Natural Health: I wake up in the middle of the night

I started waking up in the middle of the night and finding it hard to go back to sleep. It probably had something to do with the stress of Christmas, being torn between a demanding job and three young children. What would you recommend?

First, the stress of waking up during the night appears to increase stress that interferes with sleep.

The quality of our sleep is critical to our ability to function during the day, and considering that you’re juggling your schedule between work and family, you’re going to need all the help you can get.

Magnesium is an essential mineral for sleep and helps relieve muscle spasms, headaches, regulate mood and support the nervous system. Waking up at night may be a sign that you need to nourish your nervous system. By working to support healthy neurological function, you can also address the root causes of sleep deprivation.

Magnesium levels tend to drop at night, which is why many people experience muscle cramps, restless legs, muscle aches, and heart palpitations when trying to fall asleep. Low magnesium often manifests itself as poor REM sleep patterns and late-night leg cramps.

It’s best to take a two-pronged approach, applying magnesium topically and taking it internally. Topical magnesium usually comes in the form of a spray, gel, or cream. Internally, you’ll want to take 300-350 mg of magnesium glycinate daily for best results, and find a supplement that also contains 3 grams of taurine, which calms GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors and promotes Healthy insulin response and improved energy metabolism.

Researchers found that insomniacs with the most severe sleep disturbances secreted the most cortisol, especially in the evening and evening hours. Magnesium helps reduce cortisol levels.

Picture: iStock

I take good care of my oral hygiene, but I still have bad breath. I work in the service industry and this is especially embarrassing. I’ve heard eating fresh parsley can help. This is real?

Parsley does help control halitosis (bad breath). Parsley is rich in chlorophyll, a natural detoxifier that can eliminate odors associated with indigestion and freshen breath.

Other useful herbs include coriander leaves, wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina, mint leaves, and fennel seeds. Not only do these herbs help freshen your mouth, they also support gut health and digestive function.

Given your good oral hygiene, your breathing problems may be symptoms of intestinal problems. Chronic sinus problems or recurring sinus infections can also cause bad breath.

Spirulina can also be used as a quick fix. Stir half a teaspoon of algae into a glass of apple juice or water, gargle and swallow. Mixing green powder into water and stirring it also works well.

While having healthy gut flora and digestive function is crucial, your gut function also needs to be healthy. This means bowel movements are soft, well formed and regular.

The term “regular” is often debated among health professionals, but it generally refers to one to three bowel movements per day without urgency or excessive straining. Check out the Bristol Stool Chart to learn more about healthy, well-formed stools.

If you have problems with constipation, start by eating plenty of whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and soluble fiber, and make sure you stay well hydrated. Psyllium husk, slippery elm, and magnesium supplements are common natural gut-regulating treatments. Psyllium husk, in particular, can soften hard stools and give bulk and shape to watery stools or diarrhea.

Diabetes and liver problems may cause symptoms of bad breath. Although these are not common problems for most people, it is wise to consult your GP to rule out any potential underlying conditions.

  • If you have questions for Megan Sheppard please email Feelgood@examiner.ie
  • Note: The information contained in this column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor.

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