chronic insomnia

by debra
(uk)

hi, i have been suffering from chronic insomnia now for over 8 1/2 years, and suffer from adrenal fatigue, i am now 50 years old. i have started to use the progesterone cream, but not sure if i am using enough. i have also read with interest that i must increase my vitamin d levels, because i think they are low. my oestrogen was checked last june, and the endo said i was going into menopause, but he didnt check my progesterone levels, so how do i know if i am oestrogen dominant? I am i a permanent state of 'overdrive' and the sleep deprivation is spiralling out of control. Also I have never had a sex drive, and suffered serious PMT for 20 years!Can you offer some advice? Many thanks Debra

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Mar 11, 2013
I so feel for you!!
by: Anonymous

I too have had chronic insomnia for the past 4 1/2 years. I was taken off HRT cold turkey after a diagnosis of DCIS stage 0 breast cancer. It was a blessing to find the cancer so soon, however I immediately had insomnia and felt horrible. Every doctor so far has wanted to put me on anti-anxiety meds or anti-depressants all of which made me feel worse. I have taken Ambien and was on Clonazapam for several yrs (that was hell to get off of). I just tried biofeedback and it seemed to help however the insomnia returned with a vengeance. I have said to every doctor it feels like there is a chemical imbalance. Somehow I came on this website and am hopeful that once I get my progesterone levels in check I will get my life back. I hope and pray that you do too!! This is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with (my husband and I own our own business so I've dealt with plenty of difficult situations).!!

Mar 12, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra Progesterone can help insomnia, see here, here and here. It would appear your vitamin D is low too, as that also helps sleep, see here and here. It's typical not to test progesterone levels, and yet the ratio of the two hormones is the critical factor, not the amounts. We've found from Saliva Tests we run that it's best if the ratio is 600:1 and over to feel well. If you've suffered from PMT for so long, it does suggest your progesterone levels have been too low. Your symptoms speak volumes about having Oestrogen Dominance. Oestrogen is an excitatory hormone. It stimulates glutamate, our most excitatory neurotransmitter, see here. It increases free radicals, plus destroying beta-endorphin neurons in the brain, these produce endorphins which promote a feeling of well being and relaxation. Beta-endorphins also appear to boost the immune system, protecting against cancer, see here. This paper says "Although it is widely accepted that exposure to estradiol throughout life contributes to reproductive aging.... Recent evidence ..... of chronic estradiol-mediated accelerated reproductive senescence now suggests such a hypothesis. It has been shown that chronic estradiol exposure results in the destruction of greater than 60% of all beta-endorphin neurons in the arcuate nucleus .....This loss of opioid neurons is prevented by treatment with antioxidants indicating that it results from estradiol-induced formation of free radicals", see here. Whereas progesterone protects against glutamate toxicity, it also increases BDNF (brain-derived neuroptrophic factor) in itself protective, see here and here. Continued below

Mar 12, 2013
chronic insomnia Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Debra If glutamate is too high, it allows calcium, an excitatory mineral, to enter the cells. Progesterone also protects against calcium induced excitotoxicity, see here. This explains the feeling of being in overdrive. It also explains the lack of Libido. I normally recommend 100-200mg/day, but feel you will need at least 200mg/day if not more. If you'd like to chat to someone in the UK, please contact Julienne via her website here. Please have a vitamin D test done. Birmingham Hospital send out test kits for £25, and the results back by email. Please ignore their 'adequate' level it's far too low. Julienne can advise you on this too. Once you've had the test it becomes apparent how much you should take to get levels up high. Take care Wray

Mar 12, 2013
Sleep issues
by: Kim

Adrenal Fatigue in my opinion is basically over stressed nervous system, and also insomnia with the menopause is not good. There are natural herbs you can take to help with the insomnia such as melotonin. Some women do okay with the biodenical hormones, me not so much so I opted to take an antidepressant Remeron to help with the sleep and the adrenal fatigue. That made a huge difference Also lemon balm extract drops helps with the anxiety.

