I cannot believe that I did not figure this out earlier. It’s so logical, looking back.
Each night I wake up at 3AM. Wide awake. I lie awake for about 1 hour – 1,5 hr. Then I sleep a little but do not wake up rested.
Lying down = right upper bend in the colon gets squished. Matter cannot pass and builds up in the ascending colon. After 4,5 hours my body jolts itself awake from the stress.
4,5 hours being the bare minimum of sleep it needs to get by. Or the amount of time the small intestines need to process everything they’ve got and dump it into the colon.
I’ve had this insomnia as long as I can remember. Even as a child. My parents thought I was afraid of the dark or the house burning down. Every night I woke up. Always have.
Now that I’ve been addressing constipation and slow colonic transit the past couple of weeks I’ve had some succes in sleeping through the night. Glorious feeling! Getting 6 hours instead of 4,5.
It makes sense now that I think about it: as I lie down the hepatic flexure gets squished (by the liver?) and matter cannot pass into the traverse colon. Stuff builds up in the ascending colon, especially in the 4,5 hours of sleep, and then I jolt awake because of the stress reaction. Lying awake for a good hour tossing and turning (making matter pass the hepatic flexure?). Perhaps I miss the train of the BMM (Body Mass Movement) that occurs every so often and one is every 1,5 hours?
I’m now looking into solutions for keeping that flexure open when I lie to rest. Can’t find a similar problem on the internet but I’m looking for clues at people who have a prolapsed traverse colon (colonic ptosis).
It is very common to have your colon twist and fold, both at the traverse colon (red) and the sigmoid colon (blue):
and these people (children too) all have slow colonic transit.
God knows how mine is twisted at the red part. All I know is when I lie down the traverse colon is no longer accessible. The life long insomnia as a result of this has caused adrenal problems and “ME”. I’ve fixed the latter and when I start sleeping though the night my adrenals will probably need less Hydrocortison as a crutch.
So what can I do? What do people with prolapsed traverse colon or enteroptosis get advised?
- Surgery is out, not enough succes rate .
- Defining stomach muscles is advised. (fit20 is an excellent regime for that. As is kettlebelling)
- As is stomach massage.
- As is hanging upside down (during sports) to let gravity help.
So what will I do?
- I will do more muscle exercising. I already do normal crunches on machines, both at fit20 and the gym. I will incorporate diagonal movements such as standing on a training ball and moving a barbell from left to right. Kayaking movements would be excellent too.
- I will do extra sets right before bed. Get as much matter out of the ascending colon as possible. Also massage these parts before going to sleep.
- continue mindfulness and supplements to enhance colonic motility (it’s still an issue)
- adopt a different sleep posture? It is related to me lying flat. Sleeping on my right or left or stomach does not seem to change much. Perhaps lie with head lower than buttocks? Head higher? Learn to sleep standing up, strapped to the bed?
- asking my doctor for advice about what I put into my mouth. Ascending colon specializes in taking out the moisture, perhaps if I can keep matter fluid it passes the hepatic bend easier? Is this where laxatives target? I have not used laxatives ever and I know they are not a lasting solution, if anything they can make matters worse. Usually fiber is advised to make matter moist but fiber works against my colonic inertia and gives too much bulk in the ascending colon at night.
- ask my doctor about enemas. Would that be good, cleaning the tubes once a month? My previous GP was against it because my system is so sensitive. He was often right.
- ask my doctor about anything else she can think of. Perhaps she thinks it fruitful to talk this over with a GI specialist? I dread going to yet another professional who deals with so many “special snowflakes” and patients who have dr.Google at their fingertips and somehow showing them that I indeed have a weird thing.
We’ll see. I’m meeting my new GP on Thursday. See if that goes better than when I met her replacement. I am preparing a medical dossier for her so she can see my casus in one glance. Everything on just one piece of paper.
PS in addition I still have classic “hepatic flexure” as described by my old GP. A bit of air forms in the colon and cannot pass the flexure. It clogs it up, preventing other mass to pass. I can solve this by lying on my right and letting gravity do its thing: the air squeezes past and rises upwards, into the traverse colon. I then turn on my back. Perhaps do my gymnastics.
I have to do this on top of whatever I have to do to empty the ascending colon.