Rabbit's Ultimate Sleep Manifesto 10000

Recently I developed a mild-to-severe sleep disorder. A night owl since birth, I still remember my first almost-sleepless night around the age of 5, watching a rerun of Leonard Nimoy’s “In Search Of…” on earthquakes. My father had recently moved to a Naval base in California, which according to Spock was officially the worst place to be in America if you’re afraid of falling through cracks into hot magma.

That was the first night I couldn’t sleep, worried about my dad dying about every day for a whole year until my mother convinced me he’d be OK and that I should start reading about earthquakes more so I would understand and not be afraid. And so I pulled my Encyclopedia Britannica out and read until I passed out.

From that night forward, I was always up late reading, then sleeping. Going to bed at 9, 10, 11, 12…that just wasn’t who I was for the next 40 years. Even at 45, I still spend most of my time reading and the vast majority of it is encyclopedic stuff.

Nearly aligned with my 45th birthday, I suddenly started having trouble sleeping through the night. I developed first what appeared to be Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), followed by what appeared to be Central Sleep Apnea, which is far more alarming because it suggests a brain disorder. If you can imagine waking up 10-50 times per hour, every hour during the night, that was me.

So, I did what was recommended and began exercising more during the day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol at night, and trying to get to bed earlier (ie breaking a 40 year old habit of letting myself naturally fall asleep at 3am).

Then came the HYPNIC JERKS which is that little shake you sometimes get with the fear of falling at the sleep-wake border. Sometimes these wake you up, sometimes they don’t (and anyone with a bed partner knows when their partner is doing it). They are harmless, benign, and brief in most people.

Of course, I am one of the lucky few who now experience constant, chronic hypnic jerks, preventing me from falling asleep at all now. Imagine always being on the verge of sleep and your body goes “NO SLEEP FOR YOU”. This was me the last 5 days. Hundreds of them until the sun comes up. Zen training sure comes in handy in these situations, to avoid the anxiety that has been known to cause heart attacks and strokes, but I needed more.

So, what do I do? I Decided to take a short vacation, start writing a novel, and read all about neurotransmission. What I discovered is a γ-aminobutyric acid imbalance in my brain, probably brought about by my lifestyle changes (sleep schedule, nutritional and dietary gaps, skipping exercise, allergies, sans stiff drinks on the weekends, etc) as well as the already existing sleep deprivation from the OSA/CSA.

If you’ve read this far, thanks. Next post, I will tell you about the concoction I made (using legit medical advice) that made me sleep like a newborn last night. Sure, still took me 2 hours just to fall asleep, but about 4-5 dream cycles later, I woke up refreshed and ready for dealing with the day.

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Glad you are feeling better for now, man. Good luck !

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I’m at a friend’s wedding, I don’t know whose. The whole hall is shaped like a tiered wedding cake, with stairs winding along each side. The groom and bride are at the bottom layer.

I come up with this great joke about the fried shrimp platters, and start to climb the stairs up and down to find people willing to listen to my joke.

As they serve plates of food to all the seated guests, I start to realize I might miss my shot at eating. Still, I’m determined to find someone to listen to this great joke.

I finally find a few of my closest friends, and try to tell them the joke but they’re doing that thing that friends do when they half ignore you and half listen. Eventually, I find one person, a friendly female acquaintance from my past, willing to listen.

“Where is the shrimp?”, I ask.

“Where??”, she replied.

“In ma belly!!”.

She didn’t get the joke, but smiled anyway.

Then I realize everyone’s eaten, but I haven’t, so I run up the stairs of this cake-shaped wedding hall to find a waiter, and ask for a plate.

“All we have left is smoked meats and cheese”, she said. That was fine by me. What she returned with was food, but I had wanted some of that fried fish, so I head down to the main floor with the wedding party.

Suddenly, my best friend and best man bursts into the room, and upends some poor waiter’s tray full of hot, oily seafood scampi, dousing everyone in oil, lemon, wine, and shellfish.

Everyone is disgusted, I’m in awe, but immediately want a shower.

A real dream I woke up from this week.

At least you are REMing…

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Right? Recent studies show practically all of us overestimate the amount and quality of sleep we get, and it’s killing us. More heart attacks, strokes, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, stress, cancer, and death.

Few people do this (document their dreams), but the number and type of dreams count and the more elaborate and memorable dreams indicate quality sleep cycle. Since most people should experience 4-5 dreams per night (based on 4-5 complete NREM-REM cycles), people who 1) don’t dream or 2) can’t remember their dreams, might be experiencing poor sleep, leading to a host of health issues they may not attribute to that.

