Waking in middle of night with anxiety and pounding heart

Dear Stephen,
I’ve been on cat’s claw one 3 times a day, eleuthero, one 2 times a day (morning and noon) for 4 weeks and the last week of this time, I added reservatrol, one 2 times a day. I’ve been waking up frequently during the night and around 4 am wake with pounding heart and anxiety which has nothing to do with my emotions. My dreams are very vivid and I feel very tired, not wanting to get out of bed. I can doze off and on after 4:00am, but always wake feeling anxious. I can’t tell if this is a reaction to the herbs or a lyme flare and does it mean they aren’t working? If it’s the herbs, which one would cause this?

Stephen’s response:
Lyme does sometimes cause this reaction and I have had a few reports from people who experienced anxiety on the protocol. Whether it is caused by the herbs or by the die off of the spirochetes I don’t know. None of the herbs are especially anxiety producing in and of themselves. You have been adding the herbs slowly, when did the anxiety begin? If after the resveratrol you can try stopping that one for a few weeks and see if the anxiety resolves (for example). You can also try melatonin just before bed. I recommend the liquid form – I prefer the melatonin nano-plex by Premier Research Labs – put one drop on the back of your hand and lick it off (the only way to control dosage). Too much and you will have a melatonin hangover the next day, not unpleasant but working is hard due to the I-can’t-ever-wake-up feeling that won’t go away. I generally use one to three drops myself.
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posted on September 5, 2011 in anxiety, fatigue/sleep issues, Herb Reactions, Symptoms

Trackback URL: http://buhnerhealinglyme.com/reactions/waking-in-middle-of-night/trackback/


  • flutterby

    August 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    i have given this aspect much thought, due to the frequency it occurs for me, including early this morning, being awakened with heart pains and crying because i couldn’t move or call out for help. : (

    my completely non-scientific analysis over time is that the critters incite maximum suffering to make us stop doing whatever is killing them, since the goal of most parasites isn’t to kill the host, but to exist within them, alive.

    Dr. Buhner encourages Melatonin most recent (and awesome!) CoInfections book for a variety of reasons , including antioxidant as well as for sleep) but i historically have had an intolerance for Melatonin, including recently.

    i am a vivid and prolific dreamer (and light sleeper) with occasional Night Terrors since childhood (a sleep disorder, not necessarily emotionally based.) Melatonin, even in the lightest dosages seems to incite bad dreams and sleeplessness i do other relaxation measures and for years have had to try to practice “sleep hygeine,” but the Lyme is unrelenting!

    losing sleep nightly has been the biggest and most frequent barrier to healing it seems, and always for one reason or another or another!

    valerian/hops type products only work for a few hours, and i use antihistamines (hydroxyzine) at varying dosages most nights out of desperation, with grogginess in AM (either due to pills or sleeplessness) also, due to meds and herbs, i haven’t been able to have any OTC pain relievers, alcohol, and won’t take prescription pain relievers due to genetic predispositions for addictions.

    anyone have fresh ideas? seems like a good night’s rest is the backbone of a “good” or at least healing day with Lyme!

    • SunERae

      August 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      I have had similar sleep issues: night terrors, inability to stay asleep for more than two hours at a time, and prolific dreaming. Like you, I’ve tried melatonin, valerian, hops- the result being nightmares, usually. That you take antihistamines suggests that your disorder is similar, if not identical to mine. Despite the nightmares, I still employ all fore-mentioned options, as well as some pharmaceuticals (for instance, an anti-depressant called doxepin). The combination of these measures has allowed me a decent enough night of sleep, and I finally feel like I getting well. Yet I am still groggy during the day, which I believe is a result of a taxed immune system. I believe melatonin is only active for a few hours after you’ve taken it, so you could continue taking it throughout the night. Other things I’ve taken for sleep: tryptophan and GABA. If you are able to, and haven’t had one yet, I recommend you get a sleep study done. Knowledge is power.

  • Nuthinfancy

    September 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I recommend that you try a good magnesium supplement, perhaps a magnesium and potassium combined chelate or taurate. Most people these days are very low Mg due to soft water and drug-mugging effects. Magnesium-Potassium chelate got rid of my pounding heart keeping me awake, also cured PVCs that my regular doctor said to ‘not worry about’.

  • Bokonon

    September 25, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I just wanted to throw in that I’ve been experiencing this same phenomenon. It is super frustrating to know that I feel so much better when I get a good night’s rest, but every night I can only sleep for 4 hours or so before waking with a pounding heart and feeling anxious. I just got some valerian extract and tried it last night. It made me wonderfully sleepy, but I still woke up after only a few hours. I feel like I’m trying to force my body to go to sleep and it just won’t! Thank you Nuthinfancy for the suggestion about magnesium. I will give that a try. If anyone has any other results to share, please do!

  • gene

    September 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    The only thing that helps me get a pretty good sleep is cannabis, either smoked or eaten. I prefer to smoke because I am very sensitive to the caffeine in chocolate

  • Carrie

    September 29, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    GABA (must be pharma GABA which is non synthetic ) and it works!!! Helps with all anxiety. I ran out and two full days off all my insomnia and anxiety has returned. I will never be without it again during my recovery. I’m 6 months on my medication and herbs and about half way through my treatment.

  • Anne

    September 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I have awakened with the same symptoms of anxiety and pounding heart. Terrible. Recently I tried taking two ashwaganda capsules when this occured, and they made me groggy within about an hour, so I was able to fall asleep. Now I take one before bed and have been fine since. No anxiety awakenings. But I have heard that this herb can have the opposite affect on some people.

  • Tarah

    October 10, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Epsom salt baths before bed followed by Peach & Calming essential oils on my wrists and temples helped me calm down and sleep better than melatonin! I feel like the anxiety/heart pounding/etc. in me was a herx/detox reaction. It still happens to a lesser degree when I’m detoxing.

  • Tarah

    October 10, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Peace & Calming (young living blend)

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