Sleep, Mood, Restless Legs and ADHD Improved By Internet Research

At the SLD forums, Anima describes using several  safe cheap treatments to improve his mood and sleep. First, he tried wearing blue blocker (amber) glasses in the evening. They made him fall asleep more easily and reduced or eliminated hypomania. However, he was still depressed. Second, he tried getting twenty minutes of sunlight early in the morning. His mood improved. But he still had trouble synchronizing his sleep/wake cycle with the sun — that is, being awake during the day and asleep at night. He would stay up an hour later every night and wake up an hour later every day, meaning that half the time he was asleep during the day and awake at night. Finally, he tried adjusting when he ate:

I recently found the missing key to this: meal timing.  I saw a talk that Seth gave where he talked about curing his problem with waking too early by skipping breakfast.  My problem was difficulty waking.  I read an article that suggested that our circadian rhythms are not just tied to light, but to food times as well.  I used to eat late at night and never eat breakfast.  I started eating breakfast immediately upon waking (ick) and stopping all food at least 12 hours before I wanted to wake.  Basically, I did what Seth did only opposite.  It worked. . . . I was even able to adjust my cat’s circadian rhythm — he used to wake me up too early for his breakfast — by gradually moving his supper time.

In another post he describes using B vitamins to treat his restless legs syndrome and ADHD:

I have been taking a supplement with all the B vitamins in amounts much higher than typically recommended. I have also been taking Epsom salt baths for magnesium. I have not experienced restless legs AT ALL since starting. This is quite remarkable to me, because it was such a problem. My ADHD is also much improved.

The idea of treating restless legs syndrome with niacin (a B vitamin) came from Dennis Mangan. Anima had noticed that ADHD and restless legs syndrome often occur together.

He makes some reasonable comments about psychiatrists:

Why are psychiatrists still acting like neurological problems exist in isolation, when clearly they are all related? [In the sense that you can use what is known about how to cure Problem X to help you cure Problem Y, if X and Y often occur together.] I used to take Lamictal, Depakote, Adderall and Ambien every day. That doesn’t include all the meds I tried that didn’t work. I’m currently wearing amber glasses at night and taking a B complex, flax oil (SLD-style) and bathing in epsom salts three times a week. My mood is more stable than it was on medication, and my ADHD is controlled about the same. My sleep is much better. My psychiatrist told me that I would be on medication for the rest of my life. When I told him that I was using dark therapy and light therapy and had stopped taking my medication, he told me that I was “playing with fire,” and that I would end up in a mental institution or commit suicide if I didn’t resume my medication, despite the fact that I had stopped taking it for longer than it would be effective. I asked him if he had read the research on dark therapy. He hadn’t, but he assured me that it is pseudoscience. I guess the definition of “pseudoscience” is any treatment that doesn’t make him money. I puckishly asked him if I seemed manic or depressed, and he was forced to admit that I did not.

The ability of this psychiatrist to ignore contradictory evidence in front of him resembles what happened to Reid Kimball. He told a UCSF gastroenterologist that he was successfully managing his Crohn’s with diet. In my experience, Crohn’s can’t be managed with diet, the doctor said at the end of the appointment.

8 Responses to “Sleep, Mood, Restless Legs and ADHD Improved By Internet Research”

  1. Just Me Says:

    The book “The Brain That Changes Itself” had a fascinating bit about attention deficit – researchers found that having kids memorize long poems and practice a new alphabet (handwriting , not computers) was more effective than drugs for treating AD – the author remarked that a generation ago, it was common for kids to learn poetry (most of our grandparents can still recite poems they had to memorize for school) and of course, there was great emphasis on penmanship.

    These things were jettisoned in the sixties, when educator figured the typewriter and recording devices rendered these skills unnecessary.

  2. Ed Says:

    Hello Seth,

    Thanks for this post and your writing on this site.

    Have you tried using the Vitamin D in the morning and the leg stands together for better sleep?

    After reading for a while I started taking Vitamin D in the morning. I have been using the sleep cycle app on my I phone. Yesterday I walked about 9.5 miles, and I fell asleep quickly and woke up rested, and according to my app it seemed I sleep more deeply as well. Have you heard of anyone mixing vitamin D and walking?

  3. BlueMorrissey Says:

    As someone who is bipolar, I look forward to trying these suggestions. I have not had depression since using Seth’s suggestions on morning faces. The only problem has been some mania and anxiety. I have these same problems with sleep. Going to bed very late and sleeping very late. Started back on ambien recently.

    Cutting out sugar has really seemed to help my anxiety of late. I realized I had really increased my sugar intake when my anxiety began. Of course starting back exercising has helped too.
    Cold showers helped my depression last year at this time.

    I was off medication for the first time in 9 years this summer, but the aforementioned problems from life stresses led me to get back on Cymbalta and Lamictal along with use of xanax when needed. The xanax seems to be the only thing that helps. Hope to eventually be able to get healthy on natural remedies only. Slowly and carefully.

  4. Nancy Lebovitz Says:

    One more thing that might not be incurable– I can make tinnitus stop for months by relaxing the big neck muscle on the same side as the ear. I generally just move my attention down that muscle a number of times, but massage or visualization might be worth exploring, too.

    Writing this makes me realize that I should explore moving my attention along other muscles I want to relax.

    Note– I’ve never had major exposure to loud sounds, the tinnitus seems to be related to anxiety, perhaps especially anxiety about money.

    Another note to make all this more plausible– when I move my head, I’ve occasionally felt the way neck muscles connect to my ear.

  5. Tom Says:

    guess the definition of “pseudoscience” is any treatment that doesn’t make him money.

    Best quote ever.

  6. Joseph Buchignani Says:

    This worked for me. I can’t take vitamin D pills, but limiting nighttime blue light exposure gets me to sleep faster, and eating quickly after waking and stopping eating 12 hours before I want to wake up allowed me to shift my Circadian to normal hours. Awesome!

  7. Anima Says:

    I am honored that Seth has referenced my posts on his blog, but I wanted to make one minor correction: I’m a girl. (I chose the user name because of Carl Jung’s use of it, but I can see how it could be confusing, because men have an anima, but it represents feminine qualities.) My gender is not salient, but ADHD manifests differently in women, and both it and Non-24 are far more prevalent in males, so I think it worth noting.

  8. Lots of Links « Sceptically Fit Says:

    [...] Why Women need Fat. Seth takes a look at successful experiments in treating sleeping disorders like Restless Leg with b vitamins, meal timing and regulating light exposure. Here’s two years of results of the Shangri-la diet – using flavourless calories to [...]