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Sleep Disorders Message Board


Sleep Disorders Board Index


Been there, done that. Almost exactly. Only I went to several different doctors including sleep doctors for answers because I was certain there had to be something wrong with me causing me to not sleep.

No one could help me beyond offering me Ambien or Lunesta. I did Ambien for a week and hated it. It caused me to have depression in the afternoon after a night of using it. I didn't know it was the Ambien till I stopped. It was frustrating. I really did feel like something was different inside my head/brain. I was exhausted by my brain just would not let me tip over into sleep.

I began reading A LOT about insomnia. I had a feeling it was cortisol that was effecting my brain so began reading about it. And sure enough, I found plenty about cortisol and adrenaline and insomnia. That's why meditation and reducing stress is suggested when someone is suffering from insomnia. Reducing those stress hormones will help your brain, specifically your hypothalmus, to stop reacting to the cortisol. When you don't sleep, your body is under a great deal of stress so cortisol is produced to keep you alert (flight or fight/survival). But if those levels stay elevated for too long your hypothalmus actually gets a little desensitized to the cortisol and will actually send signals to your adrenal glands to produce more. It becomes a viscous circle.

So I began searching for ways to lower my cortisol levels. It's not easy especially when the cortisol is elevated do to fatigue and stress from insomnia. I began using a supplement called Seriphos (phosphorlated serine or phosphitydl serine). It's a phospholipid that the body needs but with stress and age, we don't absorb or produce as much. The body has an antioxident called serine that if depleted can effect sleep. This supplement can help replenish those levels.

At first it worked like a charm. It doesn't give you a drugged feeling and it's not a sleep aid, it's a supplement to allow your body to get back on track to begin sleeping on it's own. I actually got sleepy, not just feeling tired and fatigued, sleepy and I would fall asleep. But then I had to tweak the time and dosage to help me with sleep.

I am not a perfect sleeper. Like you I have been a light sleeper most of my life and it's gotten worse in my late 40s. But I sleep more than 2-3hrs like I did at my worst. I had insomnia pretty bad for about a year, I still struggle with sleep but because I know I can sleep when I sleep badly I don't stress too much about it anymore and know I have to find the answer as the doctors really don't know all that much other than prescriptions.

One other thing, you say you work physically hard. If you are doing that late in the day/early evening. That can raise your cortisol levels as well. That's why it's suggested to not exercise less than 5-6hrs before bedtime to allow your cortisol levels to drop and not effect sleep. Maybe try to find some way to really relax in the evening after work - a warm bath or shower, just resting for an hour before bed listening to quiet music, reading if you like to read.

It's all trial and error. But I think right now your body is flooded with stress hormones and they aren't able to drop to normal levels by bedtime. Then you don't sleep and you produce more to keep you alert and moving during the day.

Good luck! I do hope you find some resolution to it soon. It is one brutal affliction! But you can get out of it, it just takes time and perseverance.





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