Resource Insomnia cure?

Exploration into using targeted cold to lower high nigh-time cortisol

  1. MF4Mark

    MF4Mark Member

    MF4Mark submitted a new resource:

    Insomnia cure? - Exploration into using targeted cold to lower high nigh-time cortisol

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  2. dejurgen

    dejurgen Well-Known Member

    "However I awoke after a few hours wide awake. BP and respiration elevated with palpitations as usual these days"

    There are similarities with what I experience.
    I do not awake and stay awake but awake, fall back to sleep, awake, fall back to sleep at ever shorter intervals as the night progresses. In the morning it can be every 5 minutes or worse.
    I used to have very strong respiration when these events were at worst. I was breathing like a horse. My chest felt near every morning like I was run over by a truck.
    Often my hart rate goes very high late night to early morning, like 150+ bpm.
    I used to have strong palpitations too, but in my case it was due to hypothermia. It was plain shivering in a very forceful way. It took some time to see that connection ;-).

    "So, I tried breathing exercises but no dice. I noticed my feet were hot. My feet usually are hot when I have trouble sleeping, which has been well over 20 yrs now. I've mentioned this to lots of people, even medicos, and nobody sees any connection. So anyways, strapping a cold pack to the bottoms of my feet used to do the trick. Last night, this had no effect. As a last ditch effort, I slid one cold pack (I own 4) under my neck on the right side- side sleeper here. My heart calmed down within a minute or so. I removed the cold pack and almost immediately my heart was pounding again. Put the cold pack back and voila, heart calmed down again."

    I do not have a BP meter, so I have no clue to what it is at night. But that connects to how I improved my sleep a lot. Wont help you as it involves doing circulation exercises, breathing exercises and walking around whenever waking. If you can't fall asleep soon after it that'll be a failure.

    But how I got to this point is because I believed that my blood flow "stalled" during the night. And I use among others gravity to get it going again. It's the idea about "reversed POTS".
    Having POTS is when you stand up and blood flow is too low towards the head and too low from the feet to the hart due to gravity. But when lying down, the opposite could happen. Blood has to flow back from the head to the hart for if not it will pile up in the head. When standing, gravity helps. Lying down helps to get the blood towards the head. But if both arteries AND veins between hart and head are affected then both the going and returning path will be affected. Lying down will make the returning path faulty. Thus blood will accumulate in the brain.

    When blood accumulates in the brain, brain pressure will go up and so will cerebral spinal fluid pressure. Now research shows that many ME (and FM) patients have too high CSF pressure and that it would relate with symptom severity. Part of my attempt is sitting upright for some time to help "drain" the pooling blood from the brain. During the day I do circulation exercises to make the blood flow from hart to brain and back less restricted (by having the muscles putting less strain on the blood vessels).

    Another way to reduce the increased CBF pressure is cold. It doesn't help with blood pooling that much, but it reduces the nefarious strong increase in CBF pressure. Cold often reduces swelling (and inflammation). So using a cold pack under the neck or head may help by reducing CBF pressure and the series of symptoms that produces.

    As to the warm feet? The legs and feet also receive their part of "reverse POTS". When standing, blood flows very easily to the feet due to gravity. It's returning that goes poorly. In order to not having too much blood pooling when upright it's better to make the blood vessels from hart to legs/feet a bit smaller in diameter and the returning ones a bit bigger. But when lying down that means the hart has to push harder to get sufficient blood flow into the legs and feet. That could be done by raising BP.

    That gets the hart into a dilemma: raising the BP will get blood flow higher in the legs but will also increase CBF to too high. Lowering BP will be better for the brain but reduce blood flow in the legs. Now I would think that getting the feed cold would let the body try and increase the blood flow to the feet in order to warm them up. But when the body sees it as too high a loss of heat, it could do just the reverse and decrease blood flow. That happens often when you get poorly dressed into the cold. So the leg thing is tricky, but the head thing might be less tricky.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I just happened to think today about maybe trying to put a cold pack in reach at night for putting under my head and see if it helps when nights are horrible. I just thought it was to "aggressive" a treatment to be able to fall asleep again. I'll reconsider for sure. Please keep reporting your experiences and good luck with it!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  3. dejurgen

    dejurgen Well-Known Member

    Doesn't Vagues Nerve Stimulation also lowers Blood Pressure?

    If so, it could help decrease blood pooling in the brain while lying down (at the cost of sufficient blood flow in the legs and feet, but they are less critical to reduced blood flow). By doing so, it would reduce CBF pressure, something reported to be often problematic high in ME / FM patients.

