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Functional medicine- advice needed for insomnia

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#26 littleboysmum

Posted 05 July 2019 - 07:29 PM

Spr_maiden can I ask what it is? I’m desperate to try anything.
I am h der the care of two doctors but they just say it’s psychological and don’t want to delve any further. I know something isn’t right as I was a totally normal functioning human being until this happened. I wish I knew what was going on. I’ve tried going to the hospital but was turned away. My medication isn’t working but the doctor won’t change it. It’s all a great big mess!

#27 Rosepickles

Posted 05 July 2019 - 07:35 PM

Hi OP,

I've been there and I'm so sorry you're there. It is the worst thing I've ever been through. I tried a lot of things with no success - I took 3 Temazepam one night and stayed awake the whole night. I lived like this - with bad and really bad periods - for about 5 years.

I eventually went to a psychologist and that has changed my life. I had to get to the point that I was willing to be very open with her an open to the experience. There wasn't any one great thing that I had to get over, but several things that I needed to think about differently. Now, sometimes I will have a bad night, particularly if i'm in an unfamiliar environment, but I cope so much better because I know I can sleep. I only have these every few months now.

I just really wanted to offer hope; that you can get there and it can be so much better.

All the very best OP.

#28 purplekitty

Posted 05 July 2019 - 07:40 PM

View Postlittleboysmum, on 05 July 2019 - 07:29 PM, said:

Spr_maiden can I ask what it is? I’m desperate to try anything.
I am h der the care of two doctors but they just say it’s psychological and don’t want to delve any further. I know something isn’t right as I was a totally normal functioning human being until this happened. I wish I knew what was going on. I’ve tried going to the hospital but was turned away. My medication isn’t working but the doctor won’t change it. It’s all a great big mess!
Have they referred you to a psychologist and psychiatrist for an opinion ?

They should,you can't go on without sleep.
It is torture.

#29 spr_maiden

Posted 05 July 2019 - 07:41 PM

I've only been on it for a few weeks but it has been helping me with sleep.  It is not a bulletproof, knock you out like some meds however.  More like in combination with good sleep hygiene my sleep quality is improving over time.  Even if it's just one really decent sleep cycle in a night on some nights, that is better.

eta: tbc, this is helping me and I think with time it will build in consistency iykwim. I don't have chronic severe insomnia like yourself, so I am trying to temper your expectations and I am not a professional so this is something you can look into and hopefully it could help?!

Edited by spr_maiden, 05 July 2019 - 07:48 PM.

#30 spr_maiden

Posted 05 July 2019 - 07:45 PM

A psychologist also helped me with change in mindset, and meditating instead of sleeping when awake for hours in the early hours.

I really feel for you OP.  You are being let down by your DRs big time if that is all they are offering you.

#31 Kabu84

Posted 05 July 2019 - 07:46 PM

This might sound like a long shot but...

I have autoimmune disease. I struggle with all sorts of strange and annoying symptoms that my gp has not been able to do a lot for. These include fatigue, anxiety, irritable bowel, nausea, leg swelling, heart palpitations, migraines, thyroid problems. I am someone who just can't settle with being 'sort of a bit better but not really'. I also am someone who will do anything even if it is extreme because I can't stand the feeling of not being well all the time.

I read a book called  'The Wahls Protocol' by a doctor (Terry Wahls) who has an autoimmune disease (Multiple Sclerosis). She was a medical doctor/professor who states she used to not believe in anything diet/lifestyle related for her condition or those of her patients. She has reversed her MS symptoms and no longer needs a wheelchair. She has now completely converted over to functional medicine. She says her protocol (diet and exercise) can help anyone with autoimmune disease. If you google her you will see her TedX talk which is amazing. Her research has not been dismissed as 'quackery' - she has received millions of funding from the US National MS society.
In desperation I read her book and tried the protocol, and for weeks everything has been improving.
Even issues I didn't realise I had because I had just become so used to them have gone. My sleep used to be so disrupted which I thought was from anxiety. My sleep has improved significantly in that I sleep deeper and with less wake-ups.

