Insomnia means trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Some people fall asleep easily but wake up frequently due to nightmares, pain or having to urinate. Others canít fall asleep. And some canít fall asleep or stay asleep. It is important to find the cause of your insomnia, else remedies are a waste of money.
Most people who come to me complain of insomnia as one of their many problems. Most insomniacs are easily helped with enzyme and thyroid support. Since low thyroid function is probably the most common nutritional cause of insomnia, taking a thyroid glandular will remediate it.
Among the many insomniacs I have seen there is a minority group who cannot be helped with any form of enzyme or thyroid support. From my research, I developed the following questionnaire, which is self-explanatory. You can take this test yourself and see which enzyme formula you need! The enzyme or food supplements are listed beneath each question.
The Insomnia Survey
Put a #3 if the symptom is severe, a #1 if it is not severe and leave it blank if you donít have it.
1) My oral temperature is less than 98.6-99 degrees F during the day and my resting pulse is less than 85 beats per minute during the day. I have trouble sleeping and am sometimes a night owl. No matter how long I sleep, I wake up exhausted _____
You need thyroid glandular.
2) For men: My sleep is interrupted by frequent night time urination _____
You need Mal, 2-4 caps with or between meals 3x/d.
3) For women: Hot flashes wake me up during the night _____
You need: Thyroid glandular, natural oral progesterone oil (10%) in natural vitamin E
4) I canít sleep because I am too anxious. I sigh a lot and worry a lot _____
You need: TRMA, 4 caps between meals 3x/d and pregnenolone.
5) I have trouble falling asleep because I am nervous _____
You need CLM, 2-4 caps for relaxation.
6) I fall asleep but canít stay asleep. I wake up after only a few hours of sleep _____
You need Adr, 4 caps before bed and upon awakening plus thyroid glandular.
7) I cannot fall asleep because I cannot stop thinking or relax _____
You need SvG, 4 caps before bed to relax the mind and stop racing thoughts.
8) Leg cramps (restless leg syndrome) and/or a dry night cough awaken me at night.
You need Para, an enzyme formula containing calcium, 2-4 caps 3/d.
9) I am restless at night due to muscular problems. I also have muscle pain and stiffness following exercise or staying in the same position for long periods. I get writerís cramp. _____
You need OSTEO 4 caps before bed and as needed for stiff, sore muscles plus thyroid glandular.
10) I have symptoms of parasites which keep me awake at night - restlessness, itching around the rectum or groin, gnawing of teeth, etc. _____
You need Challenge Food Powder, one level tbsp in water in the am and the pm.
11) I cannot sleep because I am in pain and it keeps me awake at night. _____
There is no single remedy for this. It depends on the cause of the pain. Is it pain due to an injury, arthritic pain, kidney pain, an ulcer? Since injuries are a broad category, I cannot give you specific formulas but I can list obvious remedies for specific conditions: (of course pain is often a warning that you may have a medical condition and should consult a physician).
OSTEO: Indications for needing OSTEO include: history of osteoarthritis or gout, musculoskeletal pain, difficulty walking, bone or joint pain in the spine, hips, knees, feet or hands; stiff joints or stiff/sore muscles; diagnosed with fibromyalgia; inflammation of any kind (fever, redness, swelling or pain). Dosage: 4-6 caps with or between meals 3x/d.
IVD: Conditions requiring IVD: broken or factured bones, gout, TMJ headaches, any kind of vertebral pain, disc problems including a herniated disc and TMJ headaches and a slow reaction time or the inability to concentrate. Dosage: 4 caps 3-5x/d until plus chiropractic. Maintain on 2 caps 3x/d.
Sym: For upper cervical problems (C1 or atlas, C2, C3). Indications of upper cervical problems requiring Sym may include: dizziness, seizures, stroke, hypertension, severe headaches, stiff/sore neck, and sometimes constipation and severe digestive problems. Dosage: 4 caps 3-5x/d to relieve pain and 2 caps 3x/d to hold adjustments.
TRMA: a general pain and anti-anxiety formula. Relieves edema (water retention) due to injury. Dosage: 4 caps 3-4 x/d beween meals.
