Re: Sex vs. sleep

Elizabeth Childs (
Fri, 02 Jul 1999 08:41:57 -0700

Gina Miller wrote:
> Since I was a child I have had problems going to bed at a reasonable hour.
> Although my unstable and restlessness childhood as it were I'm sure
> contributed, and I may have started an earlier pattern that I can't seem to
> break, even at 30. As a early teen, doctors dosed me with heavy prescription
> sleep aids to help, I often couldn't get up at all in the morning, and would
> blindly head to breakfast, stars still in my eyes. Thru out the last ten
> years, I have tried over the counter sleeping pills, and benadriyl, to no
> avail. Now, I take three melatonin's a night, and still don't meet the
> sandman until the wee late hours. If I woke up early, this wouldn't bother
> me, but I still tend to compensate, and sleep too late in the day.
> Nanogirl

If you go to this site and select "sleeping aids" from the pull down list, then hit the "See Results" button:

you will see the results of an online survey for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome about which sleep aids helped them the most. Their underlying biochemical problems might be completely different from yours, so some of these might be unique to helping CFS'ers, but a lot of them are standard sleeping aids. Many are supplements available over the counter.

Watch out for 5-HTP, as many samples have been found to be contaminated. If anybody knows where to get really pure stuff, please let me know.

Some people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome get cortisol levels that are high at night and low in the morning, the opposite of how they should be, and this can cause the disrupted sleep pattern that you are experiencing. I have no idea whether this might apply in your case, but you could try getting a 24 hour cortisol/DHEA test. I got mine (normal) from Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab, who seem to be well respected:

You have to get a prescription. If you decide it's for you, keep looking until you find an open minded doctor; the life extension foundation has a list of them on their site, and GSDL has a list of doctors as well. It's about $150.

If your cortisol levels are too low, they can be supplemented with cortisol or prednisone. If they are too high, I understand there are ways to modify that as well, although I don't know how off hand.

Disregulated cortisol levels are associated with prior chronic stress, such as a chaotic childhood.

All that said, I think there are genetic reasons why some people are "night people". It's pretty hard to change.

There is a book called "Safe Uses of Cortisol" on my shelf that I no longer need if any Bay Area person wants it enough to come pick it up.