Mar 15, 2013
I so feel for you!!
by: Wray

Hi there It still amazes me they dish out HRT when they know the dangers. You would feel awful going cold turkey too. Please don't use less than 400mg/day, it's not going to touch sides with the cold turkey if you do. And please have a vitamin D test done, a lack of it increases the risk of over 20 different cancers. Take care Wray

Mar 31, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Thank you so much for your replies, not been able to get online for a while to check the web. I have just been to the gp's and have had my Vitamin D levels checked. So will check out all the advice given. Did I say I was in the Oesteopena section as well? So sleep deprived, I am going out of my mind!, my body is anxious -taking Trazadone (again) to try and get some sleep, I have noticed which is very upsetting that in the the last 3 months, not only do I have no muscle mass but I have lost all my breast tissue? Will I get this back?? I need to go back to see the Endo guy but find no help with him.

Apr 01, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra I'm delighted you've already had your vitamin D checked, but please insist they give you the results. All too often they'll tell you it's 'normal'. The NHS has set their adequate level at 50nmol/L, even the FDA have now raised theirs to 75nmol/L. But specialist are now arguing that 125nmol/L should be the minimum level, whereas many say it should be between 175-250nmol/L. Mine is currently 230nmol/L. For more info on vitamin D levels, test kits etc see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and Birmingham Hospital. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml (175-250nmol/L) and not the 30ng/ml (75nmol/L) most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although recent research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Osteopenia is caused by a lack of vitamin D too. If you have lost muscle mass I suggest you take glutamine, from 4000-8000mg/day, the most abundant amino acid in muscle, from which it can derive energy. If you have muscle weakness, then you need progesterone and vitamin D as these reverse it, see here, here and here. This last abstract has nothing on it, so I've pasted a passage from the paper which I bought... 'Substantial relief of myopathic disability by progesterone therapy'.....
(We report about a 41-year old woman who was suffering from a general muscle weakness since her early childhood....From July 1998 until July 1999 the patient was treated with progesterone suppositorium 0.4 g once a day from the 14th to the 25th day of the menstrual cycle. In July 1999 her gait had improved significantly and she could get up from a chair more easily, even her ability to walk up and down stairs had improved....Progesterone dosage was increased from 400 mg to 600 mg. In January 2001 the patient reported enthusiastically about the improvement she had gained from progesterone-therapy. The patient reported a clear increase in strength in all affected muscle groups resulting in dramatic functional improvement.) Continued below

Apr 01, 2013
chronic insomnia Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Debra And vitamin D see here, here and here. I can't guarantee your breast tissue will increase. You could try taking 1/2tsp salt in some warm water before you go to sleep, this often helps particularly if the adrenals are stressed, see here. They need sodium to function normally. Another nutrient you could try is inositol, many have found this can help. You might consider contacting Julienne, she is a registered EFT therapist, a wonderful therapy you might consider doing to help with the sleep issue. Take care Wray

Apr 03, 2013
Insomnia
by: Shirley

PLEASE do a sleep study. You may have sleep apnea as many women develop a flacid palate due to the loss of hormones entering menopause.

Apr 07, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Thanks Wray for your comments and advice, I will email Julienne in the Uk. I have also noticed as well as no breast tissue (this has disappeared in the last 3 months I think to the chronic sleep deprivation), as the hormones get to work whilst your asleep don't they? I stopped using the progesterone cream for a few days and my breast have become very tender? Is this because of Oestrogen dominance or too much progesterone?
I was interested to see one of your links about salt water, as I do have Aldosterone problems, I have very low blood pressure, I was given Fludrocortisone to take, but as it is a steroid I am not happy using it, because I am in the Osteopena section.

I am also hypothyroid (for 11 years) but do not think my thyroid is working correctly as I do have a lot of symptoms, even though they say I am 'normal'!!, the Endo guy has diagnosed me with CFS now after 9 years of seeing him,this I am also not happy with this!!

