I decided this past week that I had to do more in an attempt to sleep better. I have been putting on magnesium oil (this is the brand recommended to me: Ancient Minerals Ultra Pure Magnesium Oil 8 oz.) most nights after my shower but I wasn't sure if it was helping or not. I remembered something about taking magnesium at night to help to relax and have better sleep, so in addition to the mag oil I started to take a teaspoon of Peter Gillham Natural Magnesium Calm and finally I decided to try this time release melatonin that a friend of mine had given me a few tablets so I could try it out. Now melatonin is supposed to lower cortisol, so I had been reluctant to try it and also I had read somewhere that it's not a good idea to take melatonin since your body could become reliant upon it.
It used to be when I didn't get enough sleep I would and could simply by sheer will force myself to get up and get moving, get dressed and go to work. But in the last few months it has gotten to the point where not only can I not force myself up and at 'em but if I do manage to do so then I am a train wreck. I can't cope with any little bit of stress at work, I can't think clearly, I'm a mess. So I decided to try the melatonin, rationalizing since my cortisol saliva test showed my cortisol was high in the early morning, maybe taking melatonin at night would put a damper on that 4am cortisol and help me sleep through the night.
Also, last Monday I told my mom I'm going to just accept the fact that I may need to eat at night past 7pm, even if Dr. Kruse says it's going to mess up the leptin reset. I have to sleep. If I have to eat after 7pm to sleep, then I have to. I'll just have to be patient and wait for my body to heal so that I can go all night without eating. Also, for what it's worth the authors of Mastering Leptin say this about eating just before going to sleep:
This is a sign of a stressed liver that is responding to nerves that are running too hot (too wound up). In this situation, the hormone glucagon is stimulating too much liver production of sugar – which is itself working in a stressed manner. Normal is that glucagon stimulates the release of sugar from the liver (about 60% of calories being used for energy) while simultaneously burning fat (about 40%) – which begins happening when a person hasn't eaten for three to four hours.
An uncomfortable hyper feeling (in response to stress on an empty stomach) or before bed resulting in trouble sleeping, is a sign the liver is out of shape and producing too much sugar compared to the amount of fat being burned. Eating raises insulin, which turns off glucagon, and stops the liver from doing this.
Eating in this situation is one way to get to sleep, but it is not helpful for weight management. On the other hand, not sleeping well isn't helpful for weight management either. One temporary solution is to find the smallest amount of carbohydrate that works, like a few crackers or 1/2 piece of fruit.
That helped me feel a bit less apprehensive about breaking the rule of nothing to eat past 7pm. I should also note that eating carbohydrates at bedtime, or with night waking has never helped me to get back to sleep, if anything it only made me feel worse. I have found I need to have protein and fat. Before GAPS that was some yogurt or a hunk of cheese (GAPS allows both these foods but I have been off dairy due to reactions when trying to introduce back into my diet), so it became a little harder to figure out what to have on hand so I could have protein readily available.
It was on Monday that I decided to take the magnesium oil, CALMS and melatonin. I remember climbing into bed and yawning, feeling relaxed and sleepy. I assumed it was the melatonin I'd taken twenty minutes earlier. It likely was. I slept well all night, in spite of having to get up to pee a couple times. I repeated the same routine on Tuesday night, and again slept well, even though I had to get up twice I still got back to sleep shortly after climbing back into bed. The same thing on Wednesday night, and good sleep again. This is great. I'm getting 8 hours of sleep on the nights I have to work the next day. Even though I'm still not getting to work until about 9:30 or 10. I would sure like to be able to get up at 6am and get to work by 8 but I don't want to push it yet.
So last night, Thursday night, I decided I wouldn't take the melatonin. As I crawled into bed I felt sleepy and relaxed. It must be after effects of the melatonin, I thought. Or maybe it's the CALMS. I slept well all night long from about 11pm until 7:30am.
The really awesome thing is on these nights I did not wake up with hypoglycemia and hunger. I was so pleased about that. A part of me wonders if it was psychological? Did giving myself permission to eat change everything? Somehow I don't think so. I did continue to have some mild hot flashes each night and had to throw off the covers, but usually they are much worse and then I wake up fully and I'm lying there with hypoglycemia.
Then today I remember that Dr. Kruse says as one of the signs of regaining leptin sensitivity: “B. Women will notice mood changes first (calmer/sleepy) and their sleep will improve.”
This is exciting. I hope this new trend continues.
Tonight I've felt sleepy since about 8 pm. I could have gone to bed then, but I'm trying hard to stick to a regular schedule. That means I have to get off this computer and climb into bed because it's 9:45. Nighty-night.