How These Five Strategies Help You to Overcome Lyme Disease Insomnia

Greg Blog 10 Comments

For people that have difficulty sleeping due to Lyme disease and co-infections
by Greg Lee

When I was growing up, we had an old tea kettle that we used for making hot water. When the water boiled, the whistle on the spout would make a really shrill noise you could hear throughout the house. Each time it whistled, our collection of over a dozen guinea pigs would squeak loudly with the teapot. The noise was so loud, it was impossible to hear oneself think.

How is a loud whistling tea pot similar to insomnia from Lyme disease?

Similar to a boiling teapot, people with Lyme disease can have too much mental noise or agitation which prevents them from sleeping
Just like a whistling tea kettle, Janey’s mind at night would bounce from one loud thought to the next about dealing with her Lyme disease and co-infections. Sometimes aches, pains, or buzzing in her legs would get in the way of finding a comfortable sleeping position. At some late hour, she would eventually doze off and get a few hours of restless sleep. The next morning, she’d wake up and feel like she had never slept. She tried lots of medication and supplements to get her mind and body to doze off.

Supplements and medications can help with insomnia from Lyme disease
Janey found that stopping all caffeine and taking melatonin helped a little. She found that Ambien and Lunesta also helped, however she wanted a more restful quality than drugged sleep. Whenever, she got a good night of sleep, she felt a huge difference in her energy levels, mental clarity, and emotional outlook the next day. However, her insomnia got worse whenever she switched to a new antibiotic. She began to dread getting a new prescription and the sleeplessness that followed. Her blood tests showed elevated inflammatory markers.

Increased inflammation can be measured in people with insomnia
In Intensive Care Unit (ICU) studies of patients, sleep deprivation increased immune system dysfunction, impaired wound healing, and changes in behavior1. In one mouse study, sleep deprived mice had elevated levels inflammatory cytokines:  Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-α), and Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)2. In one human sleep study, patients with insomnia showed increased metabolism in multiple areas of the brain and elevated levels of cortisol and IL-63. In another study on sleep deprived caregivers, elevated levels of a protein fragment called D-Dimer, which indicates increased hypercoagulation4. Unfortunately, Janey’s blood tests showed elevated levels of IL-6, TNF-α, and TGF-β. There appears to be a clinical correlation between elevated toxins that can increase both hypercoagulation and insomnia.

Increased toxins can also aggravate insomnia
According to the Biotoxin Pathway, elevated biotoxins from Lyme disease and Babesia can produce symptoms that can increase insomnia: body discomfort, mental unease, and emotional agitation5. This pathway also describes how drug resistant staph germs that reside in nasal passages, called Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staph (MARCoNS), produce toxins that get into the brain and can disrupt sleep6. These toxins can desynchronize or disrupt the electrical flow between the right and left hemispheres of the brain which also increases discomfort and insomnia7.

What strategies can help to clear toxins, reduce inflammation, and deepen sleep?

Combining multiple treatments can enhance and deepen sleep
When Lyme disease patients get improved sleep, they report increased vitality, mental clarity, and a more hopeful outlook. Here are several treatments and natural medicines which have helped many patients to eliminate infections and their toxins that disturb sleep and rest more deeply.

Strategy #1: Use sublingual essential oils for cutting through nasal biofilms and MARCoNS.
Janey was diagnosed with MARCoNS by her Lyme literate doctor. Her nasal medications helped to improve her frequent post-nasal drip, sinus congestion, and restless sleep. Her sleep dramatically improved soon after taking a customized combination of essential oils under her tongue before bed each night. She also adds these oils to a coconut oil mouth wash, called oil pulling, that she does every morning. Several of her essential oils have been shown to inhibit Staphylococcus and/or their biofilms in lab experiments, including: bay8, frankincense9, orange10, and peppermint11. Thyme and oregano essential oil reduced IL-1β, IL-6, GM-CSF, and TNF-α in one mouse study12. An herb like frankincense can also help with promoting sleep.

Strategy #2: Burn frankincense resin to help clear staph out of the sinuses
In ancient Mesopotamia, frankincense has been used to clean wounds of infections13. In animal experiments, a compound called incensole acetate in frankincense has demonstrated anti-depressant properties14, and inhibits TNF-α, IL-1β and TGF-β expression15. In lab experiments, frankincense essential oil inhibits formation of Staph and Candida biofilms16. Janey placed pieces of frankincense resin on hot charcoal to release the active compounds and inhaled a little of the smoke. Inhaling the smoke enables the compounds to travel into her sinuses to reach nasal Staph and biofilms. As a result of inhaling frankincense smoke, she reported greater mental peace and more restful sleep. Electro acupuncture can also help to reduce the electrical imbalances that disturb sleep.