Thanks for any advice Debra

Apr 08, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra Some hormones peak while we're asleep, others drop. Stopping, starting and increasing progesterone can all cause Oestrogen Dominance. Starting and increasing do so by activating oestrogen, stopping allows oestrogen to rise. I'd be interested in hearing if the salt and water helps you, with both the adrenals and the sleep. Is the hypothyroid self diagnosed, as you say your results come back normal. But this can often be the case I've found. If you are having problems with your thyroid, then it's most probably low vitamin D, this is essential for the thyroid, see here, here, here, here, here and here. So too are tyrosine, iodine and selenium. Many of the symptoms are also those of a progesterone deficiency and excess oestrogen. Strange it's taken 9 years to diagnose you with CFS, the symptoms are hard to miss, fatigue, muscular weakness, exhaustion, anxiety, weakened immune system and joint pains are a few! All point to low progesterone and low vitamin D too. You could consider taking D-ribose as that has helped it, see here. Take care Wray

Apr 08, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Thanks again Wray for your advice.
I was diagnosed Hypothyroid at 39 (11 years ago),with a TSH of 43!!! can you imagine what I must have been like? I have all the symptoms you say plus severe hair loss, depression, not so much muscular pain, as I don't have any muscle mass, although joint pain has just started again.
I am now taking T3 and Erfa Thyroid. I have never felt well on this, and yes I can't believe now after all these years the Endo is saying CFS, this is because I have throbbing gland in the left side of my neck (which I have had since the age of 35). It is not swollen it just hurts.
I will make sure I keep on with the Progesterone therapy, and not stop and start.
I also take your advice about Glutamine, but just wondered if that turns into Glutamate, is that too excitatory for my overactive nervous system? Also does sleep deprivation increase cortisol levels, is that why I'm never sleepy, extremely tired though? Sorry so many questions, but feel like I'm in crisis mode!
Thanks Debra

Apr 10, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra Ah so you were diagnosed hypothryroid, and TSH 43?! The normal range is 0.4 - 4.0 mIU/L, see our page on Hormone Testing. I missed the Trazodone, this is interesting as it inhibits calcium uptake, excess calcium does disturb sleep, see here, here and here. I gave you the paper above on how progesterone prevents calcium induced excitotoxicity. So hopefully once it starts working you won't need this anymore. Please consider taking about 800mg/day magnesium, if you're not already doing so, this opposes calcium and relaxes us. I suspect you're low in this, as a lack causes pain too. If low it allows substance P to rise, this is a noiciceptive neuropeptide causing pain and nausea, see here and here. It's also the most important co-factor for vitamin D. The throbbing gland would I'm sure respond to very large doses of vitamin D! One doctor calls GABA, glutamine and glutamate the brains three musketeers, as they work together. Glutamine is a major source of fuel for the brain and muscle. I've not found people taking it are hyped up at all, I take 4000mg daily. See how it affects you, it is given to people who are bedridden with good affect to prevent muscle depletion. I can't find any evidence that sleep deprivation causes cortisol to increase. But as you are stressed you could have high or low cortisol, both affect us adversely. This is an exceptionally good article here as it explains the consequences of an unbalanced cortisol level. It has a rebound affect on all systems, basically making tissues resistant to the messages of hormones. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Apr 11, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Thanks again Wray for info, I have looked at the Cortisol link, and yes I do think my cortisol level is way to high and has been for a long time. The connection between all the other hormones, especially melatonin. I am never ever sleepy, i am tired but wired-all the time.The sleep deprivation is making my body anxious. I now have zero tolerance to stress.
I have looked at your Stress link too, and am very anxious, have no motivation whatsoever, which may mean my dopamine levels are too low? How can I get high cortisol levels down? It doesn't say in the link, I have probably too low cortisol in the morning because it takes me at least 2 hrs to get going.I would do a 24hr test but because i am on so much prescription medication to sleep the results will be skewed somewhat.
I have had 4 surgeries in 3 years due to the Crohn's Disease, so I'm sure this put extra stress on my body to. My weight did drop to 43kg but have put weight on but no muscle, so I will definitely try the Glutamine. My body is way too stressed! Should i use more progesterone than the 200mg daily to help with this? I also think that I have had thyroid resistance from the start, feeling very ill when put originally on Thyroxine. So many issues!. Once again hope you can advise.