    If so, VNS would be helpful when lying down but less so when standing up. Being able to rest better and have less brain compression at night or lying down would help recover a patient better and improve his condition when awake as well. But according to this idea using VNS at night and while lying down would be preferred. Would that be in line with experiences of people using VNS? I'd love to know!
  4. MF4Mark

    MF4Mark Member

    Hi, dejurgen

    First let me clarify on the ice packs. They're solid about 4in x 6in x 1in. I can't use them on bare skin because that's too cold. I wrap them in a dress sock for super cooling. For less aggressive cooling, I wrap them in a crew sock. Anything thicker didn't work at all for me. You might want to try one of these methods.

    I'll admit I'm having to wrap my brains around what you're saying because I'm new to the lingo of POTS. I can say I used to have it as a teenager and into my early 20's. I saw a neurologist who was stumped and wanted to x-ray my coco. I refused and later on saw an MD who ordered up MRI scans. Narrow passages in the brain but nothing pathological.

    I never wound up on the ground, but I did come close to blacking out. Technically in my case it was more like a white out. Visually, I'd see (blank station) TV snow encroach from the periphery until I get tunnel vision. While that happened I'd either get pins and needles feeling or go numb. Then I'd lose my balance and start falling forward in slow motion. I get slow mo in SHTF situations. Then I'd regain enough control to either stumble or grab onto something nearby. The worst episode I had I was off center of gravity by nearly 2 feet and it took a few minutes to completely regain my senses. Cognitively it was almost like getting a hit of nitrous from whipped cream.

    Later on I'd read somewhere that this whole blood leaving the brain thing was directly related to a hypoadrenal condition. Low BP and lightheadedness or dizziness is a sign of adrenal insufficiency. I increased my salt intake and that seemed to help. Nowadays I take both adrenal and thyroid gland extracts.

    Now I'm not a medico or any sort of other medicine man. If you google "adrenal standing" (MINUS QUOTES) you find plenty of scientific sites which make the connection. As for the freeze dried glandular extracts, that is not meant as a diagnosis nor medical advise. It's just my own common sense appraisal of my situation and my estimation of what the body needed. I wish I could say I was so wise that I've been using them all this time. I'm not, only the past year.

    IMO, I think a lot of you folks should explore the idea of hypoadrenal/hypothyroid. In 2001 I had the hypothyroid conversation with a "medicine man". He read the bones (test data LOL) and said I had evil spirits bedeviling me (wanted to put me on SSRI for CFS). Words cannot express how deeply I regret not pushing harder. Had I seen a naturopath and started on thyroid extract, I never would have fallen into a deep depression spanning 15 yrs. All of that wasted time just because some supposed expert was IGNORANT.

    Well at any rate, I'd advise getting tested to see what the levels are. Me personally, I'd read the old timers titrated for effect and determined dosages that way. I followed the old ways before medicine became corrupt and titrated myself to what I feel I need. Unless you know what your doing that can backfire.

    I'm putting this out there because both adrenal and thyroid extracts are now available over the counter as a supplement. IDK how they compare to the prescription version. FYI, you CAN get high-potency thyroid extract prescribed by a medico, but most have been brainwashed against it. I will say the OTC versions DO have an effect on me. Ugh, I just wish I'd found them sooner. All this wasted time. The prime of my adult life. Wasted.
    Merida likes this.
  5. dejurgen

    dejurgen Well-Known Member

    Hi Mark,

    I'm on the other side of orthostatic intollerance: lying down easily gets bad for me. That is not to say I can stand without moving long. I believe many people have both but the problems when lying down dominate with me. It's a bit more difficult to "see" this as a problem as the problem accumulates over many hours just as happens at the end of the night when sleeping. I probably am more of a hyperadrenal person. I'm "good" at pushing very high levels of adrenaline and have some tollerance for higher levels of it.

    I tried your approach this night. I started by skipping some of my routines improving sleep. That got my hart beat go irregular multiple times this night. As to the cold pack: I did not wanted to go to the fridge so I took a soft pack from the fridge at non-freezing temperatures and a big solid one that was deeply frozen. I laid the soft one on top of the solid frozen one so the soft one kept cool but not frozen all night long. I prefer this temperature range and it allows me to not use textile around it, plus the pack is more flexible. It makes it easier to fold around the body and more comfortable to use.

