I wanted to share my experience with the board to see:
A) if anyone else has experienced a similar issue with whey protein and insomnia, and
B) what supplements/vitamins you were taking that might have been causing the adverse interactions with the protein powder
The reason I was so surprised that I was getting insomnia (and was able to figure out the cause so quickly), is that I generally do try to follow all of the typical advice to improve sleep quality. I've installed f.lux (or a f.lux equivalent) on all of my electronics to limit blue light exposure before bed, I generally keep a fairly typical sleep schedule (~8-9 hours/night), and we have black out curtains to prevent light leakage from ruining our sleep (we live downtown in DC).
I mainly take supplements and vitamins for their positive effect, but was getting annoyed that I was no longer able to consume more than 30g of protein powder without losing sleep (I tried both the NOW Whey Protein Isolate and Muscle Milk). I used to take whey protein back in college (~5 years ago) without any negative effects.
My supplement stack at the time I was getting insomnia was:
Vitamin B12 - 1 mg, Folate - 0.8 mg Vitamin K complex Vitamin D - 6000 IU Vitamin C - 1 g Fish Oil - 4 g Magnesium L-threonate - 144 mg Acetyl-L-carnitine - 1 g Creatine - 5 g
To test out whether my supplements were causing some kind of interaction with the protein that was leading to my insomnia, I cut out all the supplement/vitamins, and let them clear out of my system for a couple of days. After letting the supplements clear my system, I was able to tolerate 30g+ of protein without any insomnia! At this point I've been able to take protein powder for a week without any loss of sleep. Before, if I took protein powder I'd notice this sharp feeling in my head similar to what I'd feel if I had choline-induced insomnia.
I've been able to titrate back up to the following regimen without any adverse effects:
Vitamin K complex Vitamin D - 4000 IU Fish Oil - 4 g Magnesium L-threonate - 144 mg
So pretty much, I'm guessing it was one of the following supplements or combination of supplements which caused some strange interaction with the protein powders:
Vitamin B12 - 1 mg, Folate - 0.8 mg Vitamin C - 1 g Acetyl-L-carnitine - 1 g Creatine - 5 g
Since pretty much everyone takes creatine, I doubt that's the culprit. Would anyone else with reported whey protein insomnia be willing to share what additional supplements/vitamins they were taking at the time they experienced their insomnia?