Strategy #3: Use electro-acupuncture to improve the quality of sleep
In one study on breast cancer patients with hot flushes, electro acupuncture improved their quality of sleep17. Janey reported staying asleep longer in the days after receiving electro acupuncture for thirty minutes. Needles were placed on the right and left sides of the head in the back of her neck in acupuncture points along her Gall Bladder pathway (GB-30 and GB-17) using a dispersion wave setting on a KWD-808I electro acupuncture device with the intention of helping her right and left hemispheres of her brain to re-synchronize. In addition to electro acupuncture, low level microcurrent can help reduce inflammation and toxicity that can prevent deep sleep.

Strategy #4: Reduce Central Nervous System inflammation and toxicity with Frequency Specific Microcurrent
Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) uses a pair of very low electrical currents to work on a specific area and to promote healing18. In order to improve her quality of sleep, Janey was given multiple FSM treatments to reduce toxicity, inflammation, and protozoa infection in different areas of the brain: hippocampus, hypothalamus, brain stem, and thalamus. Not only does microcurrent help patients to sleep better, so does pulsed light therapy.

Strategy #5: Assist the brain to enter into a deeper sleep state using pulsed light therapy
In a traumatic brain injury study, an 810 nm laser pulsed at 10Hz helped with brain recovery and reducing depression better than other pulse rates17. Using an 810 nm pulsed LED light at 10 Hz in her nose, Janey immediately felt her brain relax. After a few minutes, she felt increased mental clarity and energy. Using the intranasal LED at night just before bed, helped her to experience a deeper state of rest. The intention of using a 10 Hz pulse rate is to help the brain to enter into an alpha wave sleep state which is 8 – 12 Hz. Multiple methods can deepen sleep by inducing an alpha state and eliminating the infections, excess toxins, inflammation that can drive insomnia.

Multiple methods and treatments can help reduce insomnia due to toxins and inflammation
Just like turning off the heat under a whistling teapot, using a combination of herbs, essential oils, electro acupuncture, Frequency Specific Microcurrent, and pulsed light therapy can help to reduce the mental noise and physical agitation that keep patients awake at night. These methods work together to reduce infections, toxins, and inflammation that can disturb sleep. Since some of these herbs and treatments are contraindicated with certain conditions, work with a Lyme literate acupuncturist and herbalist to develop a proper, safe, and effective strategy for your situation.

P.S. Do you have experiences where herbs or treatment helped you to reduce Lyme disease insomnia? Tell us about it.

>> Next step: Click here to learn more about natural treatments for Lyme, C. diff and co-infections in our private HEAL for REAL Facebook Group!

1. Patel M, Chipman J, Carlin BW, Shade D. Sleep in the intensive care unit setting. Crit Care Nurs Q. 2008 Oct-Dec;31(4):309-18; quiz 319-20. doi: 10.1097/01.CNQ.0000336816.89300.41.
2. Kim JY, Lee YD, Kim BJ, Kim SP, Kim DH, Jo KJ, Lee SK, Lee KH, Baik HW. Melatonin improves inflammatory cytokine profiles in lung inflammation associated with sleep deprivation. Mol Med Rep. 2012 May;5(5):1281-4. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2012.814.

