Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Godismystrength, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. I have to take natural remedies for sleep because I'm so chemically sensitive. I've noticed that some of you take lemon balm to help you sleep. How much do you take and does it come in a liquid, gel cap, capsule or pill form?

    My sleep remedies worked for a while, but for some reason, haven't been working so well anymore. I wake up all through the night now and have been feeling worse because of it.

    I already take magnesium, Sleepytime tea, melatonin and a natural sleep supp called "Relax-All with Phenibut" which has a blend of L-tryptophan, varerian root extract, phenibut, jujube extract, inositol, ashwaghanda, chamomile flowers and lemon balm. The problem is that, with the exception of the phenibut, it doesn't list the AMOUNTS of each thing listed. It just says "proprietary blend". I've been taking this for years and even just recently increased the dose from 2 capsules to 3 capsules per night, but its not helping me to STAY asleep and I wake up multiple times through the night and wind up getting very little sleep. I usually wake up soon after the sun comes up and can't fall back asleep (even with a sleep mask). And we all know that lack of sleep is like kryptonite to those of us with ME/CFS or FM! So any input is greatly appreciated!

    Part of me wonders if after being on these things for so long, is my body becoming desensitized to them? In years past I've run the gammut of trying diff things for sleep and drugs like Ambien and Lunesta gave me side affects that defeated the purpose. Natural remedies always worked best for me.

    Any helpful tips? I'm desperate here! I was needing to rest up for my daughter's visit... she gets in tonight from England after not seeing her for 6 months. Really need some help. Thanks so much!

  2. I will give this a try... not sure if that melatonin dose will work for me though, since I already take 5 mg... I know you posted something recently about Melatonin dosing being too high, but I'm not sure that there's any going back now, since I was on 3mg a while back and had to up it to 5mg.

    But you're right... we're all diff and what works for one may not work for another. But at this point, I'm willing to try just about anything, as long as it's natural. Have you been on this same regimen for years? Just wondering if your body got used to certain doses and then you had to increase.

    Btw, does lemon balm come in a pill form?

    Thanks again, Jam, for your help! Praying this works as well for me as it has for you!

  3. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Shel - have you ever had your cortisol levels tested? If they are high at night, it will cause insomnia which almost nothing will touch. A good test is the adrenal stress index test - any doctor can order it although a naturopath would be the most likely to know about it. It's a saliva test, takes saliva samples 4 times throughout day/evening so they can see how your cortisol levels rise and fall.

    You can also contact Clymer Healing Center (find them on-line) and you can get the test done through them, through e-mail and regular mail if your doctor won't do it.

    I had severe middle of the night insomnia several years ago and it wasn't until I discovered my high cortisol that I was able to effectively treat it. I was given Seriphos (phosphorylated serine) which worked great. I had to take it in the morning, it does not drug you, just helps normalize cortisol levels.

    My sister found that Corti-slim, the weight loss product, helps with her high cortisol and stress and sleep. It has magnolia bark which is supposed to do the same thing.

    Anyways, if you haven't had your cortisol levels checked, you should do it. Most doctors don't even think of looking for this and instead give out drugs.

    A few other things: the amino acid taurine can help a lot with sleep and it helps many people. Unfortunately, it can also cause detoxing so if that's a problem for you, then it may be too hard to take. But if you don't have problems with detoxing, then I would definitely give taurine a tray.

    Also, l-theanine, an amino acid which helps the brain produce GABA, is very calming and can help with sleep, but it won't be enough if your cortisol levels are high.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/21/2012]
  4. kbak

    kbak Member

    So sorry your having so much trouble. Myself, I couldn't sleep without meds, but I do take melatonin which I find very helpful. You might try liquid melatonin. I take a melatonin pill plus a dropper full of liquid melatonin, which gets into your system faster. NOW makes a liquid melatonin. Hope you find the ever elusive sleep!!

    Take care,
  5. Thank you all for the great info and ideas!

    Ah CORTISONE LEVELS! Thank you so much Mary for mentioning that! I just had a saliva test done in June, but because I don't have a PCP right now, the nurse practioner at my ob/gyn's office read the results and focused on the estrogen and progesterone levels and ignored the cortisol levels.

    I just went and dug out a copy of the results and my cortisol is all messed up (and it may be even more now!). My cortisol is HIGH in the evening and way low in the morning... so my body chemistry is def out of wack. What scares me is that the results show a comparison to the last time I did a saliva test at the end of 2009 and my morning cortisol level was low even in 2009 at 3.3 (normal is 3.7-9.5) but in June its way lower, at 1.7! No wonder I feel so bad in the morning and have a hard time getting out of bed! And in 2009, my EVENING cortisol levels were normal at 1.3 (normal is 0.6- 1.9) and in June was 2.4 and I'm guessing could be going in the wrong direction and be even higher now. I've been having a lot of chest discomfort and pain for the last couple of weeks... wonder if this could be the cause???

