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Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I use the Vitamin D level my doctor did already?

If your level was 30 ng/ml or less you can use that as your first D blood level  to start RightSleep. You will need several other D levels in the first year and they must be accurate if you want sleep better. The laboratory  testing companies have made D testing machines that are cheaper and easier for the labs to use. Unfortunately the results are not accurate above a vitamin D level of 40ng/ml.  (They usually read 10-20 points higher than the accurate LC/MS test .) In order to have accurate D blood level results, once your level is above 40 ng/ml, you must be able to have your D tested using a large, expensive machine called a LightChromatograph, Mass Spectrometer  = LC/MS. You can do that test inexpensively and on your own, without a doctor, using

RightSleep Quick Start Basics gives you the details of what to order.

My doctor wants to measure D3 1,25 OH instead of D3 25OH why is that wrong?

D3 25OH is the form of D that goes into all the cells that need D. Most cells that use D have their own enzyme that converts D3 25OH to D3 1,25 OH when they need it. The blood measurement of D 1,25OH is only relevant to bone and kidney and does not relate to the D3 25OH that goes into the brain and makes us sleep better. The blood level to follow for better sleep is the D3 25OH

What about B12 testing, how do I interpret my result?

Your brain needs a B12 blood level of over 500 pg/ml to sleep normally. If you are B12 deficient you will need extra B12 as a separate pill .  Deficient is B12 less than 500 pg/ml.

If you are on B12 supplement NOW (at a dose of 500 mcg or above) and you test your B12 blood level it will usually be more than 1000.  That is not dangerous and it does NOT mean that you should stop your B12. If you just started taking B12 to feel better : In order to know what your B12 blood level is naturally you must be off B12 supplement for a month.

You can stop your supplement and test  a month later, or if you already know you feel better when you take B12 then you can just stay on B12 at a dose of 1000 mcg daily during the time you are trying to improve your sleep.  2-3 years from now, when your sleep is perfect and you run out of B12 if you don’t notice any difference then stay off it and get your B12 level done the next time you see your doctor .

Will vitamins make me sleepy?

No: Vitamin deficiencies can cause sleep problems but vitamins don’t act like sleeping pills. Giving back the right vitamin combination can help your brain slowly return to sleeping normally. Also, some vitamins make people feel more energetic and may make it harder to sleep, so each person must pay attention to how the vitamins affect them personally. Some like taking D in the evening some in the morning. I think we should take them all in the morning and get it over with so it becomes a habit to take them every day

How do sleeping pills work?

Neurotransmitters are the chemicals our brain uses to get into and stay in sleep. People who don’t sleep normally don’t make enough of these chemicals. Every medication we give you to help you sleep is a copy of one of our normal chemicals. Unfortunately, we just don’t know ahead of time which one you will need. Because there’s no way to know ahead of time we have to find out by trial and error. The one that makes you sleep well and feel good in the morning is the right one for you.

Are sleep medications bad for me?

No, sleep medications are not “bad” when used correctly. Each person is different. Any medicine that allows you to fall asleep, stay asleep and feel better on awakening is right for you. No repair can happen until you are sleeping and if you have not slept normally for years you may not get better until you find the right sleep medication. It is indeed a crutch, but that crutch can help you get better by allowing your own sleep switches to heal themselves.

What if my sleeping pill makes me feel “dopey” in the morning?

Any medicine that makes you feel worse is not the right one. Sometimes, as you sleep better you’ll start making your own chemicals again and your sleeping pill will be too strong. You will know when it’s time to stop it or reduce the dose.

My doctor told me I’m really sleeping but I just don’t know it. Is that true?

No. Your observations about your own body are always right. If you are not sleeping into the deeper stages of sleep you will not wake refreshed. Your doctor should be willing to keep trying things until you fall asleep, stay asleep and feel good on awakening.

How many kinds of sleep are there? What is deep sleep?

Simply put there is “light sleep” and “deep sleep”. Deep sleep is made up of 1) “slow wave sleep” and 2) “rapid eye movement sleep”. In light sleep we are asleep but still moving around and not making repairs. We only make repairs during deep sleep and we paralyze the moving parts so we can fix them. Children only grow during deep sleep, so getting into deep sleep and being paralyzed correctly are both very important. Read more about sleep.

