I’ve been absolutely obsessed about putting this insomnia puzzle together and recently I’ve discovered a huge clue to solving this entire riddle – low stomach acid, aka hypochloridia. It appears that low stomach acid can be a main culprit behind a number of health issues like adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities, sluggish liver and of course those soul crushing sleepless nights.
In my case it probably all started with stress and H-Pylori infection but I’m not 100% sure because this could be the “chicken or egg first?” situation. I’ve shared my struggles with H Pylory and the natural cure in my other blog post. One thing that I’m certain of is that behind both the H Pylori and Low Stomach Acid hides the beast called stress. In my case it was low grade, extended, hardly noticeable stress that accompanied me for years over years.
The Stress, Nervous System and Digestion Connection
Many people are fine dealing with sporadic stress; our CNS is designed to cope with this. Problem is, there are certain body types like mine (think Vata in Ayurveda who are tall, slender, quick on their feet, always in a hurry, and easily excitable) to whom extended low grade stress will slowly wreak havoc on the nervous system. Certain gene mutations like COMT are said to also contribute to dominance of sympathetic nervous system. This type of person [continue reading…]
I’ve noticed this a couple of years ago and can not deny it – regular, OTC pain relievers and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen [Advil, Motrin, and Nurofen] and acetaminophen/paracetamol [Tylenol] (aka NSAIDs) help me achieve deep and more refreshing sleep.
Could ibuprofen and acetaminophen effect GABA receptors? Could this have something to do with desensitizing the signals from a week vagus nerve? And is it possible that these meds desensitize the brain from the stimulating action of excess of histamine and glutamine?
One obvious reason that anti-inflammatories could help one sleep is by reducing pain but I’m not in pain. So what’s up with all that?!
Science is Clueless?
What does science actually have to say about the mechanism behind Tylenol’s action? After some digging I’m stunned: [continue reading…]
What separates a serious insomniac from a hobbyist? A serious insomniac wakes up in the morning (granted he slept at all) and is already anxious about the coming evening when he’ll be lying in bed wondering whether this is going to be the night where he’ll finally get some shut-eye. This is not a joke.
Most of us invest quite a bit of anxiety in this process. Anything we do, eat and engage in is a calculated move to maximize our sleep the following night. Longing for sleep is a totally consuming process; it’s an obsession we secretly hide throughout the day.
In fact, I’m so determined to find the root cause of my insomnia that sometimes I wonder how much worse I’m making everything by investing so much energy in resisting my reality. After much pondering and learning more about the nature of our minds I’m now thoroughly convinced – what we resist, persists.
Guided by this universal law, can we make a logical leap that the easiest way to fall asleep is to actually try NOT to sleep?
A while back, during my QiGong practice I decided to take a radical turn and accept my plight. Instead of constantly worrying about insomnia I am [continue reading…]
Discovering that an anti-histamine can help me sleep better was literally a wake up call. What was most interesting is that the anti-histamine I took was the non-drowsy type. It was a regular, ‘new generation’ Cetirizine (Zyrtec). How come a non-drowsy anti-histamine was helping me sleep longer and wake up more refreshed? I had to dig deep and find some answers. I further experimented with three more anti-histamines and discovered the best and worst type for me.
Histamine and Sleep Relationship
Before we delve any deeper we have to understand what role histamine plays in our sleep. Sleep is a complex process that involves numerous neurotransmitters. Among them Histamine is considered a “master” wakefulness-promoting neurotransmitter, exhibiting high activity during waking hours, decreasing in activity during the non-REM sleep, and is at its lowest during REM sleep. It is safe to say that histamine acts a stimulant.
Next question is what controls histamine levels in circulation and what controls histamine levels at night? This gets very complicated but if I had to simplify this into a short theory it would be like this: there is a gate-keeper in our brain (thalamus) which controls the release of histamine necessary for our normal sleep/wake cycle. The released histamine does its job and is subsequently broken down (methylated) by our liver. During sleep time the gate-keeper should be signaling for low histamine levels to allow our brains [continue reading…]
Over the years I’ve tried to fix my leaky gut, dislodge pathogens, improve digestion, correct methylation and balance neurotransmitters for better sleep. In the process, I had to experiment with a ton of supplements and most of the time had negative reactions. This is a list of the particularly bad boys that caused wacky, mysterious, paradoxical reactions.
