insomina, anxiety, natural treatments for insomnia, natural treatments for anxiety, Kavinace

I had a nervous breakdown a few years ago. Insomnia was the reason.

It got so bad I started looking for microscopic “bugs” on my skin every night with a magnifying glass. I was convinced little white “bugs” were biting and crawling all over me.

I was slowly going mad.

The bug sensation I later learned, was a reaction to changing hormones and anxiety caused by insomnia (for more on what causes this weird bug crawling sensation read this).

Sleep deprivation is a well-known form of torture. Without sleep to restore your daily mind-body balance, you no longer feel connected to yourself. 

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For five months I read hundreds of pages of research, expert articles and online forums. It was all good advice, but it didn’t work. 

Keep a regular sleep schedule

Cut out caffeine

If you can’t fall asleep or wake up, get out of bed and read in another room so you don’t associate your bed with sleep anxiety. 

Meditate.  

Listen to soothing music.

Listen to sleep inducing hypnotic-like music.

Don’t read or watch scary overstimulating books and movies at night

Wear eye plugs and an eye mask

Self-hypnotize (picture yourself slowly walking down down down steps while you count backwards)

Try emotional freedom technique (tapping)

Don’t turn on the light or get on any screens which decreases melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Get your hormones balanced. Peri and full menopause can cause insomnia (I already knew my hormone levels and was on bioidentical HRT).

Quiet the mind by replacing racing ruminating thoughts with soothing images

Take a warm shower.

Try supplements (melatonin is always at the top of the list)

Try an anti-histamine (made me more awake).

Try herbs (Valarian, Hops, Kava Kava, etc).

Try sleeping pills for a short time.

Go to a sleep lab to test for sleep apnea (I did and apparently my brain waves showed I move in and out of sleep “perfectly” according to the doctor).

 

So I turned to vodka at 3am.  Then I prayed begged and sobbed.

Months of sleepless nights followed by exhausted anxious depressed emotionally unbalanced days and I felt like I was always sleep walking, but without the benefits of sleep. 

Nothing worked. Or nothing worked without nasty side effects that were as bad if not worse than not sleeping (Ambien hangovers are mean, just plain mean).

I’ve never had problems falling asleep. Fifteen minutes after reading even the most exciting titillating book and I would still zonk out. But every once in a while I’d wake-up in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back to sleep for hours.

Of course this happens to everyone.

Racing thoughts, worry, anxiety, hot flashes, depression, persisent pain or sometimes for no reason, you’re just wide awake.

I didn’t worry too much about my middle-of-the-night insomnia until it started to happen more often and then I had trouble falling asleep.

Bedtime was the enemy. By 8 or 9 I could feel my anxiety and panic creep in which of course stressed me out which in turn, made it even harder to fall asleep.

Insomnia is the definition of a vicious circle. And there are very specific physiological reasons for this. Poor sleep = higher cortisol (the “fight or flight” stress hormone). Higher cortisol = poor sleep.

We all intuitively know this, but our mind and body need restorative sleep and without it, we’ll lose our mind and increase our risk of certain diseases.

For months I researched causes of insomnia online, read stacks of articles and scientific studies. I suspected my problem was due to an adrenal gland imbalance. I found a website called Integrative Psychiatry that offered tests and supplements for a variety of mood and cognitive disorders. I immediately ordered their Adrenal Stress Index test.

When I received the results in the mail nearly all my measures were abnormal. For a small fee I consulted with Integrative Psychiatry’s Physician’s Assistant (PA) over the phone  She told me I had adrenal fatigue and that I immediately needed to address a number of issues that were overstimulating my adrenal glands, gluten intolerance (food sensitivities can cause insomnia) and stress and stress. Stress increases cortisol which is just fine in the short term but with repeated stress over time the adrenal glands can’t keep up with the constant demand for cortisol.