My doctor says I have apnea. What does “apnea” mean?

Apnea means “no breath”, you stopped breathing. This doesn’t happen while you’re lying on the couch watching a movie, it usually happens while you’re asleep. We paralyze the throat during deep sleep so we can’t yell out in dreams. Sometimes the brain makes a mistake and the throat gets “too paralyzed” and closes up. When the brain senses that you’re not breathing it wakes you to light sleep so you can take a breath. Every time your deep sleep is interrupted in this way you lose repair time. If you have apnea you may have two problems, ”too paralyzed” in deep sleep,  and a small airway (the part you breathe through), so you should have airway evaluated by a sleep dentist.

My doctor says I have to wear a PAP thing, what is that?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a way to keep the throat open when it’s “too paralyzed”. You wear a mask on your face that blows air into the throat to keep it open. This allows you to stay in deep sleep longer even if your “paralysis switch” is not working correctly. RightSleep can still help you get better even if you have to wear a CPAP device, it’s possible that you might get better enough that you wouldn’t need it any more!

My doctor says I have PLMS, what is that? Is it dangerous? Is it like Restless Legs?

Restless Leg Syndrome is different from Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS). PLMS are usually leg ( sometimes arm)  movements measured during a sleep study. They mean you are not getting paralyzed correctly in deep sleep. They are related to the D/ B/ microbiome issues discussed on this site and go away when the paralysis gets fixed.

Restless leg syndrome is an uncomfortable feeling in the legs, making you want to kick or pedal them like an ”air bicycle”.It comes with drowsiness, not sleep.  First it will be just at bedtime, but as you get more and more sleep deprived it can start showing up anytime you feel drowsy. This disorder is linked to dopamine levels and through dopamine to iron and ferretin levels. Your doctor will usually order an iron level and a ferretin level and may treat you with iron if it is low. Important:  the SNRI antidepressants (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)  can cause this syndrome. ( Pristique, Cymbalta, Effexor, Fetzima) These are very difficult medications to stop, and it may take over a year to do so safely . The RLS may still  be present for several months after the SNRI’s are stopped. There are four very different  types of medicines that work in this condition and each person seems to be pretty picky about the category that works for them so it’s  trial and error to find the medicine that works. Pramipexol, ropinerol, lyrica, gabapentin, klonopin and opiods.

I get up to pee multiple times at night can RightSleep fix that and let me sleep?

We were originally designed to suppress urination, hunger, and bowel movements during sleep to have eight uninterrupted hours of repair every night.  There are several things that go wrong with D/microbiome loss that affect the bladder. What the urologist usually say is that the prostate is too big and, in fact, when the D goes low the prostate gets bigger. But that’s not really the whole story.  While we sleep anti-diuretic hormone is released from the pituitary to turn off urine production. But if we don’t get into deep sleep this part doesn’t happen. That means kids without deep sleep make too much urine and wet the bed. Adults make too much urine and get up a lot. In addition, people who have B5 deficiency may have burning hands or feet and bladder hypersensitivity that makes them feel like they have to go frequently even with small amounts of urine. RightSleep addresses all of these issues.

My dentist told me he could make me an Oral Appliance that would help me with my sleep. What does that mean?

The oral appliance is a piece of plastic that is placed in the mouth at night to move the jaw forward and allow the passage of air through the throat even when you get too paralyzed. They are usually used for people who were unable to tolerate the CPAP device, or have only mild apnea. You can still use the RightSleep method and an oral appliance.

My doctor says my sleep study shows that I don’t have “apnea”. Why do I feel so lousy?

Sleep apnea is just one of many sleep disorders. If your doctor doesn’t know how to look for the amount of deep sleep you had on your sleep study your sleep problem could be overlooked. The vitamin deficiencies described on this site are in the background for every person with abnormal sleep. The correct vitamin replacement can help you stay in deep sleep longer so you feel better even if you don’t have apnea. Read more about sleep. Read more about vitamin D & B vitamins.

Why can’t I sleep? Could the vitamins help me if I just have insomnia?