Interestingly, every single one of these are reported to help sleep in one way or another but not for me. I’ll update this list as I go along on my quest to recovery. If you see a link then I’ve either written about it or created a video.
Glycine – initial experience was good: felt rather relaxed, a bit tired (not fatigued) but eventually worsened my insomnia. I learned later that glycine can actually make things much worse. Being attractive as a GABA precursor it can rapidly turn nasty in ceratin people and convert to Glutamate – a neuroexcitatory neurotransmitter.
L-Glutamine – this one a real devil. First, I felt very relaxed from it but then a day later very alert at night, slight buzzing sound in my head. Insomnia was much worse and lasted quite a few nights. Will never touch it [continue reading…]
Ever wonder why some people don’t heal on their own? While the real answer might be a ‘bit’ more complex than I’m about to render here but in short – this happens when they don’t have the fuel to fire their engines.
Our bodies are way more complex than we’re willing to admit. No amount of 5HTP or B vitamins will ever address our issues in a holistic and synergistic way that our bodies will ‘understand.’ But give the body energy and it will intelligently find ways to channel it into correct organ system in a balanced and most importantly – sustainable way.
QiGong is a very simple practice you can do to improve your health even if you’re exhausted from insomnia. The type I do requires very little physical effort. It builds you up from ground up and awakens your body’s inherent healing wisdom, aka inner teacher. It takes care of all those aspects that we’re not able to deal with our [continue reading…]
After spending a ton of money with a few Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consultants and not getting very far I decided to consult with some heavy weight, prominent online guy. Half a year ago I purchased an online consultation with Dr. Joel from drshen.com. I figured he has a huge herbal store and may steer me in the right direction.
After I shared with him all my symptoms he asked a few additional questions that I was happy to answer [continue reading…]
Shamans believe that the best and most effective cure for any illness grows within 100 miles of one’s village. Having used Chinese herbal formulas for years I was skeptical of anything local being as effective but that is until I learned about the medicinal powers of hemp plant and its legal, non-psychoactive extract – cannabidiol, aka CBD.
When I say CBD is like magic I really mean it. Hemp is one of the best researched plants for a variety of ailments but my interest, obviously, is how CBD can affect sleep.
Insomnia has a variety of causes and I believe the main ones are a compromised gut, heart issues, poor methylation, HPA axis dysfunction, and mental stress induced anxiety. Any of these can send your sympathetic nervous system into an overdrive and seriously affect homeostasis – your body’s ability to maintain inner balance. On the other hand, anything that can help restore that balance is worthy of highest [continue reading…]
Do you feel that you take too many supplements? Do you only take the ones you absolutely need? Have you ever made your insomnia worse with supplements? If you’re nodding your head then welcome to my world. In my world – most supplements ruin my sleep even more and cause paradoxical reactions making me feel more poisoned rather than ‘cured.’
I have a mysterious condition that closely resembles adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, dysbiosis and autoimmune issues that leave all doctors scratching their heads. This leaves me to my own devices experimenting with various supplements.
I’ve learned many valuable lessons over the years. Much of it came from other people but most of it comes from my own painful experience. Here is some advice that will hopefully save you a ton of money and sanity.
It Will Work if You Need It
Supplement will only work if you need it. It must address the underlying deficiency which is causing your insomnia or any other health issue. If you are supplementing already ‘normal’ levels it will cause more imbalances. Whatever the effect you will get will be temporary, till your body restores the balance. This is so crucial to ‘get’ because many of us are way over-supplementing with things we don’t need.
The best thing to do before undergoing any supplement regiment is to [continue reading…]
Last week I visited an acupuncturist in a different town. As I far as I could tell he’s the only game in the entire country when it comes to Chinese medicine. After a short evaluation he was very confident that the cause of all my evils is Shen disturbance.
According to the classical explanation – Shen is translated as “spirit” and refers to the spiritual aspect of our being. It embodies consciousness, emotions, and thought. According to TCM: Shen resides in the heart and presides over activities that take place in the mental, spiritual, and creative planes.
The acupuncturist said that when the underlying condition is ‘Shen disturbance’ then treating or tonifying everything else won’t work and cause even more imbalance.
This may answer the question that has haunted me for years: why most supplements have a paradoxical effect and why most TCM tonic herbs help initially but then create more imbalance later.
He said it is true that [continue reading…]