High Cortisol level and sleep deprivation

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by scarflady, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. scarflady

    scarflady New Member

    Does anyone know of a connection between not being able to sleep through the night and high Cortisol levels?

  2. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    I've seen it talked about and I just plain don't know what it is or what it does. It would be great if someone would explain. Also, how do you know your levels are high? Blood test?

    Thanks, Sue
  3. Nancy

    Nancy New Member

    have a sleep disorder! I just discovered this week that I have severe Central and Obstructive sleep apnea. This means I stop breathing for 30-50 times an hour either because my airway is obstructed or, scarey one for me, my brain doesn't tell my body to breathe! I couldn't believe it!! I have felt exhausted and just thought it was chronic fatigue and fibro. My specialist told me that they are finding that 80% of fibro patients that are tested for sleep disorder have one. My rheumotologist never told me this. My daughter pushed me to have the testing done. My sleep doctor told me that I only truly slept for a little over 2 hours...rest of the 6/7 hours I was in very light sleep or none..tossing and turning. When I "slept", I would stop breathing for 20 to 40 seconds at a time...repeatedly. I go back in on Monday nite for a CPAP (continous positive air) test...mask that fits over nose/mouth and flows air to back of throat to keep it open..I will also have oxygen added to help my body repair itself. My Oxygen level, when I stop breathing, is 74%, then I lightly awake with gasping when my "primitive" brain tells my body to breathe. I thought there was no more I would have to struggle with other than fibro/cfs pain, fatigue...now this. But, I will feel better, no doubt, when I stop struggling for oxygen each night killing brain cells. My gosh, no wonder I have brain fog and don't remember anything and am exhausted all the time...I've been suffucating myself! I would recommend if others are exhausted and have similiar issues, get tested...it can help you....
  4. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    The highest cortisol levels of a healthy person are first thing in the morning...they drop off to nearly nothing before bed, stay low for a bit, then slowly rise until you wake up.

    That said, if you are stuck on high stress all the time (some researchers claim that the HPA axis can get 'stuck' on high if you are constantly kicking in with the fight-or-flight hormones -- adrenaline, etc -- cortisol is what comes in on the tail end of that), your cortisol levels can be high enough to make your body think that you are supposed to be awake. Low blood sugar causes adrenaline then cortisol flares...yet another reason to eat a bit of quality protein before bed.

    At least, that's the one someone explained it to me one time.

    The thing that helped me kick this is a supplement called Seriphos. It is a 'phosphorylated serine' and is supposed to be for adaptogen and adrenal support. The brand I use is made by InterPlexus, Inc. (I get it through my alternative physician.)

    Some say take one or two, but the alt. doc said it was sometimes necessary to take up to 20 a day to get the continual overload to switch off. I started small and ended up at 12 a day in 4 doses (3 at each breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime). Over a couple of years, I greadually stopped taking it.

    I'm really far along in the adrenal fatigue -- almost no cortisol to speak of any more. But when I do manage to save some up, my body seems to switch directly to high and then I can't sleep anymore. Then I start back on the Seriphos -- I take 4 right before bed -- and I go back to sleeping like a baby.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/09/2005]
  5. scarflady

    scarflady New Member

    When cortisol levels are high is means you are dealing with a lot of stress. I recently had several blood tests done and it showed that my cortisol levels were very high because of stress. If stress keeps me from sleeping that maybe there was a connection. I am not sure myself and will need to google to find out more. Thaought maybe someone in the group has the same problem.

  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I had a saliva adrenal-stress index test done about 2 years ago, it showed my cortisol levels all skewed and the lab report said it would interfere with my sleep.

    I started taking Seriphos like the other person who posted (can't see her name right now), and it worked great. I started sleeping better just about immediately.

    I started out taking 8 a day, and now am down to 3. But one very important thing that I found out was the time of day that I took it -- I was told to take it at night before bed and in the middle of the night if I couldn't sleep, but that made me feel horrible, I don't know how else to put it.

    Then I discovered that taking it first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) and late morning (also on empty stomach) worked great -- I had no bad side effects. The only side effects were I felt calmer, more able to deal with things, and slept better. It was a Godsend for me.

    I think the Seriphos would probably help many if not most of the people on this board with their sleeping problems.

  7. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    The one post said that cortisol is the end product of the adrenaline produced by the fight or flight feeling...so stress produces cortisol. I seems like it keeps you feeling awake during the day and normally drops at night so you can sleep. So if you have tons of stress, that's probably why you can't sleep. Thank you...I learned something.

    I have trouble sleeping, also, as do most people on this board. How long have you had this trouble? When did it start? I have had trouble with sleep on and off for about 20 years, but the last 8 have been fairly constant. I'm sorry that you also have this trouble. Hope something you find out can help. Isn't it awful to lie awake, tired but unable to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night (many times, sometimes)? A big drag!

    Hope you can sleep better tonight.

    Take care,
  8. Nahna

    Nahna New Member

    Hi I am new to this board.

    I really do believe that high cortisol levels will keep your body in the "flight or fight mode", which will keep you from sleeping. I have had sleep problems for many years. My endo has probably taken 7-9 24 hour urine tests (one way they test cortisol levels). My levels jump all over. He sent me to a friend of his at Mayo and that doctor said that the up and down levels were caused by my pain and the stress it caused. Told my doctor I needed better pain control Once they got me on daily pain meds, the cortisol levels stayed about where they are supposed to. Also take Ambien and with good sleep my pain is less.
  9. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    How often do you take it, and does it work well? Sounds like your doctor was well versed in what to do when things didn't make sense...sending you to a specialist and then taking his advice. How fortunate for you.

    It's always nice to hear a happy ending story.

  10. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    My doctor had me do an ASI (saliva stress test) two years ago, which showed that my adrenals were producing too much cortisol after 5 pm, and especially around 11 pm. I feel "wired" or even shaky during the evening. I think CFS definitely affects the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
    Seriphos has helped immeasurably for me. I take about six a day, three of which I take just before bed.
    I also take Natural Calm/Magnesium, melatonin, and Klonopin for sleep.
    The book, CHRONIC FATIGUE UNMASKED 2000 talks more about the adrenal problems in CFS and seriphos as one thing that might help.
  11. Nahna

    Nahna New Member

    My daily medication every 4 hours is Ultram. It really helps me with the burning and deep pain. I also have Vicodin for when the pain is unbearable. I have severe allergic reactions to most medications, so these are the two that I am able to handle.