Chronic insomnia

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by J13, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. J13

    J13 New Member

    I've had FM for decades and the usual sleep problems. I've found that a good night's sleep usually means a good day. But for the past 6 months, I've not been able to sleeps more than 4 to 6 hours, not my usual 9. I've tried various prescribed sleeping pills as well as OTC meds. Nothing works and I feel desperate.. I'm so sleep deprived I could jump out of my skin. Has anyone else solved this problem?
  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    If you have not done so already, get your cortisol levels checked. If they are high at night, this can cause severe insomnia. This is really common with CFS.

    A good test is the Adrenal Stress Index Test, a saliva test which measures your cortisol levels at 4 different times during the day/evening. I had one several years ago and my cortisol was quite high at night when it was supposed to be lower, causing severe insomnia. I was given Seriphos (phosphorylated serine - non-prescription) to normalize my levels and it worked very well. For best results, take in the morning. I had no bad side effects when taken in the morning.

    Any doctor can order this test. Also, if your doctor doesn't want to or know about this test, I would look for a naturopath to do it, or else you can get it done through Clymer Healing Research in Pennsylvania. They're on-line, and I dealt with them via the phone, e-mail and regular mail, with good results.

    Actually, I had the test done twice, first by Clymer, and then a couple of years later by a naturopath, and my second test results were much better than my first.

  3. heapsreal

    heapsreal New Member

    We get immune to sleeping tablets very quickly so if taking them every night eventually they stop working, they need to be used irregularly and if needing something every night, possibly need to alternate a few things. Also maybe u need a sleep initiator like a benzo or ambien etc with a sleep sustainer like mirtazaine or doxepin which will help increase the quality and quantity of your sleep. A good combo would be ambien with 25-50mg of doxepin and on another night tamazapam with mirtazapine. I have also found baclofen a muscle relaxer really improves my sleep quality but not on its own, i use it with zopiclone and get good sleep with it, but u do need to alternate these things so u dont get immune to it and keep getting good sleep.

  4. AllWXRider

    AllWXRider New Member

    There are many herbals that can be used. They have to be rotated too. Valerian, skullcap, catnip, chamomile, et al.
    Avoid caffiene in the afternoon. has a cortisol saliva kit, you can order it w/o a RX.

    Add tryptophan to the diet. Turkey, cashews, bananas and dairy. Most are dairy sensitive. A little sugar favors the tryptophan into the brain. Honey roasted cashews work well for me. Its an amino acid, so the body does not adapt, if it works, it works forever.

    GABA may also help. Fish is a natural source. Most sleep RX modify the GABA receptors in the brain. GABA + Taurine + Theanine help GABA cross the BBB blood brain barrier.

    Eat a green salad everyday. Veggies or a juice machine will powerhouse your liver's detox system. NAC N Acetyl Cysteine helps the liver make glutathione to detox. I take 2 grams / day. A toxic liver is overloaded and may disturb sleep. The liver works hardest at night.

    Do you have sugar or salt cravings at night?

    Are you treating for Candida? Dr Teitelbaum says that all CFS patients must treat continuously for candida.
  5. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I don't take seriphos any more. I only took it when my cortisol levels were elevated, and for that it worked really well. I strongly suggest that anyone thinking of taking it first get their cortisol levels tested. If your levels are already low, then I think it can make them go even lower, which would not be a good thing. But if they're high, it's great stuff.

    What I'm doing now is a cocktail of supps for sleep. I take the following about an hour before bed:

    calcium and magnesium
    150 mg. 5-htp
    3 mg. melatonin
    100 mg. l-theanine (crosses blood-brain barrier better than Gaba)

    I do still have some middle of the night insomnia, but it is not as severe as before. For this I take o.5 lorazepam, twice if needed - I usually wake up after about 4 hours sleep, so will take 0.5 lorazepam then, and then if still awake 45 minutes later take anohter 0.5. And then usually will be asleep within 1/2 hour for the rest of the night.

