Sleep: progesterone pill works

Here are my sleeping hours of the previous month:
slaapuren jan 2014

Quite a lot of nights I slept through! (compared to my usual sleeping pattern)
In yellow when I took a progesterone pill to bridge the gap from nonREMsleep to REMsleep. I upped the dose as my period drew closer. This did not always work.

And here it’s sorted without taking into account the time the clocks said I went to sleep. Each purple block is 15 minutes of sleep:
slaapuren gecorrigeerd
compared to my record of the previous month, without prog pills:

In yellow is when I took a 100mg Progesterone pill. This is Utrogestan, the bio-identical hormone.

On some nights I didn’t sleep through. There were some causes: I did an earthing experiment around 17th of December. This messed me up, had my brain overexcited for three days afterwards.
The Atlas Profilax treatment may have had something to do with the nightmare I had.
The massage might have released all kinds of toxins.
On Jan 8/9 I took a lot of folinic acid (leucovorin) which releases too much excitement on my brain, I feel. I also forgot to take Valerian.
Then, as my period drew neared even two pills did not have the desired effect.
On Jan 21st I laid awake all night with terrible pains, from the baby carrots I had eaten the day before.

So it is important for me that my intestines are comfortable (foodwise + HCL help); that I take my Valerian each evening; that there are no sounds waking me up (especially deep rumbling sounds) and that I take a progesterone pill right before going to sleep.


Sleep: slept through! Theory to the test.

Last night I took a Progesterone pill and I slept through the night on an unusual day of my cycle (day 13). I woke up refreshed and extremely happy. This supports the theory I’ve cobbled together in the last few days.

The happiness came from high serotonin and noradrenaline, I felt. And of having a good night sleep and perhaps having found another sensible theory!

On a side note:
I have noticed I’m quite excited the last few days.The amount of blog posts is indicative. This is “excited brain” on display. Not a good thing per sé.
And I feel a little sheepish that you all can see it.

I think it comes from the mB12 and Folinic Acid supplementation causing all kinds of waste to come free (akin to Copper Dumps) and raising noradrenaline. (the last week I’ve laid awake for 3 hours or more instead of the usual 1,5-2 hours). Aided by the Atlas Profilax treatment that activates overall my Sympathetic Nervous System is having a good time at the moment.
Luckily I succeed at shutting it up twice a day, when I take my horizontal rests.

The only other thing I know to do is be physically active during the day (I háve to walk outside every day since the AtlasPROfilax) and lessen the mB12 and Folinic Acid. Take a small break from Methylation.

So I’m going to the motions and I know it. I hope to calm down to my regular self in the future.

The post under this paragraph I wrote this morning for a Spanish guy on the forums that shares the same sleeping pattern as me. (should that be “as I”?)
It’s full of white space because brain fogged people need their words in small doses.

I’ve got a theory for my sleeping 5 hours and then lying wide awake for 2, being very alert. It fits all the symptoms and medical data I have.

after 5 hours I get excess noradrenaline on the brain. This prevents GABA rising and REMsleep commencing and makes one very alert.

Oral supplementing of the neurotransmitter Progesterone makes me sleep for 7 or 8 hours straight. Maybe because one of its metabolites, Allopregnanolone, dampens neurons firing and promotes GABA. It is as potent as benzo’s and sleepingpills, which is what most people use for this kind of insomnia.

Progesterone is NOT a female sex hormone.

In the brain a small amount of noradrenaline is needed after the 4,5 hours of nonREMsleep to stop the REM-off neurons from firing and let REM-on neurons start. When REM-on neurons get active GABA will rise and REMsleep will start.

REM sleep depends on high GABA.

Too much noradrenaline makes this impossible. GABA will not rise and insomnia will cause more noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is the neurotransmitter that makes you very very alert.

Reason might be MAO A not breaking down noradrenaline sufficiently due to a mutation.

