I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.
I FINALLY DID IT! Sleeping through the night, every night! If you’ve suffered from insomnia you know that you feel fearful when you go to sleep at night, fearful that you’ll wake up at 3 in the morning, then lay there for 3 hours before finally catching another 30 minutes of sleep, or just deciding to get up for the day. UGH, no fun.
You have to grab naps or caffeine to get through life. Your face sags with fatigue. Your brain doesn’t work as well. Your body doesn’t heal as well. You have bursts of irrational grumpiness.
Our poor bodies! It’s no wonder: we need sleep! Yet despite this need, insomnia affects 1/3 of all Americans, being the most complained about condition! And yet, most doctors don’t offer helpful solutions. Many Americans take prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids that have side effects.
For some the cause is partly due to all the trashy foods we are loath to give up and our overuse of antibiotics, (thus compromised digestive tracts), the crazy busy lives we lead, and our late night love of media.
Insomnia starts for many with the onset of other autoimmune related issues. It is more common with women, who deal with hormone variations more often than men do.
It’s taken me over ten years (having babies can bring on insomnia) to find a solution and I’m SO thankful to have arrived.
And the coolest bonus? After sleeping well initially, with both aids that I’ll explain below, I took myself off of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that shouldn’t be used long term. And although it doesn’t work well for everyone, it was helpful to me and had become a necessity. But no more!
Here’s how I do it and I hope it will work for you too.
It’s a two-part (or three part) deal: animal sourced adrenal extract pills and sleeping on a grounding sheet.
Regarding animal sourced adrenals, they are based in ancient wisdom: take from the animal what we are lacking in ourselves. Ancient healers did this with tissue extracts.
When our adrenals are extremely fatigued, herbs are not enough. Herbs alone are powerful and dramatic in certain healing scenarios, but not, in my experience, when this condition has reached its height. (The wrong herbs, however, can be harmful to our adrenals.) Adrenal supporting herbs help to balance and support systems. But if all of our systems and glands, (digestive, hormonal, thyroid, adrenal), are out of whack we need more than gentle balancing and support. We need an infusion, a shot of the actual adrenal gland itself.
Adrenal supplementation should not be ongoing. But it can be prescribed intermittently for recurring adrenal fatigue that is not easily resolved. The goal is to assist and bolster, not take over the hormonal controls of the body.*
These extracts are used to replenish and eventually normalize adrenal function. An advantage over cortisol hormone replacement is that adrenal cortical extracts can be discontinued once they have done their job of repairing adrenal function.
I was put on bovine adrenal extract after having my first baby, when my cortisol (a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands) levels began spiking at 3 am. The pills worked immediately and with full success. My naturopath at the time had me take the adrenals for two months and then stop. I continued to sleep great. The supplementation jump-started my body back into functioning properly.
But over the years, with more babies and decreasing general health, my adrenals were constantly over-taxed and the extract, which I had reintroduced, wasn’t enough. It helped but it wasn’t helping every night. I began taking melatonin as well, dead set against over-the-counter pills, but knowing I needed to sleep to decrease inflammation and for general healing to happen.
About this time I acquired a beef allergy, due to my leaky gut and eating beef so often during my third pregnancy. 99 out of 100 adrenal supplements are bovine-sourced! UGH.
I finally found a porcine-based adrenal, well sourced and extremely effective.
My sleep improved considerably but I still suffered during certain weeks of my cycle, way too much wakefulness!
And then I learned about grounding, bought the half sheet I’d read about, and experienced first hand how effective this method is for rebooting the body for rest! I have not had one night of insomnia since I bought the sheet, using the two solutions in conjunction with one another! I have had the sheet for one month so I have yet to see how the program works for me in the long run. (*Update, it is now about 10 months after this post was originally written and I am sleeping better than ever. I not only sleep through the middle of the night, I now can sleep in a bit, until 6 or 6:30 am! I am getting 8 hours of sleep at night! This is huge for me. My body used to wake up at 4:30 am most mornings.)
I did have one night of compromised sleep when I reordered my pills too late and went one day without them! It is my conclusion that both pieces are needed to complete the whole sleep puzzle.