Yes. Sleep problems are either a broken “paralysis switch”, which causes apnea (“too paralyzed”) or a broken “clock”. The “sleep clock” is run by the brain, which always knows exactly what time it is. Insomnia or sleeping at the wrong time is a clock problem. Insomnia is not the same as apnea, but it is just as serious. Non-restorative sleep, for any reason, shortens our life and makes us feel terrible. Read more about sleep.

But what if I work nights?

People who cannot sleep at night work nights. When they stop working nights they still sleep in the day, because “I used to work nights”. It is really because their sleep has been very abnormal for a very long time. Normal humans cannot work nights because they fall asleep on the job and get fired. If you have medical problems they will never be cured as long as you continue to work nights.

How long will it take for me to feel better?

A little repair every night means many nights to get better. When the vitamins finally arrive the clock and the paralysis cells start to make repairs, but only during deep sleep. If you have many repairs to make you will need months to years of perfect sleep to function normally again, even with CPAP, an oral appliance ( a mouthpiece that a dentist makes to move your lower jaw forward to help your breathing in sleep), medications and the correct vitamins.

I have an MTHFR single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) does that mean I need different kind of B vitamins?

There are several brands of B complex with methylated forms on the market and you can use them to follow the RightSleep program. But I don’t think you have to use the methylated form to start with and here’s why:

When you take B50 you are giving it to two “individuals” you, and the belly bugs. The belly bugs do not have that MTHFR snp, (and they’re not picky, they just want all 8 B’s). The B50 encourages the healthy foursome of bacteria to grow back and then they run the B’s, like they have for millions of years.

The normal belly bugs probably make several forms of B vitamins (in fact it’s never been carefully studied). If there are so many people walking around with the MTHFR snps it likely that that snp had a survival advantage in the past. There had to have been a ”natural” supply of that form of vitamin coming from the bugs or that snp wouldn’t have been passed down to us.  The bacterial supply has been our supply for millions of years,  long before we knew what snp’s were. So I don’t mind if you use a special form but it’s my guess that saying that you ”can’t use” a certain form is a little too simplistic and misses the bigger evolutionary picture.

Once your bugs are back you are, in fact, receiving what your body was meant to use. Later, in month six when you’re adding back extra B’s you may want to use the methylated forms.

What happens if I have to take antibiotics?

The four phyla of healthy bacteria that make up your microbiome need D and the B vitamins to become established. Once you’ve done that you can take antibiotics as needed without permanently affecting your healthy microbiome. As long as you keep your D supply up they’ll be fine. Bacteria make antibiotics themselves, that help protect us so they’re used to having antibiotics around. The populations will change while you’re taking the antibiotics but will return to the healthy foursome again once you stop them.

I don’t really like taking pills why do I have to take a multivitamin along with all these other pills?

The mvi has many things that aren’t B’s and are necessary for healing and better sleep. The deficiencies that develop from having lost your healthy microbiome are not just B’s.  I think the microbiome has also been responsible for absorbing the minerals like zinc, copper, selenium and iron, etc. You take the mvi so that you will be supplying other things your body needs.  I ask that you be on a multivitamin with small dose of B’s, approximately 100% min daily rec dose and 10 mg of B5,  throughout the program.  You will be replenishing stores of many other things such as A and E and minerals by using the mvi. You will use the mvi until you have to come off the B’s all together at the end of the program. By then your stores of  B’s and minerals are replenished and you don’t need any supplements except D.

How long will it take for the vitamins to help my sleep?

Your sleep won’t change much until the vitamin D level is 60-80ng/ml. Vitamin D levels over 80 ng/ml can make your sleep terrible too. Once your sleep is better, if it gets worse again check your vitamin D level immediately!

Can’t I just start some vitamins? I really don’t like having blood tests done:

No: Vitamins help guide you in the right direction but repair only happens during sleep. Sleep happens normally when your vitamin D blood level is perfect. You can’t get better without knowing what your vitamin D blood level is and keeping it 60-80 ng/ml. Read more about vitamin D & B vitamins.

Can these vitamins hurt me?

Yes! Some people need tiny doses of vitamin D, ( 1,000 IU/day) those people will feel worse in 1-2 weeks or sometimes immediately on starting large dose vitamin D ( 10,000 IU/day). Anyone who feels worse should lower the vitamin D dose and get a vitamin D blood level done immediately!