Another reason might be too low Progesterone (I have this, tested and proven). Progesterone is not a female sex hormone, it is a human hormone. Testosterone is made from it. Cortisol is made from it. And it is a neurotransmitter in the brain.

In the brain Progesterone increases MAO’s activity slightly.

Progesterone’s most profound neuronal effect, however, results from its direct effect on the neuronal membrane. Progesterone has an inhibitory effect on neuronal excitation, depressing neuronal firing.

One of its metabolites in the brain is Allopregnanolone. This is a neuroactive steroid that does something with GABA. It has a potency similar to that of the most potent benzodiazepines (Valium etc) and approximately a thousand times higher than pentobarbitals (sleeping pills).

(I still need to check my sources but this one put me onto Allopregnanolone and this one researches REMsleep)

Noradrenaline is noradrenergic, meaning to do with the Sympathetic Nervous System.
Onset of REMsleep and GABA is from cholinergic brain input, it is about the Parasympathetic Nervous System. (source here)
The nervous system is not limited to the brain, of course.

– stop noradrenaline from rising (how? how? How do I get the Sympathetic Nervous System to shut up?)
– stop REM-off neurons from continious firing (how? by taking benzo’s? by taking Allopregnanolone?)
– raise GABA (how? taking precursors?)

Taking GABA is useless, it cannot go through the blood brain barrier (BBB) because it is too big a molecule, say people on the forums here. If a GABA supplement does have a soothing effect it means your BBB is leaky (search forums on this, Hip and Gestalt say smart things about this)

Progesterone: only take progesterone, no progestins. Be vigilant about this. Read the label.

Take the oral pill, not the cream, someone one the forums here said the pill form is the only form that yields Allopregnonalone. As is my own experience too.

In Europe the (only) correct brand for Progesteron is Utrogestan. It is not over the counter. Your doctor will probably resist and needs to be educated. Both on Progesterone/Progestins and on males needing this basic hormone.

A 100 mg pill gets converted to 10mg active Progestrone (the liver filters out the rest, working hard). This 10mg is the dose a regular human body needs for a regular day, it’s a physiological doses. It is what a normal body produces on its own. Supplementing the full 10mg is too much for a man who -presumably- produces at least some of his own in his adrenals. Problem.

Females need more because they also use Progestrone to balance out Estrogens. Their physiological dose varies every day and can range from 10 to 60mg. (60mg on day 21 of cycle)

Larger Utrogestan pills (200/500mg) are for females in pregnancy. They may need much more than the daily 60mg to keep their baby on board which is where the hormone gets its name: PRO-GESTational-hoRmONE and our association with it being a female sex hormone.

There is no knowing in advance how your body choses to convert the Progesterone. It may raise your Testosterone, your Cortisol, your Aldosterone. Taking too much may numb the receptors or lower your own production.
HRT is risky business. Always start low and go slow.

10 mg Progesterone is excess of what a man needs, I feel. I’d want 20 or 50mg pills to start with but these are not produced. You could cut open a capsule and take only the white liquid, I guess. It looks like paint.

One thing about taking physiological doses is that your body is able to get rid of it within the day. You are not overdosing as is often the case with conventional HRT or other drugs.

ME/CFS people probably have decreased capacity for elimination so should even take less, of any drug or supplement. On a positive note: we notice effects sooner so small doses give us information fast.

On some nights I take 100mg Utrogestan pills for my menstrual cycle and then I sleep through the night every time, unless it’s the last week before my period. I was told sleepiness was a symptom of too high a dose. Now I am not so sure. It feels awful during the day and I avoid it. But at night I sleep well and wake up with new vigour. And now I found a plausible explanation for it.

As long as my liver can stand it and I wake up feeling refreshed I am now taking Progesterone at night. The correct thing to do is find out with how low a dose I sleep through. But because my need as a female differs each day and I have CFS I’m not up for cutting up pills and taking notes yet.

For you I have no quick solution, sorry. Only this theory that, to me, makes sense and fits both our symptoms.

