Anxiety? Sleeplessness? Trouble Concentrating?
By writing a Back to School article in August, I’m going against
I disliked Back to School displays at department stores. My sister – 18 years my senior – thought I’d love it if she took me to buy school clothes, but all I was thinking about was swimming or playing baseball.
So, being a lover of summer, and shorts, and swimming holes, my mind genuinely rebelled as summer break drew to a close. A couple of weeks before school started, I began having anxious thoughts about it. Those thoughts, along with my night owl nature, assured that I had a lot of restless sleep the last few weeks of August.
By the time school started, I was restless, anxious, and weary. Like clockwork, I’d end up with a sinus infection early on. The doctor thought it was all in my head, and he was quite right; but that didn’t mean the symptoms were imaginary. You really can worry yourself to such a degree that the immune system is effectively halted, regardless of age.
From what Doug has taught us over the years, we know that when fungus takes root, the dietary habits and general health habits that follow determine whether we recover or spiral into an on-again/off-again “dis-ease” cycle. I spiraled.
The antibiotics I was prescribed are the same as yours. They’re made from the poisons that fungi produce to fight off their germ competitors. Penicillin is the mycotoxin (fungal poison) produced by the penicillium genus of fungi. When I was growing up, doctors didn’t know that my sinus infections were fungal infections rather than bacterial infections. In 1999, the Mayo Clinic published a pivotal study proving that virtually all upper respiratory infections were from fungi. Yet, doctors haven’t changed their prescribing habits, and still give broad-spectrum antibiotics for these kinds of ailments.
So why is this a problem for children? Studies have linked antibiotic use to a range of problems, including attention challenges, insomnia, “bizarre behavior”, extreme tiredness, and a smorgasbord of challenges as they get older. Studies even suggest that taking only a few rounds of antibiotics in life can prepare the body to be susceptible to cancer.
In my own case, asthma began cropping up. So did insomnia. In the fifth grade, I received my first prescription for nerve medicine, which was a prelude to later being prescribed Prozac not long after it hit the market. By high school, I could start on the baseball team today, but miss the next game tomorrow because I was down with another sinus infection. I’d be the life of the party one day, or the depressed guy for the month thereafter. It was a Jekyll-Hyde life of promise, followed by utter depletion. Most Likely To Succeed in my senior year, while missing much of the fall semester with mononucleosis. If you came to my house, you’d find a medicine chest with literally dozens of half-used bottles of antibiotics, anxiety pills, and other medications.
Do I blame all of this on the innocence of donuts, sugary cereals, toaster pastries, pizza buffets, and dozens of rounds of antibiotics? Certainly.
When I “rewind the tapes”, I go back to those innocent, carefree summers of frogs and fireworks. The anxiety and sleeplessness that interrupted it was much ado about nothing. School always came with friends and fun, and I did well. But it was the way I perceived it that aroused such restlessness, and I happily drowned my concerns with Eskimo Pies and other assorted sweet treats.
The immune system rebuilds and reworks us during sleep. Our brains are stimulated in a myriad of ways during dreaming. Experiments have been done in which people were allowed to sleep only until they dipped into the dream state, at which time they were awakened. Only a few days of this produced near psychosis. Is it any wonder we seem to be a society on the tattered edge?
Without that immune system and the simple strength of rejuvenation, we’re prone to every bug that comes our way. Mix in a diet that encourages fungal overgrowth, along with endless antibiotics, and it’s easy to see why some people see their children as being on a merry-go-round of illnesses may never stop.
When I’ve counseled with parents of kids who have gone through similar struggles as I’ve worked through, I empathize, but I’m certain that solutions are close. Here are my basic strategies.
First, we establish a Phase One Diet as the central strategy. By eating this way, we’re nourished thoroughly while avoiding the mycotoxins that can create problems. The immune system is provided with the tools to grow strong. The kids will have energy throughout the day without blood sugar spikes and dips that create cravings. This will also set the stage for perfect sleep.
Next, we’d talk about supplements. In addition to a multi-nutrients capsule or powder that can be mixed into a smoothie, I’ve always recommended fish oil and probiotics. Beta glucans is also a terrific tool to keep the immune system balanced.
For feelings of anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness, there are some good options available. If you’ve never tried homeopathic remedies or Bach Flower remedies, you should investigate them. These are extraordinarily safe, gentle products that work on a different level than vitamins and macronutrients. Look at companies like King Bio and Bach for these kinds of products. Selecting the specific formula is easy because they’re usually named by condition.
For further help, there are companies that make a full range of children’s products for virtually every condition. To name only a few examples, Planetary Herbals makes a variety of children’s formulas such as Calm Child for anxiety, Well Child for immune support, and Astragalus Jade Screen for seasonal conditions. Bioactive Nutrients makes a children’s multi-nutrient formula and other products for kids. For help concentrating, I always love a good B-complex formula, Nordic Naturals fish oil, and perhaps a children’s-dosed GABA. Check with any health food store to find an array of companies and products geared for children. Some of Doug’s sponsors have products that are specifically made for children, and many of their adult formulas can be adjusted for children, but check with each company for specific dosing instructions based on the child’s age.
Finally, If a parent is open to it, we would also talk about one other crucial aspect to the total health plan. That’s the spiritual side. It’s a subject that’s beyond the scope of what we can cover in this short article, but it’s one that has to be respected. We are not just physical beings. We’re spiritual, as well. The Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, and to “guard the heart with all diligence, for from it flows the issues of life.” If a child is having anxious thoughts, sleeplessness, worries, fears, nightmares, etc., the natural remedies can work only to the extent that the problem is physical. But if there’s something more, in my opinion, they need to be addressed from a faith perspective that will provide the child with hope, peace, and confidence that transcends the physical.
In 2012, it seems to be acceptable to let our children grow up very quickly. The children’s channels have shows dealing with issues that seem quite mature for my taste. It’s hard for me to watch commercials with grade school kids highlighting issues of falling in love, for example. The scripts sound like they’re written for people much older than the target audience. Movies also seem to be increasingly “dark”. One very popular recent movie had a soundtrack, which the director said was made to put people in a depressing, almost suicidal frame of mind. It was a huge hit among very young people. Do you think all of this may have an impact on sleep quality and the health and well being of our children?
Protecting our kids’ health now is no different than it’s always been, but perhaps it requires a little more diligence on our part these days. We’re watching what goes into our children’s bodies and minds. The cheap-and-easy solutions are more available than ever, but so are the alternatives. If we can commit to taking a few extra measures in our families, we can rest easy knowing our kids are resting easy, body and mind.