I’ve heard that I may need extra magnesium if I take more vitamin D. What do you recommend?

When you start the RightSleep program if you have more frequent headaches or muscle cramps it may mean that you need extra magnesium ( 300-500 mg) in addition to the amount that is in your multivitamin. The one form of magnesium that you should NOT use is magnesium oxide, which is not well absorbed from the GI tract. (The oxide form is fine for constipation but not for headache or cramps.)

My doctor started me on vitamin D four years ago, why am I still so tired and sleeping badly?

Vitamin D outside the range of 60-80 ng/ml does not produce better sleep. The level must be in range for improved sleep to occur. Also, after two years of levels of 60-80 ng/ml my patients began to have more pain and poor sleep again. We discovered that using D alone didn’t work. Vitamin D plus B50 or B100 was needed to correct the intestinal bacteria in order to provide the right doses of B vitamins for normal sleep every night.  Read the blog “Healthy Bacteria Healthy Sleep” for more information.

I heard that the B vitamins are safe to take in big doses, we just pee out the excess. Is that true?

No. Two of the B vitamins; B5, pantothenic acid and B6 pyridoxine, can cause pain when there is a deficiency but can also cause pain if dose is too high. Any patient who has more body pain or stiffness on starting B50 should stop B50 and compare. Some people need  ½ the dose, or B25 and others need a larger dose, B100. During the first three months each person needs to adjust their B dose to awaken pain free.

You say in the Third Phase of RightSleep I adjust the B5 by 5 mg using my multivitamin or a small dose B complex, why not just adjust B5 by itself?

Three reasons: One, B5 comes in doses of 100 mg and 400 mg tablets not in 5 mg doses. But by Phase 3 your body can tell the difference in 5 mg doses of B5 and it wants a very specific dose. Two, you already have a multivitamin that should have 10 mg of B5 so it’s easy to start the increase up using what you already have. Three, even though the physical sensations we’re using are B5-related the body always uses the B vitamins as an 8-pack so it’s important to increase all the B’s together. Please read Part 3 of the RightSleep Workbook.

I hear everyone but you talk about taking vitamin K2 with vitamin D. Why don’t you think we need it?

Vitamin D has several cofactors that work with it to do it’s many jobs throughout the body K is just one of them. K2 is the cofactor that works with D in its actions on bone. So it is true that K2 helps D do it’s job but only when it comes to bone, not sleep. And you will do two things in this protocol that will provide K2, usually it is in the multivitamin that you will take, and another, even more important source of K2 is your intestinal bacteria. You are bringing the good belly bacteria back and they are providing K2. If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you’ll want to add additional K2 at 100 mcg/day. Extra calcium is usually not needed once your D is in range and may make your calcium level go too high.

My doctor says I just stay up too late? Is that true?

Sleep is not something we have any control over so you can’t “do it wrong”. People with normal sleep fall asleep despite the television, their telephone or their partner’s snoring at 9:00-10:00 pm. People with insomnia often try to lie down at 10:00 but they don’t fall asleep, they get bored lying in the bed and get up again. When they’re better they fall asleep at 10:00 pm despite what they’re doing. go to the Blog “what if your sleep problem is not really your fault”.

I take my sleeping pills at 9:00 pm but I don’t fall asleep until 3-4:00 am, what should I do?

You can’t force the brain to fall asleep when it doesn’t want to, even with sleeping pills. Take the pills a half hour before you know you usually fall asleep even if it’s 4:00 am, then try to sleep as long as you can. When you add the vitamins described on this site you will slowly start getting sleepy earlier, when that happens take the medications a little earlier. Use your own body as the guide, slowly, over months you will start to get sleepy at 10:00 pm.

I get my best sleep in my recliner but my doctor tells me to go to bed to use my CPAP.

If you sleep better in a chair than in the bed it usually means that even with the CPAP you stop breathing when you’re lying flat. The pressure setting of your CPAP may need to be turned up. But it’s better overall to put the CPAP device next to your recliner and sleep there. Your body will tell you what is better for you and when to go back to the bed again.