I just learned the antibodies to GLUTEN also block conversion from glutamate into GABA.
Leaving ones brain with too much glutamate (*boing! boing!*) and not enough GABA (zzzzz…)

source =

Sleep theory: noradrenaline

I’m still looking for a sensible theory to account for my weird sleep pattern of insomnia after the 5h non-REM sleep part of the night.

At the moment I’m looking into the excitatory neurotransmitters because I found out the disposal system of these is a bit crooked in me. The enzyme responsible of breaking down (nor)adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin is called MAO A and I have an allele combination that makes it do its work veeeeeery slowly. Making me an upbeat, cheerful person by nature. Going into manic chattering when excited too much:

I found some tidbits I’m going to connect without knowing what I do.

I woke up after 5 hours of sleep. I lay there with my eyes closed, observing, and noticed that although my brain was ON my body was not. My body was heavy, warm, sleepy.
I tried to not get my brain any more excited than it already was (no lights on, no surfing, no worrying, no thinking up clever schemes, no planning). I did resolve to investigate another angle to this insomnia when properly awake: what if it’s not cortisol keeping me awake but something that’s only active in the brain?
Cortisol travels through the blood and should have effect all over the body. Maybe one of the excitatory neurotransmitters keeps its actions restricted to the brain?

Noradrenaline is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It’s made in the adrenals (not the same part that makes cortisol though) and released in the blood = hormone. And it’s made in the brain (in sections called Locus Coeruleus, in the brain stem) = neurotransmitter.
As a neurotransmitter it’s active in the central nervous system and sympathetic nervous system. As such it fires up the sympathetic nervous system, elbowing the parasympathetic system into submission.
The actions of norepinephrine are carried out via the binding to adrenergic receptors.

Locus Coeruleus, noradrenaline HQ

Wiki says: “Noradrenergic neurons project bilaterally (send signals to both sides of the brain) from the locus ceruleus along distinct pathways to many locations, including the cerebral cortex, limbic system, and the spinal cord, forming a neurotransmitter system.”
Does it say here that there’s a distinctive network in the brain for this neurotransmitter? Is there a web bringing it’s activity fast and furious into all parts of the brain?
yes it does

This network can be tested. Increase in activity can be measured. Data can be found!
They think this network is involved in decision making and in storing memories. There’s research on it (using rats I believe).

Noradrenaline (or norepinephrine) is synthesized in 3 steps:

  1. the aminoacid Tyrosine is hydroxylated into L-DOPA (by enzyme/gen Tyrosine Hydroxylase)
  2. L-DOPA is decarboxylated into Dopamine
  3. Dopamine is hydroxylated into Noradrenaline

Wiki: “Noradrenaline is the hormone and neurotransmitter most responsible for vigilant concentration in contrast to its most chemically similar hormone, dopamine, most responsible for cognitive alertness.[4]”

check. check. This is what I have in abundance, especially at night. This is also what places me on the other end of the spectrum from people with ADD, I believe. I wish we could barter and both end up in the middle.


 pic by Paul Turnbull

There’s a fourth step when fiddling with noradrenaline:

4. Noradrenaline is made into Adrenaline via methylation of its amino group.

It takes methylation to get rid of noradrenaline! Does this get hindered by the same dna-oopsies I have hindering the Methylation Cycle? This would account for huge amounts of noradrenaline lingering in the system, firing up the brain.

Although: would I want to trade noradrenaline for adrenaline in the middle of the night? I don’t think so.

Here’s the wiki link on how it is terminated or degraded. Need to read it myself and use its terms to dig through scientific papers.

On first scan I see I shouldn’t take cocaine since it inhibits uptake of noradrenaline. That’s good to know, I’ll inform my dealer.

What facilitates degradation in mammals? What is the usual half time?

“α-Methyltyrosine is a substance that intervenes in norepinephrine synthesis by substituting tyrosine for tyrosine hydroxylase, and blocking this enzyme.”
what’s this? can I buy this? cook it up myself?