    I do end up with 8-9 hours of sleep a night which I seem to need. When my cortisol levels were high, I would wake up at 1 or 2 or 3 and just be unable to go back to sleep period, it was pretty bad. I would have a jittery or very high strung feeling in my body, which I don't have now. After starting the Seriphos I noticed I just felt calmer in general, but not drugged. It's great stuff if you need it.

    I had to start with a relatively high dose of 8 capsules a day. After severeal months I noticed I was getting more tired than usual and finally realized my cortisol levels were going too low and I needed to cut the dose.

    Here's some more info about Seriphos and cortisol:

    Please note in this article that when they say “PS”, they are referring to phosphatidyl serine, NOT Seriphos, which is phosphorylated serine.

    Seriphos is less expensive and more efficient in converting the stress hormone cortisol than regular phosphatidyl serine (PS). Seriphos (Phosphorylated Serine) is a pure product and not derived from animal tissue. The serine is from vegetable sources and the phosphate is from a pure phosphate donor compound.

    Regular PS acts as a precursor molecule and is not the active form of the nutrient. In the tissue, regular PS is linked to glyceroland, the appropriate fatty acids specific to each tissue, and is not linked to the fatty acids provided in PS. In short, fatty acids can oxidize in regular PS.

    Seriphos, Phosphorylated Serine, is less expensive and does not oxidize. Absorption does not depend upon enzyme availability in the gastro-intestinal tract of the user as does PS.

    Seriphos, like PS, stimulates neuronal plasticity, acting as a compensatory adaptive mechanism to cell deterioration, and is capable of preventing or delaying the age-dependent decline of neurotransmitter function.

    Chronic stress, physical and mental, can desensitize the hypothalmic-Pituitary-Axis and elevate cortisol. Seriphos can help optimize the stress response, and repair the damage wrought by catabolic stress hormones. PS, when consumed in food provides only 20% of active phosphorylated serine. Each 100 mg of PS only yields 20mg of activated serine following consumption. The bulk of the weight is derived from two fatty acids, acting as a precursor molecule and is not the active form of the nutrient. Seriphos is more stable, economic, and a more active molecule than PS.

    Seriphos can improve memory and sleep. Clinical studies show an improvement on both computerized and standard neuropsychological performance tests.

    Suggested usage:

    Like all macro minerals, it is best absorbed when taken before meals at least 15 minutes before eating. For stress, take one capsule at least 15 minutes before eating.

    NOTE: Seriphos works with the pineal gland. Take two in the morning and two at lunch time before meals for better sleep at nighttime. This mimics the cortisol "curve".


    By Dr. Joseph A. Debé

    Exercising regularly and making healthful dietary choices takes discipline and dedication. Some people do it for their appearance - they want to build muscle and/or lose bodyfat. Others are motivated to improve their health and vitality. And then there are the competitive athletes. No matter what your fitness goals are, one of the main determinants of whether you will reach them is your hormonal status.

    Although many hormones have an influence, two of the most important are cortisol and DHEA. These are the long-lasting stress hormones secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol has a general catabolic effect on the body. Catabolism refers to the breakdown of complex living tissue into simpler components, some of which are used as metabolic fuel. DHEA has largely opposite effects of cortisol, being an anabolic hormone. Anabolism is the process whereby food is converted into living tissue. Anabolism and catabolism are both essential processes. In order to achieve your fitness goals, cortisol and DHEA must be produced in the proper balance. Chronic stress results in imbalance, with increased cortisol and decreased DHEA production. This causes the body to shift into a catabolic state.

    It is critically important to understand that mental-emotional strain is only one of many different things the body perceives as stress. Two of cortisol's main functions are to raise blood sugar levels and to reduce inflammation. Thus, cortisol levels increase in response to drops in blood sugar and the presence of inflammation. Other types of stress include: chronic pain, chronic illness, chronic/severe allergies, trauma/injury, temperature extremes, surgery, toxic exposure, chronic or severe infections, late hours/insufficient sleep, light cycle disruption (as in working night shifts), and excessive exercise. That's right. Excessive exercise results in elevated cortisol to DHEA ratios. Over enthusiasm about exercise can easily produce cortisol-DHEA imbalance. In addition to overtraining, the three most common stressors to be concerned about are mental-emotional stress, dysglycemia (blood sugar fluctuation), and inflammation.