Apr 13, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra I had no idea you had Crohn's disease, a lack of vitamin D....see here, here, here, here, here and here. Glutamine also helps heal the gut, it's the only substance the enterocytes lining the gut can use for healing and repair. They also use it for energy too. Zinc brings cortisol down, see here and here. No motivation does mean low dopamine, but that doesn't surprise me with all the stress you've been through, this drops dopamine. Tyrosine is the precursor amino acid to dopamine, try 500mg/day and work up gradually, too much causes the reverse. But insufficient vitamin D will mean it won't be converted to dopamine. I still believe you have excess glutamate, hence the tired but wired feeling. And of course I covered the thyroid issue, not enough vitamin D. In view of the stress you have I don't think the 200mg/day progesterone is enough, so please increase it. I don't know if you can afford 400mg/day but I feel this would be a better choice. And please get hold of Julienne, I know she can help with the progesterone and vitamin D too, she stocks both. Take care Wray

Apr 21, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Thanks again Wray for the links, I have just got Vit D levels 66nmol? still low? I will get in touch with Julienne uk, and up my progesterone and see if this will help some of my symptoms. I am going 4 days out of 7 without sleep, my body is stuck in permanent overdrive. Besides the glutamine, do you think taurine will help me sleep, I have read it can be energising in some reports? With regards to the tyrosine, i would like to try this bit again concerned that anything will excite my system more than it is (if that's possible), I also think apart from high cortisol, I have been running on adrenaline since getting the Crohn's 8 1/2 years ago.

Apr 22, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra Yes your vitamin D is still low. Not according to the NHS of course! I really feel you should get it up high and keep it there, over 175nmol/L at least. Particularly as you have Crohn's. Taurine is calming, and a potent anxiolytic, although someone has written in recently saying it made her anxious and nervous. I suspect it was because of the dose she was taking 500-1000mg/day. It's always best to start low on aminos, about 250mg/day, and work up gradually, except for glutamine. The same with the tyrosine too, 250mg/day only, working up. Please do get in touch with Julienne, I feel the EFT might help you. Take care Wray

Apr 22, 2013
sleep issues
by: Kim

Debra,

It does sound like your autonomic nervous system is off, One thing I would suggest is Get your Vitamin D check with blood work first, your numbers should be between 50-80, you can find more information about this on mercola.com Also I tried the Bio-denical hormones also and didn't have much luck, so I went with an antidepressant Rememron, very old antidepressant but is very good with sleep,that's the only side-effect you will get with this. But it does tend to make you want to eat so beware and stay away from the carbs. When you mentioned adrenal fatigue I totally understand, I had the saliva test done and it showed adrenal fatigue, hi-cortisol levels which lead me to believe that its severe anxiety and stress. One thing I have done is gone off all dairy and sugar, and gluten and that seemed to lower my anxiety big time. We are all going through a huge change in our lives but we have to look at our life style and see what needs to change. Another thing you may want to consider is working out, I know when we don't feel good it's hard to get moving but I promise you that may be the best thing you can do to your mind and body, besides it stimulates serotonin :), another thing try neurofeedback instead of biofeedback you can check it out on eeginfo.com
Hope this helps
Kim

Apr 27, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Thanks for the advice Kim, try not to have much sugar or dairy, didn't realise that gluten can have such a bad effect on cortisol, how did you get your cortisol levels down? I also force myself to swim 4 times a week, and have done for the past year, this does help to tire me out, but again am never sleepy. I am on the waiting list to see a Neurologist, so interesting to see your link. I hope they can help me! Thanks Debra

Aug 08, 2013
menopause symptoms
by: Anonymous

Hi Wray, I am writing again to ask for some advise. I am still suffering from severe sleep deprivation, I am trying to get my Vit D levels up, more Glutatamine. I am using Progesterone Cream vaginally, and 120mg morning and then evening. I am started to get hot flushes, and my breast are hurting. (I still have no breast tissue-lost that with the extreme sleep deprivation). Should I be using 200mg morning and then 200mg night? I don't want to overdo it? Thanks Debra

