The banana tea works 100%better, for me, and has the added bonus of providing the extra potassium to help with my RLS.
 
Kim Huse
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Carla Burke wrote:I wish melatonin worked for me. It really doesn't. For me, it makes matters worse. It may or(more often) won't help me get to sleep, but then makes me so groggy the next day, that I'm noticeably less functional than if I hadn't slept, at all. The banana tea works 100%better, for me, and has the added bonus of providing the extra potassium to help with my RLS.



I haven't tried the banana tea yet; but I take extra  magnesium and potassium as part of my IBS care regime.
 
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My insomnia isn’t as bad as most of yours and I sympathize  I’ve found a few solutions
That may help.A very powerful practice that can really improve sleep and overall health
Is The Wim Hof method.It combines breath work and cold exposure.It can be learned
For free on utube and  helps with pain as well.
 
Eric Hanson
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Wow, this thread really came alive in the last few days.  I have been traveling in that time and had poor to nonexistent internet so I could not respond to these questions so I will respond now.  

Firstly, I will respond to Terry who wanted to know what type of compression garments I use.  I use two brands, mostly based on the season.  In the cooler months I use a brand called MAVA which provides very good compression across the entire leg.  The outside material is slightly slick and is good for layering/does not make other clothes bunch up.  In warmer months I wear a brand called Compressionz which gives good compression over the thigh.  Both brands make long pants and shorts and your opinion may differ from mine, but this is what worked for me.

Secondly I will give an insomnia update: my sleep continues to improve.  I still have a medication regimen, but I generally use much less than I did years ago.  Also as my sleep improved it made my medication work better and the cycle continued.  

I wish I had a single magical answer to everyone with insomnia, but my insomnia did not really improve until I addressed the morning wake-up side of sleep.  Also, just improving/continuing the cycle of sleep has its own merits—I now get tired and want to sleep on a more regular schedule.  My mood and concentration are all generally much better.  

Thanks to everyone who has offered me condolences for my suffering and my thoughts go out to all of you who who suffer from insomnia as I once did.  I will continue to support those who need help, even if it is just to have someone to vent frustrations, and of course I want to keep this thread open to anyone who needs help.

Eric
 
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I know this is an old thread, but Paul put it in his daily-ish email last week & it stuck in my brain with an idea.
How many of these sleep problems are a result of the modern lifestyle?  I would love to know if any of the people posting about their sleep issues are living off-grid, farming, growing their own food etc?
I wondered if sleep could be another area for Permie type people to make an income.  
The idea is offering a 'detox' or 'sleep reset' as if your homestead is a resort.   People with sleep issues would come & live & work on the farm for a few weeks (paying maybe $1000 a week?).  
I'd bet many of these sleep issues would disappear if the person had a week or two with no artificial lights or devices and doing manual labour during the day and eating healthy food.
Maybe it could be part of Paul's health empire.
 
Eric Hanson
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Nate,

A Permie detox-time-out period is a great idea.  I simply don’t know if it would have helped in my particular circumstance.  I have had numerous, countless people try to diagnose the cause of my insomnia, including people who told me bold faced that my insomnia did not start as I said it did.

On September 10, 2005 (a Sunday), I slept like a baby, never ever used sleep aids of any type and generally thought of sleep disorders as either rare or something exaggerated.  September 11, 2005 I was watching a Monday Night football game where my team was winning despite being underdogs.  I was excited and worked up and did not sleep that night.

I went to school the next day (Tuesday) and taught as normal, came home exhausted and told my wife that I was headed to bed, but sleep did not come.  The same happened the next day, Wednesday and again on Thursday.  By Friday I was in pretty rough shape, having been awake for 4 consecutive nights.  Really, I should have called in sick but stubbornly I refused.  

My wife was getting concerned and made an impromptu appointment for me at her clinic with the other doctor there.  I gave him the scoop and he disappeared around the corner and came back with a sample pack of sleeping medication.  Friday night I took the sleeping pill and mercifully fell asleep and slept through the night.  But before a week had elapsed the meds were not working any more—really, faster than a tolerance should have developed.

I could go on and on about how my life devolved around sleeping, but it is sufficient to say that my insomnia started very abruptly and did not get better until I got some better medication.  I did eventually see a sleep specialist who wanted me to try a technique where I restrict my sleep by staying awake longer than I normally would.  I still used my sleep medication and the idea is to really exhaust me into needing sleep.  This led to a four-day period of wakefulness.  I was not coherent or lucid by my roughly 85th hour being awake.  

I have had this conversation with many, many people and I realize it is difficult to wrap the brain around.  In my case, my sleep did not begin to resolve until addressing the morning wake-up part of sleeping.  I had a LOT of stress in my life and I am positive that played a part.  Unfortunately that stress was something I had to work through in order to escape.  And while a detox time-out is a great idea I am pretty certain that my insomnia had its roots elsewhere.  I am all for the detox time but I am certain that I needed the meds.  Fortunately, by this point, I need fewer.

