Sleep issues - A case study Sleep issues - A case study

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Thread: Sleep issues - A case study

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    Default Sleep issues - A case study

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    This post has a two-fold purpose: 1) To try and fix my terrible sleep 2) To serve as a resource for other people that are experiencing similar issues and hopefully help them.

    Disclaimer: I am aware there are many posts on this forum about this topic and having read them all, hope to condense much of the useful information I have found from them to one resource.

    Some background info:
    M 25 6' 218 Currently running a 4-day compressed Texas Method after re-running LP post-covid.
    Lifts are not particularly related to this but for anyone's curiosity - SQ 5x370 DL 5x400 BP 5x270 Press 2x190. Training for 4 years, serious about strength acquisition for ~2. ~3500-4000 calories/day 220g P

    Serious sleep issues began 1.5 years ago around which a close family member passed, I moved away from hometown/family for university, and decided to prepare to enter a competitive professional school (medical). The closeness of these events to the sleep issues beginning makes it difficult to discern which - if any - contribute to the sleep issues and general anxiety I have. I average probably 5-6.5 hours/night, wake up frequently (perhaps once to urinate and the rest for no apparent reason), and am generally groggy in the mornings. I can get quite tired - to the point of nearly falling down while standing up - but when I go to lay down I cannot "seal the deal" and my mind races for hours. I have made pretty consistent progress in my training despite this, which I primarily attribute to stubbornness and discovering an old thread on a similar topic where Rip advised to overeat/caffeinate before training to counteract these effects.

    Things I have tried: Melatonin 10 mg did nothing 20 mg had an adverse effect. OTC sleep aids will work for perhaps 1-2 days and my body will become accustomed to them and they will no longer work/cause extreme lethargy the next day. Klonopin does the same. Ambien can help with the sleep but I am quite useless the next day and I am worried about dependence on pharmaceuticals plus long-term side effects. Generally good sleep hygiene has marginally improved sleep but not dramatically - getting up at the same time everyday, dark room, ear plugs, limiting liquids before bed, training early in the day (when possible) and avoiding caffeine later in the day (when possible). Traditional therapy has proven largely pointless. The Amazon product Dodow - which trains proper breathing patterns by showing a contracting/expanding light on your ceiling - had no effect. I read in some article on sleep habits for weightlifting performance that planning the next day in your mind while laying down is useful, and it surprisingly helps me a bit.

    Things I plan to alter one at a time to determine efficacy: I have read on other posts where micro-dosing melatonin is more beneficial for some people than regular dosing. Sleep restriction - not allowing yourself to try and go to bed until midnight or so ( to force your body to become tired enough for sleep I guess?) was useful for another fellow. Stimulant-free pre-workout (i.e. no caffeine) has been reported to be useful, especially for later in the day training sessions. Memory foam mattresses apparently collect heat so I can try to remove mine, although the wife is not a fan of this so we'll see. Nasal strips to potentially help clogged sinuses at night. Reading a boring book after not being able to sleep for 30 minutes or so.

    Will begin changing a variable and report back.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Have you addressed screen time?

  3. #3
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    Sep 2018
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    11

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    It will help to reflect on how your meta-cognitive vigilance is an adaptation that is essential to the way you succeed. What are you gonna do about Doc? Here is a pro tip: think about it in the daytime.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Santana View Post
    Have you addressed screen time?
    Yes I have just forgot to mention it. No screens 1 hour before bed and I have one of those light filters on my phone if I do have to set an alarm or something last minute.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    9/11:

    Night 1 a partial failure due to deviation from the plan. Went out boozing until 2am with an old friend. Slept from ~2am-~8am with no waking up during the night until the dog woke me up and I feel decent all things considered. Changes were a louder box fan for ambient noise and excessive amounts of Maker's Mark. Perhaps I'm onto something here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
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    8

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    Quote Originally Posted by shawns32428 View Post
    This post has a two-fold purpose: 1) To try and fix my terrible sleep 2) To serve as a resource for other people that are experiencing similar issues and hopefully help them.

    Disclaimer: I am aware there are many posts on this forum about this topic and having read them all, hope to condense much of the useful information I have found from them to one resource.

    Some background info:
    M 25 6' 218 Currently running a 4-day compressed Texas Method after re-running LP post-covid.
    Lifts are not particularly related to this but for anyone's curiosity - SQ 5x370 DL 5x400 BP 5x270 Press 2x190. Training for 4 years, serious about strength acquisition for ~2. ~3500-4000 calories/day 220g P

    Serious sleep issues began 1.5 years ago around which a close family member passed, I moved away from hometown/family for university, and decided to prepare to enter a competitive professional school (medical). The closeness of these events to the sleep issues beginning makes it difficult to discern which - if any - contribute to the sleep issues and general anxiety I have. I average probably 5-6.5 hours/night, wake up frequently (perhaps once to urinate and the rest for no apparent reason), and am generally groggy in the mornings. I can get quite tired - to the point of nearly falling down while standing up - but when I go to lay down I cannot "seal the deal" and my mind races for hours. I have made pretty consistent progress in my training despite this, which I primarily attribute to stubbornness and discovering an old thread on a similar topic where Rip advised to overeat/caffeinate before training to counteract these effects.

