I suffered from insomnia for over 20 years. It started as an occasional thing – whenever I had to get up early the next morning, I would go to bed thinking I needed to get to sleep early. Of course putting pressure on myself to get to sleep was the worst thing I could do and I would lie there for hours tossing and turning. The next night, even if I didn’t need to get up early, I would be even more worried about getting to sleep and would lie awake for longer. The night after that would be even worse.
I made mistake after mistake at work because I was so tired I couldn’t think straight. I was frequently in tears because I felt so awful.
I hated taking sleeping tablets but after a while I would give in and take some Temazepam to break the cycle. To start with this worked well, but over time the insomnia got worse and the sleeping tablets became less effective. I started taking more tablets each night and taking them more often. When I started seeing several doctors for sleeping tablet prescriptions to hide how much I was taking, I knew I had a problem. I decided to stop taking the sleeping tablets altogether.
I read everything about insomnia I could find and tried all of the suggestions – proper bedtime routines, avoiding TV and bright lights before bed, getting up in the middle of the night and reading – you name it, I tried but nothing helped. I tried every natural remedy I could get my hands on but none of them worked.
I also had a long term problem with depression and anxiety which didn’t respond to treatment. I spent years researching depression trying to find a cure and eventually found I had a condition called pyroluria that causes depression, anxiety and, you guessed it, insomnia.
Pyroluria is a condition that causes severe deficiencies of zinc and B6. These nutrients are needed for many chemical reactions in the brain, including the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s vital for sleep. Common symptoms of pyroluria include depression, anxiety, shyness, insomnia, stretch marks, poor dream recall, cold hands and feet and thin, brittle nails.
I now take a handful of vitamins and minerals each day including high doses of zinc and B6, and I sleep like a baby. Even better, the depression and anxiety are gone. After twenty years of insomnia, depression and anxiety, it seems like a miracle.
I strongly encourage anyone with depression related insomnia to look for the underlying cause of their depression. Even if you don’t have the symptoms of pyroluria, there are a number of other conditions that can cause both depression and insomnia, and most of them are quite easy to treat once you know you have them.
Jane Henderson invites you to take the tests for 13 different causes of depression, available at her website.