Sleep Problems

Sleep and Vitamin B12
Sleep and Vitamin B12

7/29/2016 ~ I was going to change this to start with tried and true sleep platitudes. But, you likely already know them. So, I’m sticking with the story of my sleep woes… that no longer subvert my dreams and health.

My Sleep Woes

I barely slept at all in 1991. IRS was enforcing for 1984, despite the fact I’d paid those taxes in 1985. As IRS threats became constant I was lucky to sleep 3 hours in 24. Dalmane helped a little. As I got less sleep I had more pain, particularly in the bones of my legs and in my back. Severe pain made what little sleep I got intermittent. I felt IRS knew that it caused sleep deprivation. But I digress.

In 1997 when I was in hospital after I tried to kill myself (before my attempt I mailed 120 last letters identifying IRS as the cause of my suicide) a B12 test showed that I had “profound B12 anemia.”

Despite the test results it took a long time to get B12 shots. After I had a few B12 shots I felt better, but I always had to beg for them. Later, after a doctor wrote me a prescription for injectable B12 and a nurse showed me how to give myself a monthly shot, I discovered that I had a lot less pain. Even the bone pain in my legs went away. That helped a lot with sleep.

But, I continued to use Dalmane until I was living in my condo, 2001, and began to lose my balance and fall a lot. (I didn’t know my condo was built over a full outdoor toilet pit which accounted for hydrogen sulfide inside.) During the night when I got up to go to the bathroom, the Dalmane made it even harder to keep my balance. Because of this, doctors refused to renew my prescription.

Melatonin helps restore sleep patterns

Without Dalmane, I began using Melatonin which helps restore normal sleep patterns.

In 2011, following a back injury in October, 2010, I had a court hearing in Wells Fargo’s foreclosure against my home. (The outdoor toilet pit had cost a lot for remediation, as well as costing my health.) Preparing for the hearing took huge energy, so much that I could barely walk into court. Then, a couple weeks later I began getting calls and mailings about how I made nearly $500,000 in 2006 and hadn’t paid my taxes. It was a lie, because in reality my earnings were poverty level. But IRS had not changed its ways. It was so traumatic that I suddenly could not walk one step without my hip or knee or leg giving out. I clung to the hallway walls to get to the kitchen where the counters offered support.

After using a rolling task chair to support myself I realized I had to order a claw foot cane. Shortly after I placed my order I found reviews of something called a “rollator”. People said it worked better than a cane because the support wasn’t one-sided, so I ordered a rollator, and have been very happy.

But, in the interim the pain in my back and legs reached levels that were worse than decades ago when IRS first abused me. I had so much pain, again, that I could not sleep. During the day the pain was equally horrible. I felt as if I wasn’t getting any better because I wasn’t getting any sleep. Melatonin was no longer cutting it.

Tryptophan in eggs

Not wanting to give in to hopelessness, I researched natural sleep aids and came upon tryptophan. Prior to this I had thought of turkey as a key source of tryptophan, and had periodically eaten turkey to help me relax over a period of days. But now I heat and cook with candles, so roasting a turkey wasn’t happening..

I read that eggs have a high level of tryptophan so I had my helper buy some from free range hens. I began having two eggs scrambled in olive oil for breakfast, and another two in the evening. Within two days I was feeling less wired and sort of as if I was going to fall asleep. A few days later I was sleeping hours at a time.

Later I had an egg or two in the evening, no longer having them for breakfast. I’d got really tired of eggs despite the fact they work amazingly well at promoting normal sleep patterns. Once back to sleeping as well as I did prior to hurting my back, and prior to the extreme stress, my pain receded dramatically.

B12 in eggs

An important point is that eggs contain vitamin B12 as well as tryptophan. Eggs contain less B12 than liver, but it’s easy to eat a couple eggs a day. It’s not easy to eat liver more than once, maybe twice a month. In actual fact I haven’t had liver in years.

Compare one slice of liver, having about 47 micrograms of B12, to two eggs a day, together having 1.2 micrograms of B12 which is 36 micrograms a month. (The first two weeks I ate four eggs a day, collectively giving me 33.6 mcg of B12.) For me there’s no contest as to which is easier to keep on hand, cook and eat: Eggs!

While the amount of vitamin B12 in eggs is minute in contrast to the typical 1,000 micrograms in a popular methylcobalamin lozenge, if you eat eggs before your B12 level drops, they help your body stay healthy. Think of it like oil in a car: a single can of oil is minimal, but if the oil runs out the engine can be ruined. Similarly, as long as the B12 that is in all of your tissue doesn’t run out, your body works well. But if your B12 is depleted, which happens quickly if you aren’t sleeping properly, you face serious nerve problems.

