One of the most frustrating and difficult symptoms that I’ve battled throughout my journey with Lyme disease is chronic insomnia. I spent many years in the throes of severe sleep deprivation, and the typical advice to take some 5-HTP, melatonin or valerian never seemed to work for me. I then spent nearly half a decade years researching better solutions for sleep, and finally, through much trial and error, I found some tools that over time, nearly fully restored my sleep patterns. I still occasionally have trouble with insomnia when I travel or am under a lot of stress, but I no longer sleep 2-3 hours a night and most nights I can get a full 7-9 hours of rest.
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles on insomnia, there were many reasons why I didn't get deep sleep, or didn’t sleep more than a few hours per night on a regular basis. These included: chronic Lyme disease, inflammation, hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances, emotional stress, mast cell activation disorder, and sleep medication addiction (the latter of which actually made the problem worse over the long run!). Because of all these factors, the battle to regain my sleep was long and difficult. In the meantime, the lack of sleep affected my relationships, hindered my ability to function in society, and kept me in a perpetual state of depression and hopelessness.
So if you battle insomnia or restless sleep, my heart goes out to you—because I probably understand on some level what you are dealing with, and I know how hard and discouraging it can be. Because of this, I just published a short book entitled Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Chronic Insomnia to help those of you who are going through the same battle that I once did. This E-book provides some novel, outside-the-box solutions for insomnia, which are based on my personal experience and over half a decade of research. I believe that it will help many of you who haven’t found adequate answers through the solutions that have so far been made available to you.
Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath is based on the premise that traditional or common sleep solutions don’t often work for those of us with chronic insomnia because they don’t address the root causes of sleeplessness. It’s so important to know why you aren’t sleeping, so that you can treat the root of the problem. Hence the title of the book, which implies that we sometimes need to go beyond typical sleep solutions to find those that will work for us, based on our individual health challenges. Therefore, the book aims to address ten common causes of insomnia, especially in people with neurological diseases like Lyme.
• Electromagnetic pollution
• High histamine and inflammation
• Neurotransmitter imbalances
• Hormonal imbalances
• Stress and emotional trauma
• Physical pain and chronic infections
• Sleep medication abuse
• Poor sleep hygiene
I then share solutions for each one of these problems, which range from free, hands-on manual therapies, to nutritional supplements and more expensive brain wave therapy devices. Some of the tools that I describe in Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath include:
• Devices and strategies for lowering electromagnetic fields in the sleep environment, such as Graham-Stetzer filters
• Natural, non-toxic and prescription remedies for lowering histamine and inflammation, two stealth causes of insomnia
• Nutrients, amino acids and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy for balancing the hormones and neurotransmitters
• Mind-body therapies that address the emotional and spiritual causes of insomnia. These include Dynamic Neural Retraining (DNRT), The King Method (TKM) and inner healing prayer, as well as meditation and visualization CDs and cognitive exercises.
• Strategies for proper sleep hygiene
• Homeopathic and botanical remedies
• Brain wave-modulating devices
In addition, I share some tools that helped me to wean off of benzodiazepine drugs and other sleep medications. I also provide suggestions to help you, the reader, determine what tools you most need, based on the root cause(s) of your insomnia, and how to put together a protocol to make all of those tools work well together.
At just 120 pages, Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath is short but succinct and packed with information that is meant to provide a strong introduction to a variety of sleep solutions that you can learn about and research further on your own.
If you have been battling insomnia for a long time, I encourage you to not give up—there are better answers to the problem. In my worst moments when I could barely function due to a lack of sleep, I often believed that I had already done and tried everything to get my sleep back, and that there was no hope. But with time, I ended up discovering new things that collectively and over time, improved my sleep. It took me awhile, and I had to do more than one thing to restore my sleep patterns, and you may find that the same is true for you, but I believe that if you persevere, you will find a tool or two or three in Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath—that will help you to sleep deeper and better than you ever have before.
If you get the book and find that it, or any of the articles that I’ve written on insomnia help you in some way, please let me know. I always enjoy hearing about others’ stories of success and what has worked or not worked for a majority. In the meantime, I wish you the best in your journey back to better rest!
Connie Strasheim is the author or co-author of 11 wellness books, including the recently released New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Real Healing Strategies that Work. (October, 2016) and Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Chronic Insomnia. (March, 2017). She is also a medical copywriter and an editor at ProHealth.com, as well as Editor of the Alternative Cancer Research Institute (ACRI). Her passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine, and she collaborates with some of the world's best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease and insomnia, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. To learn more about her work, see: www.ConnieStrasheim.org.