Eric

 
Nate Shaw
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Wow Eric, what you went through sounds really hard.  Not just the sleeping problem but the stuggles with trying to figure it out etc.
Perhaps the detox, even if it worked, would not resolve the issue long term when someone goes back to their stressful (etc) life.
 
Eric Hanson
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Nate,

Hey, thanks for understanding.  You might be surprised by how many people have told me that my account did not happen as I recounted—as if they were there watching me go through it.  I think the sudden, abrupt, severe onset makes some think that the cause must be something else—depression, anxiety and even substance abuse (despite my complete lack of use) have all at some point been levied against me.  It is actually really good to simply be heard and not judged—and I have been judged a lot.  It seems that plain old stress just was not a sufficient answer but you recognize that so I credit you.

Eric
 
Kim Huse
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Eric Hanson wrote:Nate,

Hey, thanks for understanding.  You might be surprised by how many people have told me that my account did not happen as I recounted—as if they were there watching me go through it.  I think the sudden, abrupt, severe onset makes some think that the cause must be something else—depression, anxiety and even substance abuse (despite my complete lack of use) have all at some point been levied against me.  It is actually really good to simply be heard and not judged—and I have been judged a lot.  It seems that plain old stress just was not a sufficient answer but you recognize that so I credit you.

Eric



Hey, Eric:

I have had weird things screw up my sleep schedule, which is why I have the  supplements on hand at all times, that  help me to sleep. we live in Dallas, Tx, in a part thats not so great but not as bad as some areas; so there is always street noise, firecrackers ( doesn't matter the date, we have people who have firecrackers and think its 'neat' to play with them), random gunshots, street racers, ect; so there's a lot to contend with here.

Even something as simple as a mockingbird singing after the sun goes down will set my insomnia off.  And we have a male Mockingbird that will sing until midnight ( that's when most of the lights go off at the community center across the street)  or after where we live; and part of that can be attributed to the street lights, too; as they don't go off until after the sun rises.  Yep, I think the mockingbird has insomnia as well.

SO, along with the usual stressors, pile all of that on top , and you get someone who will be up for 72 hours straight and then will crash only if I take the triple strength melatonin.  My brain gets so wired that I literally can NOT  get to sleep until I hit that wall at 72 hours.  I used to be worse; I have went without deep enough sleep for over a month at times. Thats when I started looking into why that was, added up all my symptoms, and realized I had several issues healthwise, and that my brain was just WOUND because none of those were allowing me to rest properly.

That's when I started taking OTC sleep meds. they helped, but left me feeling grogged out the next day, even with 8 to 10 hours sleep at the lightest dose.

My dr prescribed the prescription ones. Again, after sleeping well with those for several months, then its like those receptors decided that its time to switch off; and I was back to 72 hours and crashing.

I also am one of those people where the prescribed conventional pain relievers don't work;  that's part of fibromyalgia. So I take one non-opioid prescribed pain reliever, or in this case, brain perception changer of pain signals, It helps, some.  For me, it seems that those over active pain pathways also are in line with the 'lets stay awake forever!" pathways, so the prescriptions for sleep meds were not the answer.

I just  was going to ask: DO you also tend to not respond well to opioid pain relief prescriptions? For me, they make me loopy as all get out, but I am still in pain, and they do a terrible turn on my GI tract, and give me terrible constipation.

Thats when I started looking into the herbal and natural sleep aids, and its taken a lot of trial and observation to get me to where I am now; and I have noticed that I am again, trying to do a 72 hour stay awake spree ever since the last course of steroids I was on. Now going on 2 MONTHS ago since I finished the course.  

So its making sure I am following the same regime before bed to get my brain in sync with my tired body to get some rest.  Its working. For now.  That can change in a heartbeat.
 
Eric Hanson
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Kim,

I have been prescribed a vast number of sedatives over the years to control my insomnia.  Eventually after much trial and mostly error I found a combination of two sedatives that are effective, wear off quickly in the morning, produce minimal tolerance and of course are safe for regular use.  This took a very long time to figure out, but it’s only one half of the story.  The other half is about the morning wake-up.  My current sleep doc is focused on reinforcing my circadian rhythms so that the meds help the circadian rhythms and vice versa.  

As to your more specific questions, I have had a couple of spells of kidney stones and was prescribed narcotic pain medication.  They did put me to sleep, but of course these can not be used for anything other than short term pain relief or tolerance and worse develops.  I have used a wide dosage range of melatonin and I found it a cruel joke.  I got very tired but never actually slept.

Eric
 
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Just a thought have any of you who can't sleep have any medical devices in your body? Please watch the bleeding edge on Netflix if you do insomnia was bii (breast implant illness) issue but it can also be gynological assure coil, mesh, joints, etc anything that  your body sees as a foreign object. Hugs prayers and God bless, also lethargy if you look up bii symptoms most are also from other implants...share thank you:)
 
Neth Brown
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I don’t know why I didn’t mention this in my last post, binaural beats.  I’ve found this to be very effective.  There are lots out there for different purposes.  Here’s an 1.5 hour long one ive found to work for me.

https://youtu.be/HePF0xlKzNE

Get yourself some sleep phones and hopefully you’ll finally get some real rest.
 
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