For the first week or so on this diet I felt worse than ever. After that things have continued to get better and better.

I just thought I would put this out there while you're looking into options.

Edited by Kabu84, 05 July 2019 - 07:47 PM.

#32 purplekitty

Posted 05 July 2019 - 07:56 PM

Wahl's is definitely still controversial.

#33 lizzzard

Posted 05 July 2019 - 08:26 PM

I would also encourage seeking help from a psychologist. Have you tried that OP?

#34 petal71

Posted 05 July 2019 - 08:27 PM

I have had very severe insomnia also, and I've had about a 75% improvement. I did go to a functional med dr who worked out the issue, but the solution was actually found by a gynaecologist who is open to more alternative approaches. Over a few years we worked out that I had v high estrogen levels mid cycle and prior to my period. This was from obvious symptoms like fertile mucous, breast sensitivity etc. Also confirmed by salivary and blood tests - my E2 levels were 2-3x that expected. As I entered perimenopause, these peaks became higher and longer lasting as my body tries to ovulate but the corpus luteum produces inadequate progesterone. I also have a mild liver disorder so possibly the E2 is not being metabolised properly either.
Interestingly, my insomnia was incredibly bad during pregnancy (v high levels of E2) and during IVF (same). During breastfeeding I slept brilliantly (completely different, low E2 and low P4 profile).
What worked for me was taking micronized progesterone (prometrium) - only available in Australia the last few years from day5 to my period (my cycles are only 18-25 days these days), plus when E2 levels at their highest I supplement with DIM, which helps E2 breakdown. In winter, this reduces my insomnia to just 3-4 nights per month of not getting to sleep before 1-2 am, whereas it used to be about 2 weeks of the month. In summer it's harder as heat seems to compound everything. I should probably up my prometrium dose but I usually ride it out - I worry about becoming tolerant to it and it is already about $45 per month.
Worth investigating if you haven't already...

Edited by petal71, 05 July 2019 - 08:32 PM.

#35 Ivy Ivy

Posted 05 July 2019 - 08:28 PM

I have no idea what a functional GP is.

My suggestions would include:

Definitely do a sleep study, and see a psychologist and psychiatrist.
Definitely ensure sleep hygeine rules are STRICTLY followed, including exercise daily, and in the hours before bed: no screens, caffeine, exciting movies or TV shows or novels, and at night have warm milk, a warm bath, do a boring activity eg knitting or reading a textbook, etc.

Then trial and error of any and all meds under medical supervision, one by one in increasing doses - e.g. melatonin up to 10mg/night, benzodiazepines like diazepam or temazepam (these are addictive), Belsomra (new sleep med), zopliclone or zolpidem if you want but be careful of side effects, low doses of sedative antidepressants like amitriptyline or mirtazepine, low dose antipsychotics like olanzapine or quetiapine.   All these last 4 will be sedative and additionally have the benefit of lowering any anxiety (everyone with insomnia is anxious, even if only about not being able to get to sleep).

Also, separately but concurrently, investigate and treat the actual cause of the insomnia.

In the olden days everyone was obsessed with regular bowel movements, daily exercise (Jane Austen's heroines have a daily constitutional walk), how well they slept, and had a simple whole foods diet.  These are the basics of good health and we have in our modern world strayed far from them.  (A family member just saw a gastroenterologist who said we should all be having regular daily bowel movements, for instance.  I didn't even know this, but I bet my grandmother did.)

#36 Soontobegran

Posted 05 July 2019 - 09:50 PM

View Postatthebeach, on 05 July 2019 - 07:16 PM, said:

?? what i wrote is things that work for us. i know magnesium is absorbed dermally because i see effects, for example one child has magnesium baths to relieve constipation. and it is really really obvious that the bath works for that.  so my question to you would be where is the data that magnesium is not absorbed dermally? and in the end, are you suggesting topical application of magnesium is potentially harmful? i highly doubt it is, so what is there to lose for chronic insomnia where the op has tried a lot of options. magnesium is an essential mineral.

