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Old 10-15-2009, 06:07 AM   #1
Greg Davis
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 332
Default Low Hemoglobin and Chronic Sleep Issue

My situation is that for the over a year now I've had a brutal time getting enough sleep. It has nothing to do with having a crazy schedule and not being able to put aside enough hours (I was doing my Masters for the last 2 years with a flexible schedule). It is that I always, without fail, wake up after about 4-5 hours feeling not able to fall back asleep. My alarm is typically set for somewhere around 5:30-6:00am.. and so I usually wake up some time around 3am and just try my best to fall back asleep which usually results in a lot of laying there or short repeated sleep cycles after that. I have absolutely no problem falling asleep, and I feel tired at the appropriate bedtime (i.e. ~9-10pm).

A little over a year ago I went in to get some blood work to see if I could figure out what was going on. Everything checked out okay except my hemoglobin and free testosterone levels were at the low end of the spectrum. The doctor wasn't too concerned. We chalked up the low iron to having donated blood a bunch of times over the last few years (put a stop to that) and I wasn't too offended by the low free testosterone because I had heard that total was a better indicator.

Well I finally went back in to my new doctor (he is a great guy that I found through my girlfriend) and was like okay this sleep thing is ridiculous can we try to figure this out. We ran some blood work and yesterday he called me to say everything looks great except that my hemoglobin is really low (now apparently even below the normal range). My serum testosterone is within the normal range. I was only given my recent results verbally so I'll have to get a copy next time I'm in there to know all the details. Basically he seems stumped. He ordered me a blood ferritin test (I guess to double check on the iron), and also a stool sample to see if I might have some sort of parasite that could be the culprit. I have a feeling after those results come in we are not going to have much to go on.

I originally chalked up the sleep issue to going through a bit of a stressful time doing my Masters thesis, but was always a bit uncomfortable with making that assumption because I don't feel particularly stressed out by it and the sleep symptoms never seem to correlate with the most stressful times. As far as training goes I don't feel I've overdone anything and one step I've taken to test that is I recently took a whole month off from any lifting or jiu-jitsu; and my sleep seemed to actually get worse.

I don't think I have any signs of insulin resistance (I had my fasting insulin sensitivity tested last year and it was 6 pmol/L (I think that converts to 1.02 mcIU/mL). No signs of abdominal fat (I'm very lean and no different in that area). And in this recent blood work my fasting cortisol was at a very good level according to my doctor. I also feel like my diet is pretty solid (I've posted food logs here before).

I'm posting because here I find a good bunch of people who train/eat in a similar fashion and any chance I could get good advice on how to work with my doctor to figure this out might make a big difference!
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