Most people complete 4-5 without waking up (or so briefly they don’t even realize it before falling back into NREM1). My sleep has been so fragmented (about 1.5 hours of sleep at best at time in between waking, once I fall asleep at all), so I’ve been able to document them, and sure enough, I get better sleep quality from about 4-8am than I do from 12am-4am, as expected, later NREM and REM cycles are deeper than the first).

Even the military is starting to catch on that a shitload of the mental health issues going on in the service are in fact due to sleep deprivation. Right up to and including vets self-medicating and getting stuck in alcohol-benzo addiction cycles (some of whom I know personally and it’s so sad).

This massive research study was just presented to the Congressional Armed Services Committee last month.


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By the way, slept almost 10 hours last night. Oorah. I’ve got a family baby being delivered in the next 48 hours, so I’ll be a bit busy taking care of my mom but my next posts I’ll focus on the dietary regime that I believe turned this all around this week.

One dream I recorded has a Bullshido tie-in that I think you might find hysterical.

Most of my time in the Navy, we were on a 5 and Dime rotation. That mean every 3rd watch was yours, outside of the 6-day workweek. On Sundays we would “dog the watch,” which means the 22-02 would get split into 22-00 and 00-02. Sleep where you can, when you can. Readiness is fine, but war doesn’t stop for nap time.

For what it’s worth, people don’t need much REM sleep. REM sleep indicates dreaming and is a midway point to the deep sleep that our brain chemistry needs to be healthy.

Artificially preventing moving past REM sleep to deep sleep is very bad for your brain. I briefly looked into theta wave sleep when I was in college but what I found was mostly junk science with no real redeemable medical value.

I have had insomnia since I was a child. If I sleep for 8 hours in a 24 hour period I consider myself healthy and lucky. if my hours of activity on here are any indication, you can see I don’t sleep much compared to other people.

Without making conscious efforts to get enough sleep it is not entirely unusual for me to sleep less than 6 hours in a 72 hour period.

That is not healthy. It will kill you. A lack of deep sleep has been linked to a host of neurological disorders including alzheimer’s disease, dementia, early onset of those diseases and more than a few neorolgical disorders classified as mental illness.

If you are concerned that you are not getting quality sleep, see your physician about your concerns and don’t take it into your hands by playing sounds that some kook on the internet told you would induce lucid dreaming. You may actually be inducing psychosis and brain damage.

Deep sleep occurs during every NREM3-4 phase, and NREM3-4 is what gets deeper over successive sleep cycles. That’s restorative sleep. But the brain also needs REM cycles to be healthy, and the more the better.

Again, normal people will “go past REM sleep” at least 4-5 times a night given an 8 hour sleep duration.

The full sleep cycle repeats itself every 1-1.5 hours, NREM1-NREM2-NREM3-NREM4-REM-NREM1’-NREM2’…and so on.

What do you consider “artificial”?

I’d love to hear your definition of “theta wave sleep” research, because it sounds like whatever you looked into might have been fake (New Age shit?), but theta waves are an important part of sleep as well as wakeful concentration.

Theta waves are produced naturally during sleep and meditation. There are significant health benefits to maximizing theta wave production.

Here’s a study linking meditation to increased theta activity.

Gamma waves, by the way, are associated with things like an animal’s ability to sense danger.

Lee DJ, Kulubya E, Goldin P, Goodarzi A, Girgis F (2018). “Review of the Neural Oscillations Underlying Meditation”. Frontiers in Neuroscience . 12 : 178. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00178. PMC 5890111. PMID 29662434.

One of my dreams inspired me to make this thread for you. That’s no shit, either. You specifically.

I was about to mention that. It’s good that militaries can recognise the importance of sleep but ultimately it’s the op that dictates when you sleep, not a person.

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Excellent news, I hope you continue to improve.

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I’m at a weird but oddly familiar version of my high school. The day’s classes are over but there’s some sort of after-school event going on, and my principal is Miles Dyson from Cyberdyne Systems, the company responsible for creating SkyNet.

*image *

This is one of those dreams where I have levitation powers, so I’m happily hopping around the school after hours like Tigger having endless fun in the Hundred Acre Wood. I’m not sure I’m even still a student here. I eventually enter one of my favorite rooms in the school, the library, where I look around for something interesting. Because this was my high school library and not a good one, I can’t find anything interesting at all.

Then, on a shelf near the back wall I find an oily old yearbook. Turn out it belongs to Mr. Dyson, it’s his personal yearbook that he donated to the library for school posterity. Inside the front cover jacket I find a penned inscription that reads (paraphrasing) something along the lines of “something something, that W.Rabbit…something”. I stuff the book in my jacket and bail.

Eventually I make my way to the school roof, just as Principal Dyson rushes out of the main doors looking for me, because he realizes I have stolen his yearbook from the library. I quickly take refuge in a tall stack of boulders that happened to be placed near the school’s sports locker exits, hiding in the rocks. Eventually the danger passed, returned the book to its proper place, and flew away.