Aug 09, 2013
menopause symptoms
by: Wray

Hi Debra Sleep issues affect too many people, although progesterone and vitamin D can help, often there's more behind it. Did you not find the salt helped you? Let me know please, it's helped many others. And did inositol help the sleep? And how did you find the tyrosine, did you try it? And did you get hold of Jules, she might be able to help you with the EFT? How much vitamin D are you taking, about 10,000iu/day I hope, you need to get it up high quickly. Insomnia has been found linked to Insulin Resistance and higher insulin than normal, see here, here
here. Please avoid all sugars and foods which convert to glucose, i.e. all grains, legumes, processed dairy, sweet, starchy fruits and veggies. Maybe you could try the Ketogenic Diet. This reduces glucose to a minimum which in turn reduces insulin levels. Excess glucose not only causes IR, but inflammatory cytokines to increase, which can lead to insomnia, see here. Stress causes insomnia, and of course insomnia stresses us further. This is an excellent although long paper on the subject here. Another study found a lack of GABA, see here. Progesterone activates the GABA receptors which is why it helps sleep. But maybe you could consider taking some GABA, start low with 250mg/day and work up. It can be caused by a lack of magnesium, see here. A lack of magnesium can cause pain, it's the main co-factor for vitamin D too. If you're not taking it please try 800mg/day for a month or two and see if that helps. Continued below

Aug 09, 2013
menopause symptoms Part 2
by: Wray

Hi Debra Nitric oxide is needed for sleep, see here. NO is made by the sun striking our bare skin, there's little sun in the UK, the reason of course most people's vitamin D is so low. NO is also made internally from arginine, this is found chiefly in animal protein. Consider taking about 500mg/day and see if that helps you. I suggest you stick with the amount of progesterone you're using, but put some on your skin too. The vagina absorbs it well, but it tends to get locked up in the uterus. And try those suggestions I've given above rather than increase the progesterone. If you want a suggestion to start with, I'd say the magnesium, or are you already taking it as I have suggested it in previous replies? And please have another vitamin D test done soon, your last appears to have been in April. Take care Wray

Aug 11, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Firstly Wray, I want to thank you for all your links/info and help and guidance it is greatly appreciated.I certainly need it. My insomnia has been out of control for past 8 mths, having devastating effects on my face, my forehead is now skeletal, v upsetting. All the fat has gone from my face. I can feel the muscles 'pulling down 'in forehead/underneath eyebrows Where to start,taking 5000iu Vit D, increased sardines/fish intake, been a good summer in uk, so this will have helped Vit D, but yes need another test, also my last bone profile came back as abnormal, low thyroid (everything is out of balance due to sleep deprivation). I am taking 800mg Magnesium, (tablets/mag oil), this does seem to help calm my nerves, been taking Phostadyl Serine with zinc, having acupuncture too, and this is starting to help.Taking Glutamine, as still have no skeletal muscle or muscle mass, altho put on 3 stone now (high body fat), yes Insulin Resistance?-sleep deprivation can lead to diabetes/thyroid/Leptin maybe? Trying to cut out grains, but I crave bread so much so finding this very hard. Will check out the diet links. I have just had glucose test, because of sugar cravings, get results this week. I am going to try Arginine (maybe this will also help my hair loss/growth hormone? ).The Tyrosine is next on my list,I just wary of trying anything that will energise me, bt again, I need to get some energy/motivation/interest in life! I am spending far too much of my savings, with no help from NHS. I take salt water am and pm, not sure if helping, my blood pressure in a morning can be as low as 73/31 pulse 52 - am I alive?? I did see a private endo, who says I have hypoadrena, and should take Hydrocortisone, this I am a bit wary of again, because I have taken steroids in the past (Crohn's), in Oesteopena, and don't want to make things worse, but want to feel well? As I take prescript meds I no these ca be difficult to withdraw from. Will use Progesterone Cream on skin as well to vary. Also taking Iron, Ferritin low at 30. x