My family tells me not to take naps, what do you think?

There is no “wrong” time to sleep. When you start taking the vitamins correctly your brain will want to sleep more. What repairs the sleep clock is sleeping. Once you can sleep, sleep as much as you can, any time you can and don’t feel guilty about it! Pay attention to what your body is doing and respond to that.

When do normal people sleep?

I believe that normal sleep is 9-10:00 pm, wake at 6:00 am. Even my patients who had been sleeping during the day for 20 years slowly move to sleeping from 10pm – 6am. People who work nights are doomed to failure. If we correct your sleep you will fall asleep at work. Your sleep cannot be cured while you still work nights.

Why do I ache all over when I wake up? My doctor says I have fibromyalgia.

Abnormal paralysis, contracting your muscles while you are sleeping instead of paralyzing them, results in morning pain and stiffness called fibromyalgia. People with normal sleep get paralyzed correctly and repair their body every night. They wake without any pain or stiffness. Also it appears that a low D level changes the belly bugs and they play a role in providing us with the building blocks to make the endocannabinoids that affect our pain system.  To learn about endocannabinoids see Dr. Ethan Russo on youtube.

I have always been a “restless sleeper” will that change with the vitamins?

Snoring and apnea are “too paralyzed”, restlessness, frequent movements, sleep talking, sleep walking, night terrors or acting out dreams in sleep are all “not paralyzed enough”. Both are abnormal both get better when the vitamins are right and the paralysis switch begins to work normally again. “I was always a restless sleeper” is still not normal. Many people with sleep disorders have not slept normally since childhood.

Should I use my “fitbit” at night to see how much I’m moving in sleep?

Measuring your movement in sleep with a “fitbit” or a phone application is an excellent way to measure the amount of deep sleep you had.  Because we are normally paralyzed in deep sleep the amount of time when you are not moving is a reasonable estimate of the amount of time spent in deep sleep, especially between 3-6 am when we do most of our REM sleep. Bed partners should report changes in snoring, talking or kicking during sleep and you should notice how messy your bedclothes are in the morning.

Can I be asleep and awake at the same time?

Normally no, our brain was designed so that we could only be awake or asleep but never both, but people whose brain centers have not been repairing for many years can begin to malfunction so severely that they can be both awake and asleep. It’s dangerous and embarrassing!

What does it look like to be awake and asleep at the same time?

Awake and dreaming at the same time is called “hypnogogic hallucinations”. Awake but still paralyzed is called sleep paralysis. Falling to the ground unable to move is called cataplexy. Attacks of falling down flopping around like a fish (that neurologists call “pseudo-seizures”) are the opposite of cataplexy. I’ve made up the term “kineoplexy”; meaning being struck down by movement instead of struck down by paralysis.

Why would someone get paralyzed while they were awake?

In cataplexy and kineoplexy the paralysis switch is turning “on” inappropriately while awake. It can either activate the muscles or paralyze them but in either case the person is awake but lying on the ground completely unable to control their body.

What is narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy just means’ attacks of sleep”, it can appear in anyone who has had a very severe sleep disorder for a long time. When the sleep gets better sometimes they have other movement disorders in sleep called “REM behavioral disorder” which means acting out dreams in sleep. Both of these problems mean the sleep switches are severely affected and may need many months of vitamins as well as other means of therapy to improve.

Last year my uncle woke up but couldn’t remember and kept asking us the same question over and over for two hours, then he seemed to “wake up” and could remember again. Could that be related to sleep?

Sleep is the only time we don’t make new memories, in fact we recognize that we’ve been asleep because time has passed and we have no memory of it. During sleep we are downloading the videos we’ve made all day. We are also repairing the memory machine called the “hippocampus”. When everything in the brain wakes up except the memory machine we call it “transient global amnesia” TGA. Transient global amnesia comes abruptly and leaves abruptly. During the time that the hippocampus is in the “off” or “sleep ” position that person is unable to make new memories. They usually ask the same question over and over, sometimes for hours, then the switch flips back to the “awake” or “on” position and start to make memories again. In my opinion TGA is a sleep disorder that happens while we’re awake. It rarely happens more than once to the same person but it is a sign that an underling sleep disorder needs to be treated.