12) I canít sleep but canít figure out why _____
The people in this category are the ones who most frequently tell me they are going to jump off the bridge. Why? Because, by this time, they have corrected their digestion, their colon problems, their thyroid function, their PMS or whatever and they still cannot sleep. These people have a definite structural problem. Ruling out other causes of injury, such as breaking a leg or an arm, the most common structural cause of insomnia is a problem in the upper cervical vertebrae, (C1 or atlas, C2, C3). This almost always follows a head injury of some kind. My research in this area led me back to Loomis, who recognized and diagnosed this problem in patients in this category. The enzyme formula for this problem is Thera-zyme Sym but in addition to this remedy, the patient also needs a chiropractor who can properly adjust the atlas, else his insomnia will not go away. Many people who need this formula arenít aware of their problem because it hasnít been diagnosed.
Insomnia Stories: Physiological and Structural Causes
The Woman Who Couldnít Gain Weight or Sleep
This is the story of an 80-year old woman who came to me because she had been damaged by drugs prescribed for ulcerative colitis. She said ď I am so weak, it is hard to get dressed. I am getting weaker as each week goes by.Ē She said that she had been under extreme stress since 1980 and it had gotten worse. My major concern was her weight. When I met her, she weighed only 83 pounds and was 5í tall. She had to sit on a donut pillow to protect herself from pain. During the next two years, I treated her for many conditions, including infections, stomach problems, two falls from which she miraculously recovered, and other problems too numerous to mention. I never really thought about her insomnia. Why should I, when she had so many other problems and did not even list insomnia as one of her complaints.
My program emphasized digestion, weight gain and thyroid and progesterone support. Over the next two years, she had many ups and downs, but she always rallied. Then, two years after her initial visit, she came to my office. She lives in New York and I in Oregon, so this in itself was quite a feat. I could hardly recognize her. She had gained weight. She looked about ten years younger and sported a new hair style. I gave her whatever enzyme formulas that she needed at the time of my testing. But, what I remember most about her is that she kept saying how her insomnia was cured and that she got a good nightís sleep every night. This is the direct result of improving her thyroid function plus good digestion.
The Man Who Couldnít Sleep Because of Pain
A 75-year old man came into my office. His major problems included asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis, shingles and low thyroid function. An accident had forced him to have his left knee replacement surgery but he was still in pain. At night a throbbing pain in his knee plus pain from his right hip to his ankle would awaken him. In addition, he had a severe case of painful shingles on his legs, arms and the back of his neck of four years duration. His history included other forms of herpes in addition to the shingles, including chicken pox and canker sores. In this story, I will emphasize how his pain was reduced. For the arthritis, I recommended thyroid glandular and Thera-zyme OSTEO. I recommended Thera-zyme Mal for his prostate problems. For his shingles I recommended Thera-zyme DERM (high in amylase) and Thera-zyme Lvr. In three weeks he called me to report that his asthma was under control and that his arthritis and shingles were much better. He said that the throbbing pain in his knee which jarred him awake at night, had disappeared. The pains radiating from his hip to his ankle were better. Also, he reported that he only had one small area left with shingles. He said, ďpain use to wake me up at night. Now, it doesnít.Ē
The Woman Who Sighed Herself Awake
A 50-year old vivacious woman with curly blonde hair came to me for enzymes to relieve her anxiety. She told me, ď I sigh myself and my husband awake every night.Ē Although this was her major complaint, she also had bleeding gums and was taking high doses of sodium ascorbate to no avail. A urinalysis revealed the classic anxiety pattern, namely excess alkaline reserves and low calcium. A person who cannot digest protein will eventually become alkaline, because there are not enough acid reserves to carry calcium in the blood. Calcium losses begin and continue until the blood starts taking calcium from the cells and from the bones. This sets the stage for osteoporosis. The greater the anxiety, the greater the sighing. This womanís urine also showed the need for a high protease formula, common in people who cannot digest protein. Many of these people are vegetarians, but they canít digest the protein in vegetables either. In addition, the urine test showed a vitamin C deficiency, common in people who take high doses of ascorbates or ascorbic acid. I gave this woman an enzyme to help her increase protein digestion (Thera-zyme Bil) plus an enzyme to help relieve her anxiety (Thera-zyme TRMA), an enzyme-calcium formula (Thera-zyme Para) and an enzyme formula containing a food high in vitamin C without any ascorbates (Thera-zyme Opt). The results were profound. The woman stopped sighing, her urine pH became normal and her gums stopped bleeding. She slowly weaned herself of the ascorbic acid supplement, while continuing the enzyme-vitamin C formula.