Aug 11, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra Please have a vitamin D test done, you are not taking enough. 5000iu per day is a maintenance dose, it raises levels very slowly if at all. Particularly if inflammation is present and you will have a great deal because you're stressed. You will not be getting much from the sun, unless you sunbathe daily at midday for 20mins with only a swimsuit on. You should really be on high dose antioxidants too. Pleased you're on such a good magnesium dose, the other supps will help too. If you crave bread it's evident you do have IR. Please get hold of Julienne, she can tell you about a complex we make which helps IR. You must stop eating carbs, the complex should help you. Try to incorporate more fat and protein in your diet, I did suggest you follow the Ketogenic Diet. The Keto Diet reduces glucose levels to the barest minimum, and the body uses ketones for energy. It's a very high fat, moderate to low protein and very low carb diet. Only the good fats should be used, i.e. MCT oil, coconut oil, butter, olive oil or macadamia oil. The first three are saturated fats, the other two mono-unsaturated fats. The best is the MCT oil, an extract from coconut oil. The body converts the fatty acid into ketones, in fact the brain does better on these than glucose. MCT oil forms ketones more efficiently than the other oils. The diet varies from a 4:1 ratio of fat to protein/carb down to a 1:1 ratio which is the easier to follow. It's also essential to eat enough protein. This is based on 0.9g to 1.0g of protein per kg per day of lean muscle mass. Contrary to what is generally believed a lack of protein leads to bone loss. Julienne also does EFT, I did suggest you try this to help, as you are in a vicious cycle over the sleep and you need to break it. The EFT will help do this, please contact her, please! She will also listen to you too, she's a very sympathetic person. Take care Wray

Aug 18, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Right, I have upped my Vitamin D to 10000 a day, trying to get an appointment at docs to check levels again/bone profile. Looked into the Keto diet, and yes I need to stop all the grains, have cut out wheat, it is just oats/rye now!. Just wanted to check will i be ok with all the high fat, with my thyroid problems? Will I metabolise them? I take Vit c and have been eating summer berries for antioxidant, but fruit not good for keto? I will get in touch with Julienne,and will let you know. Thank you so much.

Aug 21, 2013
chronic insomnia
by: Wray

Hi Debra Pleased you've upped your vitamin D dose, but why not send off for a test kit from Birmingham Hospital, they're only £25 and the results come back by email. So much quicker than going to your doctor! The Keto Diet will make it far easier to stop eating the grains. You'll find there's no need to 'give them up', which is always so difficult. And yes the diet is safe no matter what's wrong. They give it to very small children to stop epilepsy, and it's now being used to cure cancer too, see here, here, her, here, here, here, here. here here, here, here and here. Fruit isn't good for keto, berries are not too bad, apples too. But they do contain easily digestible carbs. Have a look through that site I gave you previously, he gives a list of allowable foods. I'm sure you'll find Jules a great support. Take care Wray

Oct 01, 2013
results
by: natalie

Hi Wray,

I have been reading many of your responses to people and you certainly seem very knowledgeable about hormones. I am trying to get to the source of my chronic insomnia which I have suffered for 3 and half years. Cortisol levels were quite high but they are now returning to normal after taking seriphos for many months. My insomnia during pregnancy for twins was crazy. I went from sleeping 9 hours a night every night to 2 to 3 hours only in the morning. It abated completely the night after I gave birth. But a year later started again and this has never ceased. My results were oest 529pmol and prog 39 nmol. On the calcs you have provided I am nowhere near the ratio you have suggested. Can you confirm my calcs are correct.

Oct 03, 2013
results
by: Wray

Hi Natalie Thanks for the kind words, I try! High cortisol at night will of course cause havoc with your sleeping. And yet you say levels are returning to normal now. But have they checked your evening cortisol levels recently, as there seems to be a rise at that point in insomniacs. Seriphos is excellent, but zinc can lower it too and much cheaper, see here and here. I wonder now if your oestrogen has risen too high, and this is causing the insomnia. Interestingly oestrogen suppresses zinc. What happened a year after the birth, did you stop breast feeding? I've found this can upset things hugely. Or did you have added Stress at the time? I seem to always blame oestrogen, but with good reason! One adverse affect it has is it stimulates glutamate. This is our most excitatory neurotransmitter, see here. Oestrogen also destroys beta-endorphin neurons in the brain, these produce endorphins which promote a feeling of well being and relaxation. And it increases free radicals, see here. The paper says "This loss of opioid neurons is prevented by treatment with antioxidants indicating that it results from estradiol-induced formation of free radicals". Insomnia has been linked to inflammation, the end result of excess free radicals, see here. Progesterone protects against glutamate toxicity, it also increases BDNF (brain-derived neuroptrophic factor) in itself protective, see here and here. If glutamate is too high, it allows calcium, an excitatory mineral, to enter the cells. This only makes matters worse, see here, here and here. Progesterone also protects against calcium induced excitotoxicity, see here. Continued below

