How I cured my sleep problems with absolutely nothing (except a little knowlege)
Posted Dec 21 2011 2:48pm
Sleep problems can take you down some crazy paths, be it drugs with side effects, fear of hidden diseases, and plain frustration. I got ZERO real solutions from my doctors (sigh…) in spite of pleading for help at my physicals. Now I realize many issues pertaining to "me" have to be solved by "me".
I get such a sense of personal accomplishment when I discover some wellness solution through simple research, logic and common sense.
These solutions are often right in front of us, and would probably never be discover them unless one chooses to look a little deeper into a health and/or wellness issue. Many issues pertaining to "us" have to be solved by "us". Depend on your doctor, sure why not. However, get to that place where you can also depend on you own instincts. This article pertains to a solution I found to a much need wellness issue of mine, which was waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep, and of , all the ramifications form having the next day at work totally screwed up.
Anyhoo, this issue does not pertain to food, but I must go back 7 or 8 years to 2005 when I simply was not sleeping well. I always dropped off to sleep OK, but in the middle of the night BOOM!!!, I would wake up for seemingly no reason at all. I could often literally be up all night if I was unlucky, and the kicker was that I would always fall back asleep about 15 minutes before the alarm went off……go figure. Anyway at the is point, I resolved my sleep issues through dietary changes. I took three things out of my diet and within week I was sleeping like a rock. Those three things were Canola Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Aspartame.
For several years I enjoyed a a very deep and enjoyable sleep almost every night. Of course, not every single night, but even if a given night was bad, I would be back into the zone the next night. I remember telling someone one year that I had two bad sleep nights all year. Sleep was almost line eating, a pleasure. What a nutritional scientist I had become!!!!
Fast forward to 2011, I move to Portland, Oregon, and my sleep issues come back with a vengeance. But this time my healthy diet is in full throttle, so it was dubious that this related to some eating issue, especially since I eat the same thing every day consistently for the past 5 or 6 years. The bizarre thing about all of this was that I would ALWAYS wake up almost exactly 4.5 hours after dropping off to sleep. It didn't matter when I went to sleep either. Drop off at 10:30pm, wake up at exactly 3:00am. drop off at Midnight, wake up at exactly 4:30am. The other bizarre thing about all this is on the weekends, this didn't seem to be that much of a problem, because even if I woke up, I would drop back off knowing I can stay in bed as long as I wanted. The weekend thing logically convinced me this was not a dietary or medical issue, because if so, I would have the same experience on weekends as during the week. Maybe I was allergic to my job. Hmmmmmmmmm.
It became acute to the point where I was bone tired and could not function at work at all some days in 2011. Sometimes a day at work was basically a fight to survive, that is, not fall asleep at my desk or in a meeting and get fired. I never called in sick but a couple of days I would have to leave at noon, and I would get home and simply collapse in the bed, falling into a deep "coma-like" sleep.
Me, being the self proclaimed "King of Nutrition", I looked for natural solution with no success. I tried liquid herbs such as Valerian, and California Poppy. I stopped eating Whole Foods chicken in case there was Canola Oil in it that they weren't telling me about; nothing worked. Perhaps the time zone difference between east and west coast was throwing me off? Maybe initially, but after 6 months I must have adjusted to the new time zone. Also, I thought of the full body scanner at the airport when I came to Portland might have threw off my brain cells in some way. Me an my "conspiracy theory" mindset. Brain Tumor? Nah, I'm not so paranoid about deadly disease anymore as I used to be. Cell phone maybe. Thinking about all of this only escalated the anxiety and made relaxation at night worse. I do remember one day I simply prayed "God, could you help me with this one?". With me, God never comes in the form a Burning Bush or James Earl Jones deep voice, but the heavenly powers always seem to give me some basically information, that from a certain point of view doesn't seem like a miracle because it is so simplistic, but to get it within days of asking, I know it is one of life's little everyday miracles. For me, there have been too many to count them as coincidence or chance.
Soon after that desperate prayer, perhaps a week or less, I simply googled something basic like "waking up after 4.5 hours", expecting to find nothing, but low and behold I came up with the solution. I ran across a blogger's article by someone named Glenn Rhodes, read it with am open mind, and that "god given" gift I have seeing truth in a world of contradictory information, I jumped right on it. Glen's article can be found here , but the next underlined paragraph in red, after the link breaks down the basics.
"If we were to sleep completely naturally, with no alarm clocks other sleep disturbances, we would wake up, on the average, after a multiple of 90 minutes–for example, after 90mintes, 3 hours, 4 1/2 hours, 6 hours, 7 1/2 hours, or 9 hours, (important to note not after 7 or 8 hours, which are not multiples of 90 minutes). In the period between cycles we are not actually sleeping: it is a sort of twilight zone from which, if we are not disturbed (by light, cold, a full bladder, noise), we move into another 90-minute cycle. A person who sleeps only four cycles (6 hours) will feel more rested than someone who has slept for 8 to 10 hours but who has not been allowed to complete any one cycle because of being awakened before it was completed…. ”
Once I was empowered with this new info, which spiritually, instinctively, and subconsciously felt like the answer, I got back to normal sleep patterns is less than two weeks. I relalized waking up after 4.5 hours for me was normal, meaning perhaps my body didn't need as much sleep as it used to. Thus when I would wake up, there was no need for anxiety or panic, or forcing myself back to sleep. I started off by going to sleep a little later, such as 12:30am or 1:00am. Like clockwork I would wake up 4.5 hours later, starting the day at 5:00 or 5:30. As the Sleep article recommended, when I came home from work, I would get a 90 minute, one sleep cycle power nap if I was feeling a little tired. When I slept from 1am to 5:30, I was noticing I really wasn't very tired, often I felt very refreshed. I soon realized thinking I would be exhausetd because I only got 4.5 hours of sleep was an illusion (so long as I finished that last "dream state" of that last of three 90 minute cycles). Some weekdays I found myself sleeping for EXACTLY 6 hours, no need for a power nap on those days. Whenever I feel tired at home, if I can, I take my 90 minute power nap. The weekends I noticed that I was sleeping EXACTLY 6 or 7.5 hours which is four or five back to back 90 minute cycles as opposed to three 90 minute cycles during the week.
So, short story long, problem solved. The key to all this, as Glen mentions in his article, is that you have if you interrupt your sleep cycle anywhere except a the end of a multiple of 90 minutes (1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9, hours etc) then you will notice yourself very groggy the next day, even if you got 8 or 10 hours of sleep. You ever noticed in the past that you can sleep less than 5 hours some nights and feel totally refreshed the next day, and other days you can sleep 8 hours and feel like a total wreck? Well now you know why. So, on any given night, anything can interrupt my sleep cycles, sometimes by the heat being up too high, other times by a fire truck outside, other times from over eating, and the next day may be a "groggy" day. But now the anxiety of the mystery of it all is gone, I know just to get through the day, get my 90 minute power nap if I can, and keep tweaking how to not have my sleep interrupted abnormally.
A subject for another article is that without this kind of information and practical application and proof of concept, you could end up on this road of taking medications or drugs, with those scary side effects like the ones they talk about in those medical drug TV commercials. You could end up down any crazy road, including the unemployment line, when the answer is right under our noses, if you can grasp it, and prove it for yourself. Now sleep is a pleasure again. ~dw~