    How exactly does an elevated cortisol to DHEA ratio interfere with fitness goals? One way is by producing cellular amino acid deprivation. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are responsible for most of the cellular structure, and for enzymes which catalyze biochemical reactions. Under the influence of stress, (a high cortisol to DHEA ratio), protein synthesis slows and protein breakdown accelerates. The end result is reduced muscle mass. Proteins from the heart, bones and gastrointestinal mucosa (lining) are also targeted for breakdown. The amino acids released by the catabolism of these proteins are oxidized to produce carbon skeletons to be used for making glucose. Importantly, aging proceeds by this very process of cell protein degradation. Stress also results in the replacement of insulin-sensitive, slow oxidative type I muscle fibers by fast glycolytic type II-B muscle fibers, which impairs muscular endurance.

    Elevated cortisol levels also interfere with energy production by decreasing glucose utilization. High cortisol to DHEA ratios result in fat deposition, especially around the midsection. It is possible to sometimes build muscle under stress (high cortisol : DHEA), but at the expense of the internal organs. What happens is that resistance exercise (weight training) makes the skeletal muscles the organ of demand so that protein is "stolen" from the internal organs to be used by the muscles. Bodybuilders in this condition have been found to have up to thirty percent shrinkage of the liver and catabolism of other organs, as their muscles grew. Obviously, this is detrimental to health. For those concerned about their appearance, stress strikes another blow. Elevated cortisol levels reduce skin regeneration and lead to accelerated wrinkling. The protein breakdown that occurs under stress can also accelerate osteoarthritis and bone loss, and prolong healing of injuries. Other conditions which people hope to prevent or improve by a healthy lifestyle are actually promoted by elevated cortisol to DHEA ratios. These include hypertension, ischemic heart disease depression and various cancers

    Elevated cortisol: DHEA further impedes fitness goals by altering the levels and activities of other hormones. Thyroid stimulating hormone and triiodothyronine levels are reduced and reverse triiodothyronine levels increase. In other words, thyroid activity is diminished. This results in a slowing of the metabolic rate. Bodyfat becomes easier to store, more difficult to lose. Stress lowers levels of growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor I, all of which are muscle-building, fat-burning hormones. Stress increases levels of estrogen released from the ovaries and also increases conversion by fat cells of DHEA, androstenedione and testosterone to estrogen. The more bodyfat a person has, the more these hormones get converted to estrogen. Estrogen stimulates fat deposition, particularly around the thighs and hips. Stress is feminizing in men and women. Stress produces insulin insensitivity with subsequent elevation in insulin levels. This produces increased hunger with craving for carbohydrates. Elevated insulin levels increase fat cell proliferation and fat deposition. To sum it up, under stress, muscle is replaced by fat.

    So, how does one know if they have elevated cortisol: DHEA? The best way to measure these hormones is with the Adrenal Stress Index™. This is a simple test the person performs at home. Four saliva samples are collected over the course of one day by rolling cotton swabs under the tongue and then placing them into test tubes. The kit is then mailed to the laboratory and the hormones are measured from the saliva. The testing laboratory furnishes the test kit, with all supplies needed. The laboratory fee for the test is $99.

    Test results are sent to the ordering doctor within about two week’s time. Analysis of the test results, in combination with evaluation of the individual's lifestyle, leads to therapies to help restore any hormonal imbalance. Scientifically proven techniques for mental-emotional stress reduction can be used. Dietary and nutritional supplement recommendations to balance blood sugar levels are often needed. Women trying to lose weight often eat too much carbohydrate. Bodybuilders often eat too much protein. Both of these situations can result in elevated cortisol to DHEA ratios, as can simply not eating enough. Sources of inflammation must be sought out and dealt with appropriately to lower cortisol output. Thorough understanding of the individual's lifestyle can identify other sources of stress.