During the normal stress-response cycle your body produces cortisol, the longer term fight or flight hormone (adrenaline in the short term). When the stress is over, your cortisol level returns to normal. As well, your cortisol cycle naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day. But if you’re in a chronic state of stress or excitement, your cortisol never comes down. So while you should be getting drowsy around 10pm you’re wide awake.

Over time your adrenal glands just can’t keep up with the demand for cortisol and your levels begin to drop. You move from wired to tired but wired to exhausted to barely able to get out of bed depending on where you are across four phases of adrenal fatigue.

She also told me about a product called Kavinace, a supplement that calms the brain by working on the GABA receptors.

Click here to order Kavinace 

So what is GABA?

GABA, as well as other neurotransmitters, play a key role in the sleep cycle.

GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter. It’s main role is to calm the central nervous system by neutralizing the effects of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. Low levels of GABA are detected in patients with bipolar and anxiety disorders.

Kavinace helped me finally sleep like a baby with NO “hangover effect” the next morning.  And while I still sometimes wake during the night (blood sugar balancing is part of adrenal health for people who suffer with adrenal fatigue), I usually fall right back to sleep.

 

For people who don’t fall or stay asleep due to “busy brain,” anxiety, etc. Kavinace is a natural, non-addictive solution.

For people who want to wean off of anti-anxiety benzodiazepene drugs (e.g. Klonapin etc), with the guidance of a health professional *(weaning off benzodiazepene use must be done very gradually), Kavinace will help.

Kavinace isn’t the only supplement I take to sleep, however.

For people suffering with unexplained insomnia, the key is to systematically figure out WHAT’S keeping you up, and to address each cause individually.

My personal sleep plan includes proper sleep habits and a nightly mix of:

  • Kavinace to support GABA
  • Tryptophan to support serotonin. An amino acid that converts to serotonin which converts to melatonin
  • Magnesium, a critical factor and co-factor for numerous processes in the body
  • Bioidentical progesterone (capsules or transdermal cream) which has a calming effect, balances estrogen

Occasionally if I think my cortisol is too high I take Sleep Tonight by Enzymatic Therapy.

If I’m really sore from working out sometimes I take one of the best, and clinically proven inflammation-reducing supplements on the market, Zyflamend, regular during the day, PM formula at night.

Click here for Sleep Tonight – 28 – Tablet

Click here for New Chapter Zyflamend, 120 Softgels (daytime)

Click here for New Chapter Zyflamend PM, 60 Softgels (evening)

I used to take L-theanine before bed (Suntheanine form only) but when I got chronic insomnia it wasn’t enough to address the underlying issues that disrupted my sleep.

L-theanine is a calming amino acid that can give you a focused-calm feeling during the day and help some people at night. My chewable Natural Factors is convenient for middle-of-the-night waking but Kavinace in my experience is more effective, or rather it’s a “stronger” GABA promoter.

Click here for Natural Factors Stress-Relax Suntheanine Chewable Tablets, 60-Count

Kavinace use and ingredients

Integrative Psychiatry writes:

“Kavinace by Neuroscience combines two powerful ingredients that have shown to be effective at addressing symptoms of:

  • Stress
  • Anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Sleep problems

Kavinace contains:

  • The GABA derivative Phenibut
  • Taurine
  • B6

Also known as 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid, Phenibut,easily crosses the blood brain barrier, binds to GABA receptors, and may increase GABA levels. Additionally, phenibut appears to inhibit the excitatory neurotransmitter phenylethylamine (PEA). Lastly, phenibut appears to have anti-convulsant, anti-arrhythmic and anti-aggression effects. No signs of toxicity and few side effects, including drowsiness, have been reported from,clinical studies.

Kavinace also contains taurine, which functions as an inhibitory amino acid.,Taurine is an osmoregulator, neuromodulator, and provides neuroprotective actions against cellular insults such as hypoxia, free radicals, excess ammonia, and excitotoxicity. Taurine is also a GABA agonist and may increase GABA levels by increasing GABA synthesis, preventing,GABA breakdown, and blocking GABA reuptake. Both phenibut and taurine may enhance enzodiazepine binding to GABA receptors. Vitamin B6 is included as an important cofactor for the synthesis of GABA, as well as other enzymatic pathways.”

