High morning cortisol waking me up exhausted and anxious

Discussion in 'Mental Issues' started by Shrimp, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Shrimp

    Shrimp Member

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    I've been waking up between 6-7am starving, anxious and exhausted for several weeks now. I can't fall back to sleep once I'm up no matter how hard I try. I just got salivary cortisol test results back which showed high cortisol in the morning and average throughout the rest of the day. I tested as hypothyroid and I've started taking 15mg Acella thyroid under my doctor's supervision, but the morning anxiety hasn't budged, nor have my other hypo symptoms (fatigue, shortness of breath, poor digestion, cold hands/feet, acne, hair loss, depression, foggy head, orange skin etc.)

    I thought it might be hypoglycemia, but even if I have a snack of protein, fats and some carbs before bed at 11pm I'll still wake up early and anxious. I'm doing most of the Peat stuff already and have been for a few months: OJ, gelatin, niacinamide, aspirin, K, A, E, progesterone, salt. Diet is beef, lamb, eggs, bacon, grapes, melon, mango, potatoes, some cheese, ice cream and shrimp and oysters occasionally. I do a raw carrot daily, as well. I don't do much dairy at all because of acne. I try to do the bag breathing for a few minutes a few times a day, but sometimes I forget.

    Is there anything I'm missing that could be causing the high morning cortisol, or could it be that I just need more thyroid?
     
  2. j.

    j. Guest

    for sleep:

    optimize thyroid function
    don't forget the gelatin and carrot salad
    have most of your protein earlier in the day and most of your carbs and fats later in the day

    i think sodium bicarbonate can help one relax as well.
     
  3. Ray-Z

    Ray-Z Member

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    Hello, Shrimp. I have a lot of experience (pre-Peat) of awakening early with a rush of stress hormones, and I have found a simple system (based on the ideas of Peat and others) that enables me to sleep through the night pretty consistently. (Please note that I am still quite unhealthy. I think one can get decent sleep most of the time even if one is still working on fixing one's metabolism.)

    (1) Spend some time outdoors during the day, preferably in the sunshine.

    (2) Limit consumption of liquids in the last 2-3 hours before bedtime to reduce the risk of needing to urinate at night.

    (3) At bedtime, take two tablespoons of coconut oil, some carbohydrate (I use ~2 tablespoons of sugar), and at least 1/2 teaspoon of salt (washed down with small sips of water or juice).

    The coconut oil and salt are critical. If I get enough salt and coconut oil at bedtime, I can usually sleep through the night even if I don't do (1) or (2). And for me, coconut oil at bedtime beats other fats for promoting sleep.

    I take more coconut oil, salt, and sugar upon awakening to warm up quickly and banish the stress hormones.

    Hope this information helps.


    EDIT: On reflection, I significantly underestimated how much carbohydrate I consume at bedtime. 2 tablespoons of sugar is the amount I'd consume at bedtime if I had a late dinner; 3-4 tablespoons would be more typical. (I am a big guy.) But the precise amount doesn't seem to affect my sleep much.
     
  4. j.

    j. Guest

    i thought coconut oil would give you energy and wouldn't let you sleep. i'll have to experiment with it.
     
  5. Ray-Z

    Ray-Z Member

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    Feel free to correct me if I have the science wrong, but for me, coconut oil seems to provide a long-lasting store of energy that prevents a rush of stress hormones after glycogen stores have been depleted during the night.

    YMMV, of course, but coconut oil has never kept me awake. It has only helped to suppress the awful adrenaline/cortisol surges.

    Good luck, j and Shrimp.
     
  6. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

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    We actually need energy to relax. So I don't see why not use coconut oil at night. Makes sense.
     
  7. kettlebell

    kettlebell Member

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    Ray-Z's advise there is brilliant.

    +1 for that.
     
  8. Franz

    Franz Member

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    Nice topic :) Sleeping problems are my nr. 1 issue. I think I'm gonna make a coconut oil, sugar, salt mixture from which I take some before bedtime, when waking up in the middle of the night, when getting up in the morning and anytime I feel cold or stressed :D.
    What would be a good ratio for this? was thinking 7 sugar : 5 coconut oil : 1 salt.

    Proteins early in the day? why is that?

    Oh and regarding the carrot salad, I have it between breakfast and luch, that OK?
     
  9. OP
    Shrimp

    Shrimp Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, j.!

    Hi Ray-Z,

    Great, thanks for the help! I tried the coconut oil (with salt/sugar) last night but it made me nauseous and basically was like eating Vaseline. Any suggestions on how to take it? Do you need to slowly work up to two tablespoons? I normally spread about 1/2-1tbsp on baked potatoes but I'm not sure if that would be good before bed. The sugar/salt was easy to take and I'm sure it was the coconut oil that caused the upset, and just the thought of eating it straight up again is making me queasy. :lol:
     
  10. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

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    Agreed!

    Perfect! Thats usually when I have mine.
     
  11. Ray-Z

    Ray-Z Member

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    Shrimp:

    I am very sorry that the coconut oil made you ill.

    When people react badly to coconut oil, Ray Peat typically points out that unrefined coconut oil is more likely than the refined variety to cause allergic reactions. So if, by chance, you are using unrefined coconut oil, you may want to try switching.

    Your ideas are good ones. It makes sense to start with a low dose you can tolerate and try to increase slowly. Mixing the oil with food you can tolerate well also makes sense; I'd try mixing it with gelatin and lots of sugar. Potatoes are another option if you tolerate them well (subject to the usual caveats about starch).

    Good luck, Shrimp! I wish you lots of great sleep.
     
  12. Ray-Z

    Ray-Z Member

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    Kettlebell and Charlie: Thank you for your kind words. I have to credit Ray Peat and someone from the Paleo community (whose name I've forgotten) for the ideas behind this regimen.
     
  13. Birdie

    Birdie Member

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    I don't know if this would help but it sounds like ray's ice cream recipe might contain the ingredients you're after. I used to make that and eat some at bedtime. It helped me sleep.
     
  14. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

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    I have an ice cream problem. The problem is, I eat too much. :lol:
     
  15. crX

    crX Member

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    There are some really good ideas on this thread, wish I'd read them sooner. I've been having problems with falling asleep and/or waking up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts, unable to go back to sleep. I have been consistently having sugar before bed, but last night I had some salty milk right before bed too and went to sleep fairly quickly. I woke up in the middle of the night and had some more salty milk -- just a little in the bottom of a glass with about 1/8th tsp of salt, and again I fell back asleep pretty quickly. For the salt really has a calming effect!
     
  16. kettlebell

    kettlebell Member

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    Saturated fat is a big player when trying to stay asleep too. Hence the ice cream/salt combo or OJ/Coconut oil and salt combo. Works a treat!
     
  17. crX

    crX Member

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    Good point. I think I'll double the salt dose and add some coconut oil tonight and see what happens :)
     
  18. kettlebell

    kettlebell Member

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    Let us know! :):
     
  19. crX

    crX Member

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    Added some coconut oil, gelatin, and 1/4 tsp salt to my hot chocolate, and still woke up around 4:30 am. I think the problem with having liquids right before bed is that I wake up early and need to pee! I've had a lot on my mind too. What's amazing though, is that with adding close to 1 teaspoon a day of salt, my thirst has not really increased at all. I feel like maybe there is some longer term healing that needs to happen if I have really been deprived of salt for a while. I continue to be amazed at how much calmer I feel with more salt, and my eyes feel so much moister than they were.
     
  20. kettlebell

    kettlebell Member

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    Salt is amazing. I spent years drinking upwards of 5 litres a day of water with nothing else. No salt, magnesium, potassium etc.
     
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