“Vesicular transport modulators[edit]
This transportation can be inhibited by reserpine and tetrabenazine.[33]”
are these drugs?

A few inhibitors to the release of noradrenaline are named. And a few that stimulate it. Adrenaline causes noradrenaline. Stay away from stress, children.
This does explain a lot of my own experiences.

Tyrosine is found in eggs, nuts, meat and cheese. And we make it ourselves from Phenylalanine.
Cutting down on any of these food stuffs won’t do much good as the body choses how much it converts. It’s not particularly dependent on intake. Unless you really stop eating these as hard core veganists do. And they might well be happier and more zen because of it too.

 pic by Penny Mathews



They suspect that the network of noradrenaline in the brain is used to store memories.
They also found that in the nonREMsleep this network’s activity coincides with the waves that are visible on EEG. When the wave goes up, so does the activity in the noradrenaline network. When the wave goes down, so does the firing frequency. They suspect this is how mammals store memories during sleep.
Here’s the link to the study (rats).

To me it says that during nonREMsleep the system pulsates, in the same slow way as the sleep waves do. I expect this to change once the sleep waves change. I.e. when the sleep cycle changes so does the activity of the neuron network. I need to go look for studies that tell me wether its activity increases or decreases.
Based on my insomnia I expect it to increase. Leaving me with a surplus of noradrenaline bouncing around my head.

If I can pinpoint why it stays active I can experiment. Or I can start experimenting and use the outcomes to focus the theory better.
It might be that methylation into adrenaline doesn’t work properly or that the MAO A clean up crew is working with two hands tied behind its back. Or the degrading system doesn’t work very well. I’m going to investigate further the subjects I touched upon above.

Or I might figure out why the surplus noradrenaline becomes active in the first place. If I can decrease its release (by taking away the cause or by taking surpressing drugs) I might sleep through the night. It would illustrate that it’s indeed noradrenaline waking me up and keeping me awake.

Well, I’m still just theorizing here. But in theory it all makes sense and it all coincides with my own symptoms and data.

If this becomes a credible, logical train of thought I plan to test it out. (no idea how to test, yet)
At night I want to sleep, from nonREM to REM. So I can wake up and be cheerful all day.

Sleep: tracking my hours

I’ve been tracking my hours the last month. Here are the hours I was in my bed asleep, in Elderberry purple:

sleep hours tracking

You see that as a rule I don’t sleep through the night. Most nights I lie awake for a couple of hours. On two nights when I did get a full nights sleep I had had a very short night the previous one.

Now for my next trick…

sleep hours quantity

Hocus Pocus Holy Quantity, Batman!
I forgot about the actual time I went to bed and just lined up the hours I slept.

There’s a clear pattern here. It doesn’t matter at what time I’m going to bed, on most nights I sleep 4,5 hours and then I wake up.

I have had this sleeping pattern all my life. I remember as a child, under the age of 10, calling for my parents. Every night. So this pattern of mine is unrelated to my CFS or ME. It does wreck havoc in my illness as I do not recuperatie sufficiently from the day before.

Lately I’ve been reading up on neurotransmitters that are involved in the various sleep stages. It seems something is happening to me after the last stage of Deep Sleep. Something in the transition makes my body react, seemingly with neuro-exitatory molecules. Could be cortisol (main suspect due to the half time of it that co-incides with my time awake before I can go back to sleep) but it can easily be any other.

I have some info on them, the neuro transmitters, but I’ll come back to that another time.  I also found some other people with this pattern, on the ME forums over at They battle it with sleeping pills and benzo’s and anti-histamines. Which all take effect on neurotransmitters. But I’ll try and sort that out later.

For now I just wanted to park the tracking graphs here.

PS. Elderberry is the plant of Hulda, Frau Holle. Sambucus, full of vit. C.
The juice of the berries will stain your white summer clothes forever! But when you try to dye wool with this rich colours, they will fade in the sun over time.