A pilot study, published in 2004, focused on cortisol and sleep disturbances in 12 people suffering from stress, pain, and sleep problems. The subjects slept on a conductive mattress grounded to Earth every night for an 8-week period. Compared with baseline measurements, their average cortisol levels improved significantly, with circadian patterns showing a clear trend toward normalization…On average, the patients showed a 54% reduction in midnight cortisol levels, and a 34% increase in 8 AM levels... Subjectively, they reported better sleep and less pain and stress.
What would this study have looked like if the participants also supplemented with adrenal extract? Well, I’m living testimony! The combination of adrenals and grounding has shown a huge reduction in my cortisol spikes, maybe 85-90%? I occasionally wake up and go back to sleep, but not most nights. (I’m not all hooked up to be officially tested; but this is my impression, a rough guess.)
Now, for the sourcing of adrenals!
Here are the brands that I have used, recommended by the naturopathic doctors I’ve seen. They have all “worked” for me. I have also listed the porcine-based adrenal I take, for those of you who have beef allergies.
Thorne Cortrex Adrenal (This contains bovine adrenal extract as well as nutrients that support the function of the adrenal glands and cortisol production.)
Dr. Wilson’s Porcine-based Adrenal Rebuilder (This product actually contains multiple glands. I take the maximum dosage. This is not an affiliate link. It is expensive but well worth it, in my opinion, if you are allergic to beef.)
Have you taken animal-sourced adrenals?
Have they helped you?
What about a grounding sheet?
Just think, you can beat insomnia! It’s possible. If this tired body found success, I believe you can too.
Two helpful disclaimers holisticprimarycare.net adds regarding grounding include the following:
During lightning storms, Earthing appliances should be disconnected from power outlets or dedicated ground rods, just as one would want to disconnect all electrical appliances. When lightning strikes close to one’s home, admittedly a rare phenomenon, all appliances can receive a high power surge.
Clinicians should carefully monitor individuals who take medication to thin blood, regulate blood sugar, control blood pressure, or regulate hormone levels, since the regular practice of Earthing may affect all of these—for the better.
WHAT ABOUT MAINTENANCE, AFTER THE ADRENALS ARE WEANED?
When a patient no longer needs to supplement with animal adrenal extract, there are a few approaches to supporting not only the thyroid and adrenals, but also the pituitary and hypothalamus glands, the glands that help to monitor the thyroid. These vitamins and adaptogens can be used long term, and also help to regulate stress levels. Here are a few that I have experience with, that I recommend you ask your doctor about:
Metagenics Cortico-B5B6 (For added adrenal support and better energy, this is a great supplement. It is not a glandular extract but can work in conjunction with it to provide hormonal balance. Both my daughter (age 14) and I have taken this product with noticeable benefits. It can be used during and as you phase off of glandular extract for added support. Click the link to see the ingredients.)
Interplexus Seriphos (This product takes a different approach by calming the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. It is vegetarian and works great in conjunction with glandular extract. Some individuals get relief from insomnia or improved sleep with this product alone. It can be used during and as you phase off of glandular extract for added support.)
Metagenics Adreset (For added adrenal support and better energy, this is a great supplement. It is not a glandular extract but works in conjunction with it to provide hormonal balance. Some individuals get relief from insomnia or increased energy with this product alone or by using it long term in conjunction with Seriphos.)
Cheers, Friends, sweet dreams.
*I should note here, too, that some medical doctors, like Andrew Weil, advise against the use of adrenals, fearing they may do some harm to the body’s hormonal balance. I actually disagree with Dr. Weil on many issues and find it harder to respect doctors’ advice for insomnia when they themselves haven’t suffered from it, nor are they providing a solution that does work. But I love dialoguing and presenting both sides of a discussion; so it’s one piece to consider. We should be cautious with supplements and I appreciate his concern and warning.
Note: It is often best to take adrenals and adaptogens in the morning or before midday.
Here’s where to buy a grounding sheet. This is a queen fitted sheet which I would buy if I could choose over again, knowing now how effective the method is. However, you can also buy a half sheet if you have a king size bed or to make a slightly smaller initial investment.