    But what is done to correct cortisol levels??? A doctor put me on flourinef a couple of years ago and it near about did me in. Later, I read that Dr. Cheney says that CFS/ME patients shouldn't take florinef because with extended use it actually exacerbates the disease in many patients. So can anyone tell me if there is a natural option for normalizing cortisol levels? I feel like my condition is deteriorating and the cortisol problem could be at the root of this.

    Unfortunately, I don't know what to do about getting a primary care physician since all the ones I've tried in the past (since the ME/CFS kicked in) have actually caused me more harm than good because they didn't know anything about CFS/ME. Any suggestions? I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place...

    But thank you all for all the help and ideas for helping my sleep... like kbak said: the ever elusive sleep!

    And Leah, thanks for the kind wishes with my daughter's visit. I'm praying for a miracle to help me feel better so I can enjoy at least SOME of her visit.


    [This Message was Edited on 09/21/2012]
  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I'm not sure what to tell you. The Seriphos I wrote about really helped normalize my high cortisol at night, but I can't recall what my levels were in the morning. That is just not right that your nurse practitioner ignored your cortisol levels. We really have to be our own doctors! Since your cortisol levels are so low in the morning, Seriphos might make them lower - I just don't know.

    I suggest you try to find an integrative medicine doctor - they're the only ones I've found who know anything about all of this and will treat it properly. If you go to, you can find a list of practitioners in your area. Scroll over "health resources" near the top of the page and there's a link you can click on. A surprising number will take Medicare. I purposely do not have a Medicare advantage plan because most won't take an HMO, but many will take straight Medicare. It's worth it to me to pay the co-pay to have a doctor who knows something about CFS.

    I agree, you don't want to be taking a steroid like Florinef.

    One more thing you can try, which helped me a lot, is find a chiropractor (or other practitioner), who does muscle testing. My chiro many years ago found that my adrenals were quite weak and gave me Drenatrophin PMG by Standard Process, an adrenal glandular product. Jam takes one from a different company. Anyways, this helped my weak adrenals a lot. But I ended up having to take Seriphos as well. If you go to the Standard Process website, call their customer service and they will give you the names of practitioenrs who use their products (and generally do muscle testing) in your area. Mine helped me so much, I would have been lost without him. and overall is much cheaper than traditional medicine.

    Licorice can help, although it can raise blood pressure so you need to monitor it. I have no idea how likely it is to raise blood pressure, just something to be aware of. They are so careful about warning about supplements but hand out meds with side effects a mile long and say live with it.

    Wish I could be of more help - it really sounds like you need some professional help and I think it is available, but you will have to some reserach to find it and maybe just step outside the box of traditional medicine. But cortisol is defintely an issue for you as you can see. Also, dealing with stress- e.g., meditation, minimize or cut out sugar and caffeine, whatever you can do to minimize stress will help. Also, pantothenic acid is crucial for adrenal health - I take an extra 500 mg. a day, in addition to a good B complex.

    There are herbs that can helps support the adrenals as well - Siberian gingseng, ashwaganda and rhodiola.

    One fabulous benefit of a competent person who does muscle testing is that they can test all your supplements and herbs etc. and see if they are what your body needs, in addition to helping to determine what the heck is going on.

    You can do on-line research as well -- it's extremely important to educate ourselves.

    Best wishes,

  7. I can't thank all of you enough for the great info...

    Jam, I used to take some adrenal support supps (can't remember which one)... and I don't remember now why I stopped taking them... prob because one of the docs I went to along the way told me to stop. But I def think I need to be taking some type of adrenal support. Thanks for the suggestions! I will look into those.

    Outofstep, I have never heard of Alluna but I will def check it out. Thanks so much for your help!

    Mary, I can't thank you enough for all the great info! I agree that integrative medicine docs are what we need. That's why I don't have a local doc right now. There is only one in my town (I checked the acam site to be sure, thanks!) But unfortunately I had a bad experience there a couple of years ago and am afraid to go back. So I'm not quite sure what to do at this point. I really need someone in town who knows about our conditions. Seems like an impossible situation....

    I will look into the chiropractor route. I did try a chiropractor a few years ago who offered his own food base supplements, but it was so expensive, I couldn't afford to continue. But its def worth looking into again. Thanks so much, Mary! And I have done TONS of research over the years trying to educate myself... my problem is that my brain doesn't retain things like it used to and I am SO forgetful now... its downright scary!

    But thanks again so much for all the wonderful suggestions! You have all been an enormous help to me! God bless each of you!

    Blessings and Gentle Hugs,
    [This Message was Edited on 09/21/2012]