I can still sort of make out what the message in the yearbook was, but it was along the lines of W.Rabbit is a such a dickhead, so I figured someone here must have written it.

Here’s my new regimen. Of course talk to a doctor first, and tell them a non-MD doctor thought these were a good idea for sleep health.

Goji berries (wolfberries) - My new favorite witching hour snack. Used for thousands of years to promote healthy sleep. Loaded with antioxidants, Magnesium, Vitamin A and B1.

Vitamin D - COVID has led to a massive influx of “inside kids” and “inside adults” and unfortunately (and especially in the winter) this leads to a lack of natural sunlight exposure. Vitamin D supplements and foods rich in it are important for healthy sleep, and can prevent seasonal disorders associated with lack of sunlight. And most adults and older stop drinking cow’s milk for gastro reasons, so your best bet for Vitamin D is the proper food and/or a daily pill.

Magnesium - “the sleep mineral”. Deficits in this can seriously inhibit critical neuroreception processes. Assists GABA production, low magnesium means low GABA which means a brain on fire.

GABA: An amino acid that inhibits your brain’s neuronal excitability. GABA is produced from glutamate. Brains that are GABA deficient (from a variety of causes) exhibit uncontrolled synapse firing, especially during sleep cycles, causing a number of issues. You can also get these in synthetic supplement form.

Melatonin - A hormone normally made by the pineal gland (insert Lovecraft’s From Beyond joke here) when exposed to darkness. Careful with this one, even though this is available OTC, your body should naturally produce this as sunlight exposure decreases…but this is actually one of the strongest OTC sleep aids available, at up to 10mg. That’s twice what any human probably needs to actually fall asleep. Far safer than say, NyQuil, but there are potential side-effects from overdosing on this. Very commonly prescribed for insomina and hypersomnia.

In constrast with all the other common OTC sleep aids, this is one you don’t want to continue for too long, hence the “Know When to Stop” part here.

Melatonin is great, when coupled with a routine. Also, the recommended dosage may be a tad off from effective. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE, but I tend to double up. YMMV, and stay safe and don’t take drugs and shit.

Also, you can get 30mg if you look hard, and 60mg if you look really hard. OTC.

The key issue is that Melatonin is a hormone, compared to vitarmins/minerals/amino acids. It’s kind of like The Pill, sure the benefits are what you hope for but the effects on body chemistry are difficult to predict.

My personal experience with it is my heart rate rises and I actually get more alert. I’m typically a pretty calm person but the Melatonin before bed makes me feel like running a marathon at 2am. I am actually beginning to wonder if that’s because I enjoy the night more than the daylight hours…

Melatonin may, in fact, excite someone like me. If that’s the case, no mas.

I was finally able to see an NP (apparently, all the doctors are booked for telemedicine calls for months).

She thinks I’ve done a fabulous job of supplementing my vitamin and mineral regimes along with a healthy dose of martial arts exercises, because now I’m back to snoring (which is at least a form of breathing).

It looks like I’ve kicked the apnea at least for now, and the HYPNIC JERKS have abated. But I’m still going through the motions with a home test kit. I already know what they’ll tell me: somebody has a mask to sell me and my insurance will cover some part of it.

I’ll wear a mask in public to save lives any day.

I refuse to wear one to bed.

I believe it will do you some good.

A very close friend of mine had long apnea lapses during his snoring. His wife recorded him and he understood he had to go to the doctor.

He was literally tired all day until he gave a chance to wearing his mask at bedtime.

His mask is attached to a machine, it makes a noise very much like having Darth Vader staring at you all night.

I know because he even had to take the machine to a bachelor party weekend few years ago.

Please, give it a chance.
Wear your mask.
This is the way (to rest your mind and let your body recover)

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We’ll see if they even recommend CPAP first, there are other options like MAD mouthguards (and even I kid you not cybernetic implants…yeah no, see below). I’m sleeping through the night now, and not waking up Mrs. Rabbit, which are good signs my diet and sleep habit changes are working.

The funny thing about this whole experience is that my mind has been pretty even keeled beyond the first bad week I had when I started this thread (and yes, King’s X “Black Flag” was the inspiration for it if anyone picked up on that beside Sub).

I haven’t been suffering from the anxiety and stress that comes with sleep deprivation. I credit this entirely to the Chan training I’ve been doing for 11 years now. It really does work as a way to keep the mind freed up. The daytime fatigue (hypersomnia) has been going away gradually, but that part hasn’t been difficult.

I’ve actually been really productive while I was lying in bed awake, wrote a novel in my head.

Yeah, fuck this thing. I’ll wear the CPAP before I ever put electrodes in my body. I don’t even have any tattoos!

I believe it.