    A nutritional supplement called phosphorylated serine is often useful in lowering elevated cortisol levels. It appears to work at the level of the brain and pituitary gland. DHEA supplementation is usually called for when levels are found to be low. In some cases, sublingual administration is preferred; in other cases, micronized capsule form is best. In cases of sex hormone related problems such as prostate or breast cancer, DHEA should not be supplemented before performing an additional test called a DHEA challenge test. This test measures the increase in testosterone and estrogen levels after supplementing DHEA for just a week. For those individuals who convert a lot of DHEA to testosterone or estrogen and have certain health conditions, DHEA can be dangerous. 7-keto DHEA is a supplement that apparently is not converted to sex hormones within the body and so can be used safely, although it will not provide all the benefits of DHEA.

    An additional therapy to help lower cortisol levels is aerobic exercise. However, as was previously mentioned, excessive exercise can stress the body. There is a way to help determine if a given duration and intensity of exercise is stressing or de-stressing the body. Another test of cortisol levels is performed in relation to exercise. A saliva sample is taken five minutes before beginning exercise, five minutes after, one and three hours after finishing the exercise session. It is acceptable for cortisol levels to rise immediately after exercise. However, they should decrease by one hour after exercise. Three hours after exercise, cortisol levels should be equal to or lower than starting values. If they are, then the level of exercise is beneficial. If they are not, then this level of exercise is a stress to the body and is sabotaging fitness goals and undermining health. In this case, the type, intensity, and/or duration of exercise need to be adjusted. This test is particularly well suited for women who cannot lose weight even though they exercise aerobically and - inappropriately - eat a high carbohydrate diet and avoid weight training.
  6. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    Hi, I have also had terrible problems with insomnia. The other problem is waking up in the morning. I tried every possible sleep medication. For a few years I used Ambien which I don't like. A few months ago I told my doctor, I need something that will really knock me out. He suggested Halcion. I am wary of trying new medications but I tried it anyway.

    Halcion works great. I really go to sleep and get a solid 8 hours. The other problem I have is waking up in the morning. I am so sensitive to any drugs, especially sleep meds. I take Nuvigil in the morning. It wakes you up and clears the effects of the sleeping pill within 15 minutes. I have had no side effects from the Nuvigil.

  7. nickolu84

    nickolu84 New Member

    hi i feel ur pain and know how it 26 since age 13 had insomnia with the fibro ...ive done sleeping pills an all kinds nothing works and at times i feel stir crazy once in a great while i get to sleep at nite but very drives me crazy and so farive found no magic cure or method that works,.jus try and hang in there ur not alone.
  8. agcgmom

    agcgmom New Member

    I went through that for years before I was diagnosed with FM. IF I could fall asleep on my own, I would be awake 5 to 6 times a night then exhausted the next day. Finally I started to see a Dr. at a FM Clinic and he talked to me for about for a year to try Xyrem. If you read anythng about Xyrem, it can be daunting or frightening. I am telling you it is not daunting or frightening. It was the best decision I ever made for my FM treatment plan. I still wake up 2 to 3 times a night (you have to for the Xyrem anyway) but the sleep I get is "quality- level 4" sleep and I feel great in the morning and most of the day. My pain level has been reduced. I was able to get off the ADs, vicodin and several other drugs once I started sleeping. Once one finds a Dr.that can prescribe Xyrem there is process that has to be gone through by patient and Dr. Xyrem is very expensive if you don't have insurance. My last prescription for one month came and the cost on the invoice was $2880. I pay a $50 co pay so I know I am lucky.

    Happy Sleep Everyone!
  9. wacquiebob

    wacquiebob New Member

    Where is your FM clinic located?
  10. Tizz

    Tizz New Member

    ...which is a Vitamin Shoppe product. It contains 5-HTP, melatonin, hops, passion flower, and valerian.

    Usually puts me out like a light.