Oct 03, 2013
results
by: Wray

Hi Natalie Thanks for the kind words, I try! High cortisol at night will of course cause havoc with your sleeping. And yet you say levels are returning to normal now. But have they checked your evening cortisol levels recently, as there seems to be a rise at that point in insomniacs. Seriphos is excellent, but zinc can lower it too and much cheaper, see here and here. I wonder now if your oestrogen has risen too high, and this is causing the insomnia. Interestingly oestrogen suppresses zinc. What happened a year after the birth, did you stop breast feeding? I've found this can upset things hugely. Or did you have added Stress at the time? I seem to always blame oestrogen, but with good reason! One adverse affect it has is it stimulates glutamate. This is our most excitatory neurotransmitter, see here. Oestrogen also destroys beta-endorphin neurons in the brain, these produce endorphins which promote a feeling of well being and relaxation. And it increases free radicals, see here. The paper says "This loss of opioid neurons is prevented by treatment with antioxidants indicating that it results from estradiol-induced formation of free radicals". Insomnia has been linked to inflammation, the end result of excess free radicals, see here. Progesterone protects against glutamate toxicity, it also increases BDNF (brain-derived neuroptrophic factor) in itself protective, see here and here. If glutamate is too high, it allows calcium, an excitatory mineral, to enter the cells. This only makes matters worse, see here, here and here. Progesterone also protects against calcium induced excitotoxicity, see here. Continued below

Oct 03, 2013
results part 2
by: Wray

Hi Natalie High glutamate will have a similar affect to high cortisol, making one wired and tense, it will be impossible to sleep with a brain firing at far too rapid a rate. And if calcium is high this would imply magnesium is low, it certainly helps relax us. Your ratio certainly suggests high oestrogen might be the cause, it's 73:1. And yes we've found from Saliva Tests that the ratios rise to 600:1 and over. Some women might find relief at a lower ratio, but I know this works which is why I recommend aiming for it. Or it could be your dopamine is too low. Stress depletes dopamine, leading to depression and a rise in cortisol and prolactin, the amino acid tyrosine reverses this. Although a non-essential amino acid, tyrosine is one of the most important. It's the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine, and the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. It's also the precursor to the two thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), plus melanin, the pigment found in hair and skin. It's part of the enkephalin peptide involved in regulating and reducing pain, and increasing pleasure. Tyrosine is essential for any stressful situation, cold, fatigue, emotional trauma, prolonged work, sleep deprivation, it improves memory, cognition and physical performance. Could it be you need tyrosine? But the rate limiting step in dopamine synthesis is the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase. Insufficient levels of vitamin D inhibit tyrosine hydroxylase, resulting in a disturbance in the dopamine pathway. The dopamine pathway requires the progesterone receptor. There appears to be evidence that dopamine is involved in regulating the sleep–wake cycle, see here. High levels of dopamine will also disturb it. There is also other evidence that adenosine is involved in the sleep/wake cycle, see here, here, here, here. High neuronal activity increases levels of adenosine, which then promotes sleep. But if neuronal activity was stuck in the on position, i.e. something was over riding the adenosine, or it's effect, insomnia would result. Could it be oestrogen, as progesterone increases levels of adenosine, see here. Continued below

Oct 03, 2013
results Part 3
by: Wray

Hi Natalie One interesting fact, and of possible significance, more women get insomnia than men. We make far more oestrogen than they do. Or maybe you lack nitric oxide, also essential for sleep, see here. It is made endogenously, but a major source is the direct affect the sun has on our skin. The action of sunlight triggers the release of NO which is then absorbed through the skin. Do you get enough sun? Or do you have Insulin Resistance? This is also associated with insomnia, see here. Any stress stresses the adrenals. These need sodium to function normally, so a lack of salt can cause insomnia, see here. It's a long article, but if you put 'salt' into 'find' you'll pick up the passages where salt is mentioned. This is an excellent, albeit long paper on sleep, it states "In insomnia, which is a very common sleep disorder, objective sleep measures, EEG activity, physiologic findings, HPA axis activity and inflammation markers suggest that it is not a state of sleep loss, but a disorder of hyperarousal present both during the night and the daytime." Which fits all the above that I've mentioned, the emphasis being on 'hyperarousal', see here. So if you think any of the above fits, or want to try the nutrients, I suggest you first have a vitamin D test done to find your level and to determine how much to take to bring it up if low. The most important cofactor for vitamin D is magnesium, a low level affects the efficacy of vitamin D. But a low level of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone, circles within circles. Magnesium relaxes, it helps sleep too, see here, but above all a lack of vitamin D itself can cause insomnia, see here and here. Progesterone helps sleep too, it also helps relax and calm us, see here. So is it still high cortisol in the evening, or high oestrogen, low progesterone, low vitamin D, low magnesium, low tyrosine, low dopamine/high dopamine, low sodium, a lack of antioxidants, low NO, low adenosine, IR, all of these or none of these? It's like looking for a needle in a hay stack, which one of the above could it be, if any, or maybe a bit of all! Take care Wray

