I have no issue with falling asleep, but my problem is staying asleep.


Q: Hi Dr. Lam, I have no issue with falling asleep (I’m usually fairly tired by 10:00 p.m.), but my problem is staying asleep. I usually wake up every 1-2 hours all through the night. I feel that if I can just get a week’s worth of quality sleep, I would be able to turn the corner on my fatigue and anxiety. … Is this due to an over activated sympathetic response and would take something like L-Tryptophan and/or Passion Flower before bedtime help? … Thanks!

A: What you have is called sleep maintenance insomnia (SMI). It is common in adrenal exhaustion, and can be related to many issues, including metabolic and insulin, as well as ANS dysfunction. The good news is that it can be reversed. It usually takes 8-12 weeks with natural compounds under able hands and not trial and error, which can make things worse. The key is to understand the root cause first. Read my article “Adrenal fatigue and sleep” to start. The nutrients you mention generally will not help SMI.