My feeling is that if I had known in 1991 what I know now about vitamin B12, I could have used enough B12 to avoid the long term nerve problems that plague me today to such an extent it’s hard to do minor things like bending to garden, or walking normally without a rolling walker.

If you are under a lot of stress, perhaps you can’t get it together to make yourself two eggs for breakfast, but what about making them for yourself for an evening snack?

As an aside, I found the eggs to be so filling that I ate less overall and I’ve lost weight despite hardly being able to walk.

Sleep, Vitamin B12 and Light

Light features in vitamin B12 research related to sleep because reduced, poorly timed or limited access to light disrupts our circadian rhythms, or “body clock” which in turn disrupts waking, sleeping, concentration, emotion, appetite.

Too little time in natural daylight causes sleeplessness, Winter Blues, fatigue, increased appetite and diminished sex drive. It is well known that reduced exposure to light corresponds to an increase in the rate of depression.

Because I had depression prior to having B12 replacement I felt it wise to buy Full Spectrum lights for winter use. In fact, I never went back to incandescent lights. And, I love how my plants are so much better able to grow with the Full Spectrum “Daylight” bulbs. (This is NOT to say I can grow veggies using them.)

A small avocado tree I bought needed more light so I experimented with tin foil, which I’d read increases light for plants. But, you can imagine how that looked.

More decorative reflective wall covering came with very high prices. Then I found Orca Grow Film Reflective Wall Covering which was designed hydroponics.

I ordered some to see how it worked. Once I saw how it looks and how much light it reflects, I ordered more.

Light from Orca vs white paint
Light from Orca vs white paint

The picture shows some of my full spectrum lights in use with the Orca Reflective Wall Covering. You can see what a lot more light there is than on the adjacent white painted surface. (Just to be clear, the white paint is pinkish.)

My room feels completely different with the Orca. It reminds me of when I lived in London and my friend, who was from San Francisco, and I used to get so excited when the sun came out. England is a tad cloudy, especially in comparison to New Mexico where I live now.


Research re Sleep and Vitamin B12

B12, Shift Work and Jet Lag ~ A temporal discrepancy between the sleep-wake cycle and the daily structure of the surrounding social network are characteristic for chronobiological sleep disturbances. Activity rhythms that are in abnormal relation to the environment can arise either from external causes such as shift-work or jet-lag. Recently developed treatment approaches such as bright light, the pineal hormone melatonin and vitamin B12 have provided promising results. Chronobiological sleep disorders and their treatment possibilities Ther Umsch (Switzerland) Oct., 1993.

Immediate Sleep Improvement using methylcobalamin ~ Two adolescent patients suffering from persistent sleep-wake schedule disorders appear to have responded to treatment with vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). Neither patient showed any laboratory or clinical evidence of vitamin B12 deficiency or hypothyroidism. The improvement of the sleep-wake rhythm disorders appeared immediately after administration of 3,000 micrograms/day of methylcobalamin. Treatment of persistent sleep-wake schedule disorders in adolescents with methylcobalamin Sleep Oct., 1991.

B12 and Sleep-Wake Entrainment ~ Vitamin B12 was administered to two patients suffering for many years from different sleep-wake rhythm disorders. One patient was a 15-year-old. Shortly after administration of B12 at the daily dose of 1.5 mg t.i.d, her sleep-wake rhythm was entrained to the environmental 24-h rhythm, and her 24-h sleep-wake rhythm was maintained while she was on the medication. Within 2 months of the withholding B12, her free-running sleep-wake rhythm reappeared. The serum B12 level was within the normal range both before and after treatment. The other patient was a 55-year-old man suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome since 18 years of age. After administration of B12 at the daily doses of 1.5 mg, his sleep-wake rhythm disorder was improved. Vitamin B12 treatment for sleep-wake rhythm disorders. Sleep Feb., 1990.

B12 Normalizes Sleep-Wake Rhythm ~ Administration of vitamin B12 has been reported to normalize human sleep-wake rhythm disorders. Study results suggest that B12 affects the mechanisms implicated in non-photic entrainment of circadian rhythms in mice. Vitamin B12 affects non-photic entrainment of circadian locomotor activity rhythms in mice Brain Research (Netherlands) 1996.

B12 Normalizes Entrainment/Synchronization of biological clock ~ Vitamin B12 has been reported to normalize the entrainment (synchronization or alignment of the internal biological clock rhythm, including its phase and period, to external time cues, such as the natural dark-light cycle) of circadian rhythms in the non-24-h sleep wake cycle and delayed sleep phase insomnia in humans. The purpose of this work was to clarify whether the peripheral administration of VB12 has any sleep-promoting effect on the sleep-wake rhythm in freely moving rats. Findings suggest that peripherally infused B12 has promoting effects on the rat’s sleep, especially in the light period. Effects of intravenously administered vitamin B12 on sleep in the rat. Physiol Behav June, 1995.

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