3. Riemann D, Kloepfer C, Berger M. Functional and structural brain alterations in insomnia: implications for pathophysiology. Eur J Neurosci. 2009 May;29(9):1754-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06721.x.
4. Wilde JT, Kitchen S, Kinsey S, Greaves M, Preston FE. Plasma D-dimer levels and their relationship to serum fibrinogen/fibrin degradation products in hypercoagulable states. Br J Haematol. 1989 Jan;71(1):65-70.
5. Shoemaker, R. The Biotoxin Pathway.
6. Klinghardt, D. A Deep Look Beyond Lyme. 2012 Physician’s Round Table. January 28th, 2012. Tampa, FL.
7. Klinghardt, D.
8. Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts. J Appl Microbiol. 1999 Jun;86(6):985-90.
9. Schillaci D, Arizza V, Dayton T, Camarda L, Di Stefano V. In vitro anti-biofilm activity of Boswellia spp. oleogum resin essential oils. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2008 Nov;47(5):433-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2008.02469.x.
10. Muthaiyan A, Biswas D, Crandall PG, Wilkinson BJ, Ricke SC. Application of orange essential oil as an antistaphylococcal agent in a dressing model. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Aug 16;12:125. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-125.
11. Anghel I, Grumezescu AM. Hybrid nanostructured coating for increased resistance of prosthetic devices to staphylococcal colonization. Nanoscale Res Lett. 2013 Jan 2;8(1):6. doi: 10.1186/1556-276X-8-6.
12. Bukovská A, Cikos S, Juhás S, Il’ková G, Rehák P, Koppel J. Effects of a combination of thyme and oregano essential oils on TNBS-induced colitis in mice. Mediators Inflamm. 2007;2007:23296. doi: 10.1155/2007/23296.
13. R D Forrest. Early history of wound treatment. J R Soc Med. 1982 March; 75(3): p. 199.
14. Moussaieff A, Gross M, Nesher E, Tikhonov T, Yadid G, Pinhasov A. Incensole acetate reduces depressive-like behavior and modulates hippocampal BDNF and CRF expression of submissive animals. J Psychopharmacol. 2012 Dec;26(12):1584-93. doi: 10.1177/0269881112458729. Epub 2012 Sep 26.
15. Moussaieff A, Yu J, Zhu H, Gattoni-Celli S, Shohami E, Kindy MS. Protective effects of incensole acetate on cerebral ischemic injury. Brain Res. 2012 Mar 14;1443:89-97. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Jan 9.
16. Schillaci D.
17. Frisk J, Källström AC, Wall N, Fredrikson M, Hammar M. Acupuncture improves health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) and sleep in women with breast cancer and hot flushes. Support Care Cancer. 2012 Apr;20(4):715-24. doi: 10.1007/s00520-011-1134-8. Epub 2011 Apr 6.
18. McMakin, Carolyn (2011-10-28). Frequency Specific Microcurrent in Pain Management (Kindle Locations 274-275). Churchill Livingstone. Kindle Edition.
19. Takahiro Ando, Weijun Xuan, Tao Xu, Tianhong Dai, Sulbha K. Sharma, Gitika B. Kharkwal, Ying-Ying Huang, Qiuhe Wu, Michael J. Whalen, Shunichi Sato, Minoru Obara, Michael R. Hamblin. Comparison of Therapeutic Effects between Pulsed and Continuous Wave 810-nm Wavelength Laser Irradiation for Traumatic Brain Injury in Mice. Plos One. 6(10):e26212 (online).

Comments 10

  1. I use msm powder, GABA and L-5htp and that has helped my sleep to be better. I also have to take antibiotics too and be careful of inflammatory foods like dairy, eggs, wheat/gluten. My sleep is better than it was. It’s not perfect but it is much better.

  2. Post

    Those supplements have been helpful for many of my patients, too. Good point about having a low inflammation diet as being extremely important. It’s great to hear about what’s working for you.

  3. dr. zhangs herbal medicine, Herbsom works incredibly well. much better than melatonin and i assume safer. but i use melatonin only now because i can’t afford the $40 per bottle per month

  4. Post

    The three herbs in the Herbsom formula corydalis, zizyphus, and schisandra berry all have sedative properties. They are also non-addictive. However, corydalis is cautioned for use if you are depleted, low energy for it is said to “consume qi energy and blood.”

  5. Taking adderall in the mornin to wake me upg, plus taking Florine’s and vasopressin have helped greatly with my sleep cycle. Though my pain is always greatest at night when it’s cold or the pressure is changing.

    1. Post
  6. Very helpful article – sitting in a hot sauna before bedtime has been Helpful to me as well.
    Also, I recently purchased a Jidue mask – which helps me fall asleep and fall back asleep afer I wake up in the middle of the night. That is something worth trying as well.

    1. Post

      Hi John,

      I’ve never heard of a Jidue mask before. It looks interesting. Detoxification methods like saunas have been essential for patients damaged by cipro.

  7. Hi Greg, I was reading the information on your site about sleep and Lyme.

    I’ve been dealing with a lot of pain for my rotator cuff injury for over a year and found the only thing that helps was Corydalis Seven Forrests.

    It helps the pain but I became very sick after only taking two. I’m dealing with Lymes disease and read it is antibacterial and maybe that’s why I got such a bad herx.

    I’ve tried so many herbs errors and supplements for my shoulder and nothing’s helped the pain. I’ve tried turmeric and fennel. I’ve been to physical therapy for six months and they can’t do anything else.

    Do you have any idea if the corydalis is contradicted in Lymes? Or can you recommend anything else for pain for rotator cuff besides those listed here?

    A lot of therapies you recommend are not available where I live in Asheville, NC. Or are more than I can afford

    Thanks, Lori

    I look forward to hearing from you, Lori

    1. Post

      HI Lori,

      If you have good results with Corydalis 5 by Seven Forrests, then treatments like cupping and bloodletting, ultrapure moxabustion, needle moxabustion may be extremely helpful in releasing the “stagnation” in the rotator cuff area. There are many acupuncturists in Asheville including my colleague Nance Pettit

      I have not found any contraindications for corydalis and Lyme, most cautions are with blood thinning medications.

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