T Nation

Having Problems Sleeping. Advice?


#1

Hello all.

Sorry in advance for the lack of an avatar, it's not letting me upload...

Anyway, like the subject says, I would very much appreciate some advice from the knowledgable among you. In short, I don't (can't) sleep well. I haven't been able to my whole life. My childhood was filled with visits to doctors, therapists, hypnotists... nothing helps.

I've taken, in desperation, 3 times the recommended dose of tamazepam (sp?) and still woken up a mere 4 hours later. I use an eye mask, ear plugs, blackout blinds, adjust my bedding and bedclothes to the ambient temperature, practice meditation - it all makes little difference.

Z-12, bless it, helps, but even when I take 3 on a completely empty stomach I don't exactly have a restful night. Last night I took 3 at 10, and woke up at 11, 2 and 5:50, each time staying awake for quite a while, before getting up at 7:30. The opinion held by the doctors I've seen is that it's physiological and there's pretty much nothing I can do about it.

So: If anyone does know of something I might be missing, that would be wonderful, but I'm posting firstly in order to get advice as to which supplements I might take to counteract this lack of sleep. After the powerlifters at my gym saw I was the only other guy there squatting, I was taken under their wing and I now have my first competition on June 21st, with another lined up on December 12th.

Money isn't that much of an object - I've absolutely fallen in love with the art of moving heavy things and I want to do all I can outside the gym to enable myself to do the best I can in it.

What should I be taking? TRIBEX? BCAAs through the day? Mad quantities of zinc? What?

Thank you all in advance,

Jon


#2

What's your diet like? Stress levels on a daily basis? My mom is the same way, and I use to be like that to an extent. However, I cleaned up my diet, I time-carbs, and literally I don't have any of the old symptoms/problems.


#3

Diet is as per Precision Nutrition, or as close as I can get it - I do have to rely on shakes a little too heavily, as I don't have much time to eat during the day. Nutrient wise, I get plenty of protein, healthy fats and veggies and I don't eat junk food at all. I do time my carbs, but I can only train in the evening and I'm a total ectomorph which makes it a bit tricky.

My life is about as stress free as I can make it. I love my job, I'm with the woman of my dreams, I live well within my finances... stress has never seemed to be the cause. I slept as badly during exam time at Uni as I did at every other time!


#4

Supplements that I'd try:

Z-12 (which your doing)
ZMA
Melatonin
L-Tryptophan

If you cant' sleep for long periods, you gotta try and get the best QUALITY of sleep while your asleep. These will help with that.

Stay away from any/all caffeine too. That might have a prolonged effect on your body.

If your with the woman of your dreams, have sex before sleeping. Make sure it's good blood pumping, hip thrusting sex too. lol

I wouldn't say this is a permanent fix; but try having a glass of wine at night.


#5

Have you tried meditation? A lot of people have sleep problems because their minds won't shut up, they can't stop thinking. Meditation is a practice of concentration, focusing on breathing or a word, etc. When your mind begins to drift back into thought you simply take it back to your breathing. Eventually you will have control of your thinking rather than your thinking controlling you. Not only will you sleep much better, but your quality of life will be enhanced in many ways.

If you rely on supplements/medication you most likely will forever. Once your body becomes tolerant to one medication, it'll be time to find the next one.


#6

Just ordered some ZMA and melatonin. So thank you for that! Z-12 already has 5-HTP in it, I believe.

I have read quite widely that it's not a good idea to take 5-HTP with vitamin B6.. does melatonin + ZMA one night, Z-12 the next sound viable?

And yes, I will reluctantly cut out caffeine. I know that it has a half-life of 14 hours, but for some reason, no doubt simply habit, I haven't acted on that information.

Thank you again.


#7

a simple "you rock" would have sufficed, but your welcome. :slight_smile:


#8

Try using a herbal product called Nytol and some earplugs. Avoid the TV, computer, etc, at least an hour before bed. I've never slept as well.


#9

Umm... yeah. Like I said in my original post, I already practice meditation. My problem isn't falling asleep, it's staying asleep.


#10

Nytol does nothing for me, I'm afraid. I've tried every over the counter sleep aid you can get. And I've used earplugs since I was about 16.

But, you make a good point about computer/tv etc. That's definitely something I need to be doing.


#11

Do you ever have the urge to urinate when you wake up? It could be explained by sleep apnea...


#12

I too have always been a troubled sleeper, although from the sounds of it know where near as bad as yours.

First thing I would try would be magnesium, which you already have in the ZMA.

Then theanine, then melatonin.

Also you mentioned meditation, I actually stopped doing that as I found it woke me up too much afterwards and effected my sleeping pattern, not too bad in the morning.

Tried stonger things too such as pharmacist stuff but actually felt worse than I would of done having just stayed up all night.

I try do do things to tired me out, if I have done lots of exercise or had to do a lot of thinking at work, i'd go out like a light, but just lounging around the house all day I find it difficult to sleep that night.


#13

Isn't sleep apnoea the interruption of breathing? How does that connect with urination?

Or am I just being obtuse?


#14

I found the opposite of Precision Nutrition meal timing helped. Low-carb meals in the morning, high-carb meals before bed. (And I did not gain fat doing this, BTW.) The low-carb meals produce more adrenaline, while the high-carb meals are relaxing.

Getting outside in the morning for a walk helps my sleep a lot too.

I would keep taking the Z12 regularly if it seems to help even a little. Sleep doesn't have to be perfect to be beneficial. Consistency is key.

Finally, after doing every reasonable thing possible to sleep enough and well, just relax and don't worry about it. Even if you wake up several times a night, you can still get enough good sleep. Worrying about it makes it worse for sure.


#15

What style of meditation? How often/how long do you meditate per day?


#16

Just very basic Buddhist breathing meditation, I couldn't give you a time, because I only use it to help switch my over-active brain off when I'm lying in bed awaiting sleep. It definitely helps with that... I just wish it would help me stay asleep longer!

Sorry if I sound like a stuck record >.<


#17

Not at all, I was just curious.


#18

Don't expect some different supplement or combination of them to fix it, and as hard as it is to do just remember that you're body will get the sleep it needs if you let it.

https://www.lowbluelights.com/products.asp

So you don't have to live in a cave at night.

https://www.lighttherapy.com/

This helped me, got me about %50 of the way.

I still don't sleep perfectly, but after years of issues just like yours, I am doing better and still improving. Watch what you eat in the evening, eat a small bit of protein before bed and consider a liver detox regimen. Poliquin has stuff for that, but as his site has been jacked up of late I just went with the Tylers Liver detox factors. You could take all the ingredients in the Tylers separately, but honestly when i did I felt like shit, like it was too much at once. By too much I assumed it was too much toxins being released at once.

Anyway, from someone who's been there, hope you get that fixed, its like you could just take on the whole world if only you could wake up refreshed in the mornings.


#19

Mate, that's exactly what it's like.

Having said that, I took the full dose of ZMA and Z-12 at 10, slept like a baby from 10:30 til 6. That may be a placebo, there may have been extenuating circumstances, there may indeed be a physiological problem I have that these supplements correct. Whichever it is, that particular combination gave me the best night's sleep I've had in weeks, so: Woo!

From what I've been reading on other threads, I should probably keep the melatonin as an emergency measure. I'm not sure about detoxing, I eat 5+portions of green veggies and 5+portions of fruit a day, and use alkali balancing supplements. If detoxing is still required after that... God help us all.


#20

over the counter sleep aids are just a large dose of benadryl (diphehydramine) about 50 mg. but that is mainly just to knock you out. you could try to use that as a quick fix for a short time.