Kavinace Ultra PM or Kavinace for sleep? It depends.

Integrative Psychiatry writes about Kavinace Ultra PM that it is “uniquely designed to promote sleep by promoting healthy levels of the primary neurotransmitters and hormones involved in sleep.”

Click here for Neuroscience Kavinace Ultra PM 30 caps

All the ingredients in Kavinace Ultra PM are sleep-supporting and may work well for your insomnia, while Kavinace can be taken during the day for anxiety and at night for sleep support.

I could take the PM formula before bed instead and in the future I might, however, my combination seems to work very well for me. Because Kavinace Ultra PM contains 5 HTP (that I took for years and like tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin) and melatonin, (that again, I took for years), the PM formula might be a more cost effective approach for me.

However, I replaced tryptophan with 5 HTP because I’d been taking 5 HTP at night for so long I suspected (and the Physician’s assistant agreed) that it may have started having an inverse, stimulatory affect on me.

*It’s important to take supplement breaks, to rotate ingredients, to try them ONE AT A TIME to see what works. Over time you may habituate or build up higher levels which can cause potentially serious problems.

Writes Integrative Psychiatry: “Kavinace Ultra PM is frequently recommended for patients with elevated levels of glutamate and PEA, decreased levels of serotonin and melatonin, and may be beneficial in some individuals with elevated epinephrine and norepinephrine. Kavinace Ultra PM combines support for the top 3 calming neurotransmitters and hormones (GABA, serotonin, and melatonin) in one product.* 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid: Acts as a GABA agonist to inhibit the activity of wake centers in the brain. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Provides a calming effect by supporting serotonin Melatonin: promotes sleep through multiple mechanisms!

As with all health issues and holistic approaches, the key is deciding what/if supplement to take to get to the ROOT OF THE PROBLEM.  For example, some people find melatonin (which stopped working for me) works for them, and other people it does nothing. If you don’t need it, it won’t work. Do your homework, research carefully what you take (and the brand). Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Combining supplements with others and/or medication can have serious health hazards.

Throwing supplements at a health issue (which I did with my insomnia because I was desperate, and when those didn’t work I took medication), gets expensive, can be dangerous and may not get to the cause behind the insomnia or anxiety.

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 Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici insomina, anxiety, natural treatments for insomnia, natural treatments for anxiety, Kavinace

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14 Comments on Tried Everything But You STILL Can’t Sleep? Might Be Adrenal Fatigue.

  1. I really liked the article on Mind Over Matters. It helped me understand some things as I was having great difficulty with the similar things you mentioned with sleep. I am trying the regiment that is similar to what my naturolpathic recommended that you outlined. I would love to have a conversation with you regarding this if possible.

    Thanks,
    Suzanne

  2. P Jones says:

    https://psychonautwiki.org/wiki/Phenibut#Cognitive_effects

    Actually you really shouldn’t be relying on it every day. Taking it at the recommended dose written by Kavinace is fine for a few days, but it will start to down-regulation your GABA receptors as easily as benzodiazepines can. It can cause a lot of extremely serious cognitive side effects in large or overly prolonged doses.

    I don’t agree with everything this guys says, but he makes some good, easily-digested points: https://corpina.com/positive-negative-side-effects-phenibut/

    • Yes tolerance and other negative side effects could be an issue. I’m hoping that because I only take 1 Ultra Kavinace (sleep formula) OR 2 Kavinace every evening to sleep I’m not at risk.