The Man Who Couldnít Sleep Because a Tree Fell on His Head
Over the past two years, I had five people in whom all of their symptoms disappeared except their insomnia. All of them made frightening comments about jumping off the bridge or ending it all. Even though these people were relieved of their digestive problems, colon problems, allergies or whatever, insomnia remained and kept them from feeling good. All of these people resorted to toxic drugs for sleep, including Halcion, Amitriptyline, Melatonin and Valium. I referred one of them to Dr. Loomis. His story is below. His story is a graphic illustration of how structural problems cause insomnia. The details of the atlas problem were given to me by Loomis himself. In fact, he wrote up the structural part of this case and it is published in The American Journal of Chiropractic.
A tall, thin, handsome 40-year old man named Ed came to my Oregon office from Montana, where he resided with his wife and five children. He was depressed but hopeful enough to drive all this distance. He told me, ďI have spent $10,000 and have been to many doctors, including those at the Mayo Clinic but none of them have diagnosed me. The only thing they offered me was Valium and other tranquilizers and anti-depressants. I had to get treatment for Valium addiction.Ē He had so many symptoms that his insomnia was not even discussed during our first visit. It only came to light when other, more acute conditions were corrected. His list of symptoms included:
- Chronic pain and swelling in the lower left abdominal quadrant which worsens after eating and when lying down for which doctors suggested surgery. This chronic pain and swelling was accompanied by diarrhea, bloating and gas.
- Completely incapacitating weak spells lasting about one hour, aggravated by exercise and characterized by a sudden rise in blood pressure, increased pulse (130) and pounding heart. Eating relieved these spells but they kept coming back.
- Very low thyroid function accompanied by many symptoms, including a low oral temperature and pulse, weight loss, insomnia, depression, morning headaches, heart palpitations, panic attacks, digestive problems and a history of asthma.
- Prostate problems causing frequent urination, an additional factor in the insomnia but not the major one.
I knew that low thyroid function leads to excess adrenalin and that adrenalin rushes can cause weak spells with racing pulse and high blood pressure and can lead to panic attacks. This worsens during exercise when the blood sugar drops. But his case was the most severe I had ever encountered because there was an underlying structural problem which would remain undiagnosed until he went to Loomis. My health history questionnaire asks the person to list accidents. Ed listed ďnone.Ē I guess that he was so bothered by all of his other symptoms that he temporarily forgot about the tree that fell on his head ten years prior. I asked him how long he had been sick. He answered, ďten years.
I did the urine test. This plus his health history and other tests showed the cause of most of his problems. I said, ďEd, you are not crazy, you have severe enzyme deficiencies. I would have guessed it from the lower left abdominal pain and the diarrhea alone but all the other tests confirm this as well. Your tests show sugar intolerance, a common cause of diarrhea, prostate problems, vitamin C deficiency, a toxic colon, adrenal insufficiency and low thyroid function.Ē Doctors were considering colon surgery to remove the lower left part of his colon. I asked, ďif you go to the doctor during a time when there is no pain or swelling, what will they remove?Ē I asked him to give enzyme therapy a month before making a decision to have surgery, but told him I did not want him to delay medical attention if an acute condition developed.
I gave him the following formulas:
- Thera-zyme PAN for sugar intolerance, a major cause of diarrhea.
- Thera-zyme IrB, formulated for irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.
- Thera-zyme Nsl, a vitamin C, antioxidant enzyme formula.
- Thera-zyme Mal, a prostate formula.
