What follows is an egroup post that I wrote a few years ago, trying to advise a person whose daughter was having substantial difficulty with sleep. This material essentially presents a conceptual overview on why persons have great difficulty going to and/or staying asleep. Over time, I will be “editing, polishing, and changing” the material below, as it was only written to be an egroup post when I wrote it in the summer of 2005.
Dear (name removed):
Similar to your daughter, I had longstanding sleep problems in my life as well. In 1997 I resolved a severe sleep problem for over 18 months in myself involving the daily use of 2 mg. of Klonopin, an alcohol/Klonopin mix, and/or an alcohol/Klonopin/marijuana mix all at the same time, without which I would hardly be able to sleep at all.
Perhaps some of the following suggestions might be helpful to your daughter. These suggestions are partially based on my experience, an experience that is admittedly only lay self experience (I have no medical education or credentials whatsoever). These suggestions are also based on the wisdom of many other persons (books, the net, conversations I have had with others, and my witnessing other persons use a nutrient sleep regime similar to mine.)
I sincerely hope that yourself, your daughter, and other persons in this egroup will find some of the following information useful to them in some way:
(1) Sleep issues such as your daughter has are highly indicative of low inhibitory chemistry in the brain and/or other organs involved in sleep.
(2) It is usually very helpful to see if the person having difficulty sleeping responds positively to the oral administration of the nutrient precursors of common inhibitory chemistry (inhibitory amino acids, inhibitory minerals, etc.) in the brain/body.
(3) A person having sleep difficulty that does respond positively to the oral administration of inhibitory nutrients should be suspected as being deficient in much other essential nutrient chemistry besides inhibitory chemistry as well.
(4) The determination of positive response to amino acids and other inhibitory nutrients should be made by the patients’ themselves, after they are taught how to do so. The degree of positive response should also be determined by the patients’ themselves after they are taught how to do so. “Only we know how we feel from amino acid ingestion”, such that we can properly adjust dosages and/or substances accordingly. No doctor can determine dosage better for us than we can determine for ourselves. You may be able to guide us and teach us principles of proper amino acid use, but we can, and should, take it from there. Learning how to do this (adjusting substances and dosages being used) is not difficult at all.
I have posted various posts on how to define and implement an inhibitory nutrient regime at home by oneself to this egroup in the past. If you have any trouble finding this material, please let me know and I will email it to you directly if you wish. (This material is admittedly a bit rough and disorganized, but its concepts and details may be quite helpful regardless.)
Worthy of note here is that Julia Ross in her book “The Mood Cure” is using a similar inhibitory nutrient regime to that which I am using. Margot Kidder is also using a similar regime for sleep as well. This similarity between what we are doing is true in the substances being used (for the most part). Inhibitory amino acids are the “heart of nutrient inhibition” for all of us substance-wise, to the best of my knowledge. I’m not sure in regard to our commonality concerning amino acid dosage. I am not aware of what Ms. Ross recommends in this regard. I simply don’t remember what her books say on dosage, nor do I possess any at the moment to reference. Margot Kidder and I do differ on this subject of dosage a little, unless prior written material that I have seen from her has changed.
(5) It is extremely likely that if a person is that chemically deficient so as to be life impaired in some way (such as your daughter is in regard to her inability to sleep well) that the two most common and major malabsortive issues should be assessed and addressed in her as well. Specifically these two malabsorptive issues are the possibility of your daughter having either hidden food allergies and/or yeast (candida).
In my mind, to even consider ignoring the presence of these two very common malabsorptive issues in ANY person that is having a serious and longstanding difficulty with sleep represents a clear case of medical malpractice.
[Both the ingestion of hidden food allergens and candida may result in a higher degree of some sort of excitatory chemistry in the brain/body; chemistry that is sleep harmful. And both candida and the ingestion of hidden food allergens can either partially or very significantly shut down the gut from an absorptive standpoint, depending on the degree of exposure. I also saw a reference once suggesting that high candida led to low taurine levels in the body, and taurine is a key nutrient inhibitor for many.]
(6) As soon as is practical, one should also assess for the presence of (and address if necessary) the other common causes of malabsorption as well. Some of these “lesser but still very important malabsorptive causes” in no particular order of importance are (a) a lack of adequate digestive enzymes, (b) a lack of adequate stomach acid, (c) inadequate hydration, (d) a lack of movement such as walking which is important to proper intestinal function, (e) poor food combining, (f) excess liquid intake at meals, which dilutes stomach acidity and impairs proper digestion, (g) inadequate chewing, which impairs digestion and assimilation of nutrients, (h) inadequate bile flow, another necessary digestive secretion, (i) the possibility of inadequate glutamine status in the small intestines, which can result in shorter villi and thus much less surface area in which to absorb (exposure to food allergens, especially the gluten grains, shortens intestinal villi as well), and (j) the possibility of some other intestinal dysbiosis issue besides candida, such as having too much “bad bacteria” or parasites on one’s GI tract.
One cannot absorb adequate nutrition if a serious degree of malabsorption (from factors such as are listed above) is present. It’s as simple as that. I learned this from Sherry Rogers (through her books found on http://www.prestigepublishing.com). Dr. Rogers also taught me that simply supplementing with nutrients, without addressing probable malabsorption beforehand, is “just not wise”, as much of the nutritional value of such supplementation is lost.
To properly treat chemical deficiency as a result of malabsorption involves simply going though a checklist of all identifiable and common malabsorptive factors and seeing if they apply to you… and if so, “fix them”.
Unless rarity is involved, all common malabsorptive factors are adequately correctable in anyone that has them, once they are identified. In addition to this, all of these common malabsorptive factors are identifiable at home, if not better identified at home vs. primarily relying on the services of any doctor whatsoever, alternative doctor or not.
(7) If the presence of any malabsorptive factors are found in your daughter and/or broad chemical deficiency is suspected for one reason or another, it is always wise to consider defining and adopting a “shotgun approach of essential nutrition supplement-wise” to see if such is helpful. To give you an idea of what I mean by “shotgun nutrient approach”, my fifteen year old son and I have been taking baggies that contain as many as 30 individual supplements in various amounts from 30 different individual bottles. These baggies contain as close as I can get to the entire essential nutrient range, and many helper supplements that may be assistive in some way as well.
(8) In a person having a serious difficulty with sleep, diet correction is often necessary as well, to include the removal of common allergens via the use of a rare food cave man type diagnostic diet that avoids all common food allergens. A second factor regarding diet is that an adequate amount of essential nutrient substances taken in daily is clearly important. One cannot even attempt to absorb an adequate amount of nutrition if an adequate amount of nutrition has not been ingested, of course.
(9) Periodic hair and/or other nutrient level tests may be useful here, not only to get a general conception of the degree of nutrient deficiency, but to avoid nutrient excesses developing as well. “Check the oil once in a while”, but don’t over rely on such tests (especially amino acid tests), nor think that they are pinpoint in accuracy. (I do know that much laboratory testing is overrated, and some testing is almost useless.)
I admit that the treatment of serious and longstanding sleep difficulty that I suggest in this post may seem much too excessive and complicated to some. However, in my opinion such a comprehensive approach is often the best approach for the resolution of serious sleep difficulty. I’d start by defining and implementing an inhibitory nutrient regime before bedtime. This should help rather quickly. Then, as soon as is practical, I’d initiate the assessing (and addressing if need be) of all common malabsorptive issues which may lead to a deficiency of inhibitory nutrient chemistry in the body and brain in the first place.