  3. Rebecca says:

    This article was either written about me or by me!! Its my story to a “T”. Including the crawling skin sensation. I never had sleep issues until I had vertigo and now it has become and 8 month battle for sleep. I did everything you did too. Tried it all. Even completed the Cleveland Clinic sleep study program. Worthless, I was a good sleeper for 15 years. I am currently using a med and unisom. Not good but have to get some sleep somehow until I work this out. I suspect my adrenals for sure. I have a constant wakeup at 230 am. Been working on my liver health for years. I am only hoping thru diet, rest and supplements that I can turn my sleep around before Christmas! Any suggestions for what you did for you adrenal health? I am currently on a 1/4 grain NDT and had a 4 point saliva test done. I am very low am and very low noon. Thanks again for sharing your story.

    • Rebecca says:

      I also have deep anxiety tied to my insomnia. Either the insomnia causes it or the anxiety causes the insomnia…vicious cycle!

      • It’s absolutely a vicious cycle! Anxiety, stress, increases cortisol. Lack of sleep increases cortisol and anxiety. Sleep is restorative to the mind and body. I literally had a nervous break down from months of poor sleep due to adrenal fatigue. Drove me to my knees sobbing. But I got better (see my next response to you).
        Laura

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Recovering from severe adrenal fatigue and related insomnia (horrible!!) was a process. My skin crawling was a nightmare. It happened after months of insomnia so I think it was related to “sleep anxiety.” My holistic MD helped me recover. I was tested for gluten insensitivity (I am).

      My regime was pretty intensive for a while but it worked.

      The first thing is to GET sleep which repairs the adrenals. Sounds like you are getting sleep with meds which gets the job done but doesn’t address underlying causes. With adrenal fatigue the natural high – low cortisol cycle gets off kilter, meaning, you are either too high at night when you should be low, or low at points during the day and morning when your cortisol should naturally rise. But during adrenal fatigue stages 1-4, you move from high cortisol to very low. During stage 3/4 the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with cortisol production. They’re burnt out and so are you.

      I went on l mg Klonapin for a week to sleep and to lower my cortisol at night (only take Klonipin SHORT term it’s VERY addictive and a horrible drug). Then I stopped Klonapin and took Kavinace at night, Adrenal Rebuilder by Dr. Wilson 6x a day, bioidentical DHEA cream (compounded) to get my low DHEA up — and lots of good magnesium (Ancient Minerals spray AND Pure Encapsulations capsules). I stopped all gluten. Food sensitivity inflames the gut. An inflamed gut alerts the adrenals and creates histamine, histamine will keep you awake because besides reducing inflammation (a good thing) it also acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.

      I’ve done many saliva tests on my own but my doctor orders blood.

      Find a holistic doc who KNOWS adrenal fatigue (the four stages) and you’ll get better over time. Rest, low key exercise, meditative practices (I have no patience), etc are key to recovery. SELF-CARE.

      I found that the protocol for thyroid NDT (increasing granules gradually) made my Afatigue WORSE. Dr Wilson is an expert on AF, look him up.

      Now I take one Adrenal Rebuilder at night, magnesium, Ultra Kavinace and tryptophan capsules (Pure Encapsulations. I only take stellar brands). Most nights I sleep well. If I wake in the middle of the night I take another U Kavinace/tryptophan or Kavinace and ARebuild. It works.

      Good luck! You will definitely get better. The key is to figure out what’s causing your insomnia. It’s often a number of interrelated issues rather than a single culprit.

      AFatigue is rarely diagnosed by conventional docs nor is food sensitivity (which will affect sleep, including consuming histamine-loaded foods which for some people is problematic. So if I consume lots of high histamine foods (aged cheese, red wine, soy, etc, I take Histame to break down excess histamine).

      All the best,
      Laura

  4. Mandy says:

    How much magnesium do you take with the Kavinace PM? I have used Kavinace with Kavinace pm to sleep. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. I suffer from the anxiety you talk about when I go to bed, and most often average 3-5 hrs sleep. My holistic doctor gave me Xymogen optimag neuro, which is a strong magnesium formula.

    • Mandy says:

      I was also wondering what bioidentical progesterone you were using?

