Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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 intelligently. 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.
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 duirng 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 only happens while you’re asleep. So it’s not because your neck is too fat, or your throat is wrong. It’s because 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 are not paralyzed and can take a breath. Every time your deep sleep is interrupted in this way you lose repair time.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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 and are fat or more female appearing than their age group 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.