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Tashimoto: Elusive Sleep


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My wife of 35 years is a retired Flight Attendant. She has suffered from insomnia for over two decades, with brief respites. No doubt, international flying messed up her circadian rhythms and contributed to her sleep problems. For 19 years she took small doses, 50 mgs per night, of the tricyclic antidepressant, Trimipramine, as this seemed to be the only substance that offered her something like a decent night's sleep. However, after all those years, she became so fed up with the drug's side effects that two years ago, she tapered off and was completely off by a year and a half ago.


Since that time, we have explored every avenue, particularly the alternative, holistic, natural ones, in an effort to remedy her insomnia. Much of what we discovered by trial and error confirms what the moderator of this site has brilliantly covered in her many submissions. We found that while B vitamins are supposed to 'calm the nerves', the exact opposite occurred for my wife. She became over stimulated, even by relatively small amounts of B's. Learning that many commercial B vitamin products are synthetically derived from coal tar didn't help things. We tried all the usual natural suspects for insomnia, including but not limited to: Valerian, Hops, Skullcap, Passionflower, California Poppy, Jujube, Ashwagandha, various Tibetan and Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal formulations; acupuncture, Vega testing, massage, homeopathy, Bach Flower Remedies; 5-HTP, Tryptophan, Milk Peptides, every form of magnesium under the sun; even more exotic things like adenosine monophosphate and nitric oxide precursors... all to little or no avail. In truth, sometimes these things would prolong her sleep a bit, but how I longed for her to just once say that she had slept through the night.


All this time, we were trying to address her insomnia, as though insomnia was the problem and insomnia remedies would provide the solution. It didn't really occur to us until recently that maybe her sleeplessness might be due to something outside the box labeled insomnia & insomnia cures. She had tests done that revealed high levels of mercury, lead and arsenic in her body. She had many amalgam fillings for many years. These were removed some years ago, but in a way that could have actually added a lot of mercury to her already taxed system. We have only recently begun a heavy metals detox program which I will be happy to follow up on if there is interest here. We were particularly impressed with the information on this subject provided by a bright PhD biochemist named Dr. Chris Shade. The lengthy, challenging biochemical version of his dissertation on mercury is available at:



for a more accessible, non-technical, shorter summary, please see:


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  • Administrator

Welcome, Tashimoto. Thank you for joining us, and for your kind words.


Has your wife has some unusual exposure to heavy metals?


It sounds like she originally had circadian rhythm disregulation from crossing time zones, etc. Has melatonin helped at all? Have you tried blocking out the light in the bedroom with blackout shades and curtains?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Hi altostrata,

only have time for quick note. We have tried many brands of melatonin, including Mercola's nano particle spray. It hasn't helped, neither have darkened rooms. Apart from her many amalgam fillings (now removed) we cannot figure out why my wife would have high lead and arsenic levels. Sleuthing continues.



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