Feb 02, 2014
chronic insomnia
by: debra

Hi Wray, I have just been going over all your advice you have given me. I am still if not worse than ever.Since writing last time, i came off Trazadone which wasn't working-had severe craving for salt 6 teaspoons when stopping, then tried Mirtazapine - this did not work for me, in fact made me anxious. I have gone 2 weeks at a time without any deep sleep. My face is in constant pain, forehead skeletal,my skin is thin, my eyes hollow, the skin on eyelids is so thin (what can I do ?). I also now realise why so bad, suffering rebound insomnia on top of insomnia. My whole body is just fat, still no breast tissue. So a utter mess.
Just had Oestradal test done, Endo says in 2012 going into menopause - 65 p/mol (2011 - 93 p/mol), now Oct 2013 -213 pm/mol. He says possibly pre-menopausal still-ovaries not stopped completely (told him no period for 2 years-maybe down to operations and age of course), or he says could be down to medication I am taking?.He will not take my progesterone, saying only if for women ovulating/taking hrt, He is not interested in balancing my hormones, just seeing if in range. Testosterone -march 2010 - 0.5 nmol (0 - 2.8).
I am using about 120mg morning and night progesterone, my breasts are tender, mammogram showed cysts, no tissue.
I have stopped exercising as my body burning muscle for energy.
SHBG high. I have just asked him to check glucose intolerance (for IR) and my growth hormone IGF-1. He must realise this will be low, but it's like pulling teeth to get any help. My 9am cortisol (not fasting) 358 - said ok, no range given but said fine. DHEA 1.4 (1-7). I am taking Gaba now as well as zinc magnesium and seriphos (I was doing ok on seriphos until I tapered off trazadone).
I also doing well on cutting glucose, but when on mirtaz, rapid weight gain and cravings again. I am getting 1 1/2 hrs sleep a night if lucky, and upset that I ruined my face in one year alone, and as you can imagine can't function and mood absolutely terrible. It takes only one thing to be out, and sleep is undervalued
and not taken seriously by the NHS.

Feb 02, 2014
chronic insomnia
by: debra

also Wray, my Prolactin levels 283 m/IU (normal 70-538).

Thank you debra

Feb 08, 2014
Chronic Insomia 2
by: Anonymous

Chronic insomnia for approximately 8 months counting. Due to Depression/sleeping pills which I could have/should have avoided. Taking trazodone and it stopped working and went cold turkey. Lost weight in addition to have dyphia and achalasis. Lacking a lot of nutrients. Doctors don't help and now I could not sleep and lately I think I get 1/2 hr of sleep. Not sure. It awful because it has changed me and I'm not the same. Afraid of driving and doing things because of the chronic insomnia. Need to get it together. I see it's just not the lack of sleep along - I need the vitamins etc. Chronic insomnia for 7-8 months now and counting. Please help?

Feb 14, 2014
chronic insomnia
by: Anonymous

I feel your pain. I am suffering extreme sleep deprivation too, but Trazadone is a bad one to come off and definitely not cold turkey, you will be having rebound insomnia. Read Wray's advice above for things to try, everyone is different.
Wray - I'm not sire if read my above post, but as my testosterone and dhea are low and barely in range, would you recommend I take Pregnanaine Cream or DHEA Cream to try and improve my situation? Especially with the insomnia problem?
Many thanks for your advice. Still using Progesterone.

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