- Thera-zyme Kdy, an allergy formula.
- Thera-zyme TRMA, an anti-anxiety formula.
- Thyroid glandular
- Pregnenolone to help reduce his anxiety and boost his immune system.
The first healing result was that his diarrhea disappeared in one day. It took several weeks for the lower left quadrant pain to disappear but this gradually subsided. He didnít have to consider surgery. His weak spells lessened but they did not disappear. They came and went. Now, his major complaints were his weak spells and insomnia. I tried all of the enzyme insomnia formulas listed above. None worked, although some gave temporary relief. His thyroid gland improved and his temperature rose. Normally this would cure insomnia but his insomnia remained. It was at this point that he went to Loomis. Dr. Loomis explained both the weak spells and the insomnia, and why enzymes and thyroid alone didnít work. Here is what he told me, translated from a chiropractorís words into my own, which may make a chiropractor smile!
He told me that Edís insomnia was due to a severe atlas fixation resulting from the tree accident and a football injury. This explained why ameliorating his enzyme deficiencies and his thyroid problem didnít help him sleep. But how can a head injury and a fixated atlas cause sleep problems? Edís fixated atlas led to an unbalanced autonomic nervous system with pronounced sympathetic dominance and decreased parasympathetic balance due to an inflamed vegas nerve. The sympathetic nervous system controls flight or fight reactions. It is what enables a tiny woman to lift a car up to release her son pinned beneath. The parasympathetic nervous system controls relaxation and sleep. When the vegas nerve cannot be stimulated, there is not enough parasympathetic balance to offset the sympathetic nervous system. This can lead to exactly the same symptoms as the low thyroid-excess adrenalin syndrome and severe insomnia. Ed had both this condition and low thyroid. Fixing his thyroid function was only one part of the problem.
Loomis said that probably all structural causes of insomnia involving the atlas are causally related to head injuries. He said that this problem is very common in football players but he had seen only one other atlas fixation as severe as Edís. He told me the following story, to illustrate the effect of head injuries on insomnia. This happened to a 68-year old raccoon hunter in Missouri. (I didnít know that people killed raccoons!) In Missouri, raccoon hunters wear a minerís hat with a light. The light exposes the raccoonís eyes. The man shot the raccoon but it didnít fall out of the tree, which is what they usually do. The man went up to the tree and shook it, causing the raccoon to fall right on top of his head. Despite the minorís hat, the man got a severe atlas fixation.
Back to Ed. Loomis said that he had had this problem for so long that he would need more than one adjustment and needed to go to a chiropractor who was an expert in adjusting the atlas. Ed chose a doctor who developed an instrument to adjust the atlas and has been doing these adjustments for 48 years. He did specific tests, including a temperature sensor test and x-rays to determine if the atlas was misaligned and which way to move it. Using his small machine, he did the atlas adjustment and then monitored the spinal cord to see the results. Ed felt immediate relief. He told me that he felt much stronger, could sleep better and in fact, felt well enough to travel extensively and start a new business. A great achievement for a man who was disabled and could not work.
Excited after this conversation, I called my other four insomniacs and asked them if they had had a head injury. All of them replied yes and all had had more than one injury. So, if you balance your body chemistry, improve your digestion, eat a good diet, heal your thyroid gland and you still cannot sleep even though pain does not awaken you, check out your atlas with a qualified chiropractor. Other symptoms of an atlas problem in addition to insomnia and severe spells of weakness include: severe headaches in the back of the head and neck or radiation to the forehead or behind the eyes, easily startled by sudden sounds, inability to think clearly, stiff joints and loss of joint mobility.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease. They are intended for nutritional support only. The FTC requires that we tell you that the results in case notes and testimonials published here are not typical, however, they do show what some people have been able to achieve. Individuals vary, which is why we must always consider the whole person when recommending a course of action. The third party information referred to herein is neither adopted nor endorsed by this web site but is provided for general information purposes. The listing of specific disease terms is based upon medical literature and is not a substitute for competent medical advice. If you suspect a medical condition, you should consult a physician.
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Lita Lee, Ph.D.