    It is indeed able to reduce hart "fibrilation-like" episodes of irregular beating and it does seem a lot like it reduces hart beat strength. So it makes the hart beat more regular and less "bouncing hard". So very probably it reduces blood pressure and blood flow. Blood flow in ME is already too low, but at night it should be lower then during the day so that works out. And having lower BP should reduce brain pressure, which is a good thing. In fact I felt it lowered BP and flow a bit too much, but it felt better then what I had before applying the cold pack. I had the experience over 5 times this night so it repeats well. It lasted long enough to give me about half an hour of relief (10 minutes applying plus 20 min sleep or trying to sleep) each time. Nice thing: it doesn't interrupt getting back to sleep too much.

    As to sleep I think it can help to improve sleep time. But for me it's hard to judge as sleep time is not my main problem. Sleep quality is. And that felt better when applying these changes compared to doing nothing at all.

    For me, putting the cold pack on my forehead worked better then under my neck. I feel that using it under the neck it mainly stabilizes hart beat and reduces BP. Using it on my head in addition "lets my head feel better": reduced brain pressure and inflammation? But keep in mind I have a different version of orthostatic intollerance.

    I feel there is potential in this, both in effects and in improving your technique. I'll try and see what I can do with it but it'll take time before results are clear enough to communicate.

    Thanks mate!
  6. Zapped

    Zapped Well-Known Member

    @djurgen "However I awoke after a few hours wide awake. BP and respiration elevated with palpitations as usual these days"

    You might try Potassium Citrate (by NOW) at night to calm palpitations and related. It works for me - and I’ve got CAD and 2 stents. It’s inexpensive and readily available.
  7. tigerlil

    tigerlil New Member

    I have suffered the same symptoms for years. I believe you have a low thyroid and are cortisol deficient.
    Check your basal temp. Under 97.8 your hypothyroid and if it goes long enough you will become low cortisol as well.
    For years I thought i was high or both high and low cortisol.
    This combination can make you have burning feet, insomnia and accelerated heart rate with ever you hit a minor stress or its time to go to sleep. If you don't believe this check your temperature at 9am 12 pm and 3 pm. This will show you how far you are off with your cortisol. If you are not cortisol deficient your temperatures will stay within 2/10 of a point.
    Then look up Dr. Frank Shallenberg and watch his video on Thyroid and Adrenals. Also recommend Dr Alfred Plechners video's on cortisol and immune imbalance. He passed but was a brilliant vet that discovered the same problem in animals as people.
    Lots of luck.
    Merida likes this.
  8. Merida

    Merida Well-Known Member

    Wonderful wisdom in your thoughts and comments. Yes, the HPA axis plus thyroid involvement. Researchers pointed this out years ago for the fibromyalgia population. But no big money here for Pharma. Of interest, in 1986, my 5 year old son got a severe ( lab documented recent infection) of Epstein Barr. I struggled to understand the source of his symptoms - before computers! UCLA medical library ! Looked to me like thyroid and adrenal problems - he was very sick. Doctor said - oh he just needs more attention. I was a stay at home Mom then, but previous clinical diagnostic microbiologist.

    I am tempted to try those adrenal/ thyroid extracts, but am concerned about possible viruses being transmitted. Like the pig Circovirus that was found in the Rota virus vaccines given to kids. Viruses can be freeze dried on a shelf for 20 years and still survive.

    But perhaps it is all worth a little risk for getting some life back. Heck. Life is one big risk!
  9. Merida

    Merida Well-Known Member

    @tigerlil - Thanks for this information. Seems critical. It is interesting that the pituitary is surrounded by the dural membranes and sits in a little notch in sphenoid bone - vertical bone behind the eyes. So, torque or tension on the dura meningeal system ( from tight dura connection in pelvis or misalignment of C1/ C2) will absolutely affect the pituitary function. Also, the position of the atlas (C1) affects the movement of the occiput, which then affects the sphenoid.

    Furthermore, research on EBV has shown it can cause thyroiditis. Interesting that there has also been research looking at EBV as a bioweapon. Wow.
  10. Tigerlily

    Tigerlily Active Member

    With hypothyroidism, you have a struggling liver that cannot store enough glycogen to last all night, hence the cortisol symptoms through the night.

    I have found Ray Peat's solution to this amazing. A glass of orange juice with a pinch of salt by the bedside for a few sips when waking and also just before sleeping.
  11. Tomhanks5

    Tomhanks5 Member

    thanks for sharing this :)
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  12. Laura L

    Laura L Member

    I have a VNS and use it in the day, really helps lessen all my symptoms.. except insomnia. In fact it makes it worse. It's caused heart awareness and body heat when I lay down, including feet. I have difficulty falling asleep and sleep fragmentation, even with sleep meds. I was wondering, has anyone tried doing the VNS right before sleep?
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019