    Things I have tried: Melatonin 10 mg did nothing 20 mg had an adverse effect. OTC sleep aids will work for perhaps 1-2 days and my body will become accustomed to them and they will no longer work/cause extreme lethargy the next day. Klonopin does the same. Ambien can help with the sleep but I am quite useless the next day and I am worried about dependence on pharmaceuticals plus long-term side effects. Generally good sleep hygiene has marginally improved sleep but not dramatically - getting up at the same time everyday, dark room, ear plugs, limiting liquids before bed, training early in the day (when possible) and avoiding caffeine later in the day (when possible). Traditional therapy has proven largely pointless. The Amazon product Dodow - which trains proper breathing patterns by showing a contracting/expanding light on your ceiling - had no effect. I read in some article on sleep habits for weightlifting performance that planning the next day in your mind while laying down is useful, and it surprisingly helps me a bit.

    Things I plan to alter one at a time to determine efficacy: I have read on other posts where micro-dosing melatonin is more beneficial for some people than regular dosing. Sleep restriction - not allowing yourself to try and go to bed until midnight or so ( to force your body to become tired enough for sleep I guess?) was useful for another fellow. Stimulant-free pre-workout (i.e. no caffeine) has been reported to be useful, especially for later in the day training sessions. Memory foam mattresses apparently collect heat so I can try to remove mine, although the wife is not a fan of this so we'll see. Nasal strips to potentially help clogged sinuses at night. Reading a boring book after not being able to sleep for 30 minutes or so.

    Will begin changing a variable and report back.
    Sleep issues from my understanding are usually undigested food in the system (or eating difficult to digest foods, like most fibres), weak thyroid function (stress, lots of polyunsaturates in diet), or inadequate calories. Excessive calories can work to overcome an acute stress, obviously lead to fatness when prolonged.

    Do you eat lots of salads, starches?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    101

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    Quote Originally Posted by shawns32428 View Post
    I have read on other posts where micro-dosing melatonin is more beneficial for some people than regular dosing.
    That has been my experience too. Although I haven't had great success with melatonin, I do better with .25mg that I do with 5mg. Larger doses leave me feeling terrible the next day.


    Quote Originally Posted by shawns32428 View Post
    Sleep restriction - not allowing yourself to try and go to bed until midnight or so ( to force your body to become tired enough for sleep I guess?) was useful for another fellow.
    Another poster on here had some success with "Linear Progression for Sleep" a few years back:

    "Linear Progression" for Sleep: a trial of sleep restriction therapy

    I've been dealing with sleep issues for probably 20 years now. Usually not very serious, but every couple of years I experience a bout of insomnia where I sleep very little (maybe two hours per night) for a few weeks. It's a truly miserable experience. Presently I find that I am waking up for a couple of hours in the middle of almost every night. According to my Fitbit I am averaging about eight hours of sleep, but it is taking me about ten hours to do it.

    Like you, I've had very limited success with OTC sleep aids. I too find that they lose their effectiveness after just 1 or 2 nights. I am not even a little bit interested in prescription sleep medication. I've read that they basically anesthetize the brain and render you unconscious but don't really provide any restorative sleep. I have a friend who has been taking Ambien every night for years. Watching her is like watching Night of the Living Dead. She is going through life like a zombie.

    I've read that cognitive behavior therapy might be the best bet for serious relief - at least better than medication. I've found a few CBT apps that claim to provide some benefit, but I haven't been able to find an in-person therapist. Maybe if you live near a big city.

    Finally, nasal strips are a godsend.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2013
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawns32428 View Post
    9/11:

    Night 1 a partial failure due to deviation from the plan. Went out boozing until 2am with an old friend. Slept from ~2am-~8am with no waking up during the night until the dog woke me up and I feel decent all things considered. Changes were a louder box fan for ambient noise and excessive amounts of Maker's Mark. Perhaps I'm onto something here.
    What is your last meal before bed and do you normally drink most days of the week? 1 shot has helped me sleep in the past, more than that I sleep like shit. Lastly, do you have good blackout curtains? What is the condition of your bed?

  9. #9
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    Feb 2015
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    Finland
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    Those major life changes surely are a big factor but have you considered the possibility of sleep apnea? There is one guy at my gym who is pretty much your size and age, not fat by any means, and he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed a CPAP device. Loud snoring would be an obvious indication but some people don't even snore and still get the diagnosis. Even very short breathing obstructions at night may interrupt and badly disturb your sleep.
    I'm 49 and / 91 kg ( 200 lbs) and I have battled bad sleep since my divorce a couple of years ago, did gain some extra weight due to the stress of it all but was able drop about 6 kg (13 lbs) and got my waist to under 100 cm (40"). That took mostly care of the snoring but the sleep issues just would not go away so I had sleep tests made. It turned out the EEG showed that I might wake up dozens of times a night so the amount of restorative deep sleep was very small. Now I need a CPAP and mouthguard to keep my airways open. My sleep still isn't stellar but the apneas are gone and the amount of deep sleep doubled compared to the first test.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamies33 View Post
    Sleep issues from my understanding are usually undigested food in the system (or eating difficult to digest foods, like most fibres), weak thyroid function (stress, lots of polyunsaturates in diet), or inadequate calories. Excessive calories can work to overcome an acute stress, obviously lead to fatness when prolonged.

    Do you eat lots of salads, starches?
    I do not typically eat many salads. My diet - apart from hitting all of my macro/micronutrient goals - is pretty garbage. Typically eggs for breakfast, some sort of sandwhich + a protein shake for lunch, and some turkey/chicken for dinner. I rely on junk carb sources to hit my carb goal (400g/day) which is obviously not ideal and might be related to what you mentioned. Thanks, will try to taper them down.

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