Topical Magnesium finds it difficult to penetrate the skin to find the blood vessels for it to be absorbed systemically.

I am glad it helps you and yours but it is thought to be largely due to the placebo effect.....which of course is a bonus.


Edited by Soontobegran, 05 July 2019 - 09:56 PM.

#37 Odd-1-Out

Posted 05 July 2019 - 10:05 PM

Hi OP I have terrible insomnia, the only thing that has helped me is seroquel.

#38 littleboysmum

Posted 06 July 2019 - 08:01 AM

I have been referred to a psychologist and psychiatrist. I have actually looked into the Wahls protocol but it looks so restrictive and I’m so tired I didn’t know if I could manage it. But maybe I need to look again.

#39 littleboysmum

Posted 06 July 2019 - 08:11 AM

Thank you ivy ivy, I appreciate your detailed list of things tobtry and will look into all of it.

#40 Whattothink

Posted 06 July 2019 - 09:40 AM

Someone once told me about a product their husband used - it’s called Nightmare- weird name!
He does shift work and she said it was amazing for him!
It’s a sports supplement thing.

#41 littleboysmum

Posted 06 July 2019 - 12:17 PM

Thanks what to think. Thank you everybody, I am so appreciating some different suggestions. It helps me have a bit more hope.

#42 JJ

Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:10 PM

Strange question, but is it at all possible that you have ADHD? That might be another avenue to explore when you're seeing the psychiatrist. I have ADHD inattentive type, which wasn't diagnosed until my mid 30s. My sleep had always been terrible since childhood, despite trying All The Things. I found most doctors and psychologists didn't know how to help, though not for lack of trying. My brain would just not shut down at night. It doesn't know how to. Even though I was warned that they might make it worse, it got a lot better once I started taking stimulant medication... it was actually the first time in my life I consistently slept well. Unfortunately I can no longer take the meds and my sleep is terrible once again. I just have to live with it for the time being, but at least I now know why it is happening.

Edited by JJ, 11 July 2019 - 10:12 PM.

#43 MsLaurie

Posted 29 July 2019 - 04:26 PM

Have you seen a neurologist? Maybe ask your GP for a referral? Sleep is so important for brain health.

#44 Ozquoll

Posted 29 July 2019 - 05:10 PM

Trying to think creatively about this, as I’m sure you’ve tried most of the medical approaches - have you tried some ‘circuit-breaker’ type activities to shock your body out of its routine insomnia? I’m thinking stuff like maybe going sky-diving, or attending a rock concert and dancing the night away, or getting really drunk, like first-week-of-uni drunk (obviously this one is not meant to be repeated regularly!). Any activity that you don’t normally do that might make your brain go “Whoa, what’s happening?”

#45 Dadto2

Posted 29 July 2019 - 05:41 PM

View Postlittleboysmum, on 05 July 2019 - 06:11 PM, said:

I’ve tried restavit, I’ve tried hypnotherapy, I’ve tried 2 different antidepressants, acupuncture, CBT and insomnia clinic, temazapam and stillnox. All to no avail. I think I’m coming to the conclusion that there really isn’t any help left for me. It’s a fairly scary prospect. Thank you everyone for your suggestions, they are appreciated more than you could ever know.

What dose restavit?

#46 limakilo

Posted 29 July 2019 - 11:01 PM

OP, what happens for you? Is it that you are in pain, if so where?
Or are you twitchy, or are you thinking?
How is your breathing?
Have you had all your hormone and vitamin levels checked?
Do you fall asleep anywhere else or at a time other than night?

Have you had a solid time apart from your children without any responsibility?
What is your bedtime routine and what happens when you can't sleep?

Just trying to think about anything that will help.

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