      • Hi Mandy,

        I use a compounded bioidentical progesterone from a local pharmacist. Capsules, 275mg. My dosing is pretty high. With any kind of hormone replacement you need to do trial and error on dosing to determine what’s optimal for you. How you know is by your symptoms. When my doc went higher, I was too sleepy the next morning. My holistic MD also requires a complete blood workup every 6 months to determine if my levels of hormones (and a long list of other measures) are optimal.

        All the best,
        Laura

    • Hi,

      My doctor and I are sticklers for using only quality brands.

      She put me on Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate capsules and Ancient Minerals magnesium spray. She also likes MD Prescriptives magnesium. I play around with dosing because too much causes loose bowels, although Magnesium Glycinate causes fewer issues. I generally apply six sprays of the magnesium oil per day, 2 in the afternoon and 3 at night. I found my recent bottle was quite strong for some reason (I think it’s more concentrated than what I WAS using) so I stopped my Pure Encapsulations capsules. I think my doc really wants me on both the oil and the capsules so I’ll likely reduce the mag spray to 2 a day, and start taking 1-3 capsules of the mag at night.

      Start with quality brands. It’s worth the money. Start dosing slowly and increase to what’s referred to as “bowel tolerance” (the amount you can take without loose bowels. You may have adrenal fatigue. You might want to ask your holistic doc to test your DHEA and cortisol levels.

      I hope this helps. I know how hard it is to suffer through insomnia. It’s just hell.
      Laura

  5. diana says:

    Insane… I have the same thing.. i am under the care of a ND. But recently the kavinance is hurting me.. we are trying to figure out what i should take.. I love kavinance but did you happen to become “bitchy” REALLY irritable or have pain by your liver? i have major anxiety (in my upper diaphragm) the day after I take it for up to two days.. I didn’t notice it till I stopped taking it (i was in pain and trying to figure out what was causing it) but then i noticed my sleep started to not be as deep.. i.e. waking up 3 or more times a night..

    I checked out the website.. i think i read his book about adrenal fatigue..

    love the post

    • Hi Diana

      Hmmm, it’s odd that Kavinace caused pain and disrupted sleep.

      I take ULTRA Kavinace before bed, along with tryptophan, bioidentical progesterone, a stellar magnesium, and Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Rebuilder. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I’ll add 1-2 Kavinace. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I don’t recall any pain or irritability the next day. I took Ambien ONCE and was royally bitchy the next day. Horrible horrible drug). Does your doctor have any theories on why the Kavinace caused your reaction? I know if your neurotransmitters are out of balance, too much GABA (Kavinace) or too much serotonin (anti-depressants, 5 HTP, tryptophan) you’ll have issues.

      I’ve figured out a handful of causes for my middle of the night wakings. Perhaps this will help you.

      Adrenal fatigue of course (either too low or too high cortisol. If it’s too high, I get that wired but tired anxious feeling), low blood sugar (caused directly by adrenal fatigue, a little protein and a healthy fat before bed helps, e.g. peanut butter), excessive high histamine foods, red wine, aged cheeses, tomato sauces(I take Histame). Histamine-related insomnia is quite obscure, but it’s a real thing. If you don’t happen to have enough DAO enzyme to break down the naturally occurring histamine in foods, you might get away with it for a while, but eventually the “histamine bucket” tips over and you get reactions. Histamine is among other things, neuroexcitatory, overexcites the brain. Sinus migraines also wake me up and keep me up (I take Advil plus the sleep supplements). Gluten sensitivity is another cause. Food allergies as well. The brain-gut connection is very very powerful. When your gut is irritated, inflammation alerts the adrenals. Getting your gut in order is crucial.

      When I took an adrenal fatigue saliva test many years ago, gluten sensitivity was one of the measures. I showed up positive and stopped gluten. I cheat (a little) once in a while but take enzymes to help.

      Hope this helps,
      Laura

  6. Rebecca says:

    Hello! This post has really offered some insightful information. I wondered if i could contact you personally?

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