Could my headaches be linked to not sleeping normally?

Yes, absolutely! Headaches are a genetic condition. Any patient who has a normal brain scan and frequent headaches has a sleep disorder and fixing the sleep disorder will usually fix the headaches.

Are there other neurological problems that get better with sleeping better?

Yes. Many neurological disorders are caused by genetic mutations. Those mutations were in the DNA from birth. They start to cause a “neurological problem” when the sleep becomes abnormal, even if the person is not aware of having a sleep disorder. In my patients, headache, tremor, epilepsy and vertigo all improved with improved sleep. That means your neurologist has two possible forms of treatment;  helping you sleep and using a medication designed to help your specific neurological problem.

Can sleep problems cause memory problems?

Yes. Most people who go to see their doctor for the complaint of “I can’t remember “ are not suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, they are suffering from incomplete REM sleep. During sleep we “consolidate” our memories, dust off the paths to where our memories are stored so the librarian can find what we need when we need it. We download and sort the videos we make while awake, decide what to keep and what not to keep. Incomplete sleep is the biggest cause of memory and learning difficulties in all age groups.

Can children be sleeping but not in the right phases of sleep?

Yes. The biggest predisposing factor to ADD, ADHD, autism, depression, anger issues, anxiety in children is inadequate sleep. Usually the child is sleeping but wakes tired or cranky. This means they have not completed all of the stages of sleep. The brain is insisting that they need to go back to sleep, but we have to wake them to get them off to school. Children who do not complete the deeper stages of sleep have learning, development, and behavioral issues that can be repaired by normalizing their sleep. Children who sleep normally wake up easily at 6:00 am happy, alert and calm. The vitamin D level for normal sleep in children is also 60-80 ng/ml. go to the Blog Autism can be caused by inadequate REM sleep.

Is autism linked to abnormal sleep?

Yes. Brain development occurs every night but only during deep sleep. If there is not enough time to develop all parts something has to be left undone. The brain apparently leaves social interaction for last. Knowing  math and reading may allow a person to survive to adulthood, but the lack of normal social skills still leaves that individual less likely to marry or have children because of their lack of normal connection to other humans.

Is lack of growth, puberty and sexual development linked to poor sleep:

Yes. Growth in children only happens in slow wave sleep, if they don’t get enough of that phase they don’t grow. Sexual development is related to sleep phases. All of the endocrine hormones such as estrogen and testosterone responsible for normal sexual development are made and released during sleep. Girls may develop polycystic ovarian syndrome or severe and irregular periods. Boys don’t develop normal male body type if they are not sleeping normally.

Can poor sleep cause mood disorders in children?

Yes, absolutely. All of the mood disorders in children are related to having abnormal sleep, all can be helped by improving the sleep.

Can poor sleep cause learning difficulties in children?

Yes. We learn only by getting into deep sleep. We also make the chemicals that make us able to pay attention and stay focused while we are sleeping. Your child can appear to sleep normally at night and still have these issues and can be helped by measuring vitamin D levels and treating with vitamin D and the B vitamins as described on this site.

Are my child’s belly complaints related to this too?

Yes. The vitamin D deficiency that causes abnormal sleep also causes the bacteria in the intestine to be abnormal. Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, frequent nausea, constipation, uncontrolled diarrhea, can all be related to this cascade of events and can be helped by carefully following the treatment described on this site.

My teenager stays up to late. Can that be related to the vitamins?

Yes. As soon as they enter puberty teens who were “not a morning person” as children, move to “I can’t fall sleep”. Normal teens fall asleep at 9-10, teens who are vitamin D deficient just don’t feel sleepy until 1:00 am. This is a sleep disorder that can be treated with the vitamin regimen described on this site.

My son wakes up crying that his legs hurt every night. Can the vitamins help him?

Yes. He has a movement disorder during sleep. His legs do not get paralyzed correctly during the phase in which he should be growing and repairing his legs, so they hurt. This a primary complaint of vitamin D deficiency and can be treated by following the regimen of D and B’s described on the site. Also iron levels affect our ability to get properly paralyzed. Get the iron and ferritin levels checked and supplement iron if they are low.

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