Advice Needed for Sleep Issues

So much for canning apple pie filling this morning, as planned….

I used to have a sleep schedule that was roughly the following: wake up at 5:30-6:30am, stay busy until about 8pm or so (with the occasional nap in between), and asleep by 10:30pm, 11, tops.

I understand that having children and increasing age can affect your sleep rhythms/cycles tremendously, but my little ones generally sleep well enough, and yet, I’m becoming sleep deprived.

My current sleep schedule runs: wake up at 6am, get the Kindergarten son off to school, either go back to bed for a few hours or nap in the afternoon for a few, up until 1am-3am, then maybe 3-4 hours of sleep. Also, important to know is that I am napping and sleeping in BECAUSE of the late nights. They started first. I am usually quite tired at night, but I can’t get my mind and my body to get into “sleep” mode. I’m tired, mind you, but can’t get myself to wind down enough to sleep.

Advice? I actually have a local friend going through something similar. I am looking for natural, non prescription options, as I think it is prescriptions that might have got me into this in the first place. (I am currently on Zoloft, Advair, and was on Tussionex and Levaquin for an infection up until recently.)

Natural and Home Remedies for Allergies

I have a red, snot crusted nose, bloodshot eyes, a pain in my throat, and a tickle in my nostrils. With every movement, I sneeze. I’m using eye drops and ear drops like they are candy. My beloved kitty has temporarily become my mortal enemy.

Yep, it’s that most wonderful time of the year–my personal allergy season.

I won’t lie…I’m in utter misery. In desperation, I turned to Facebook and friends to help me find some relief that doesn’t come with its own advertising budget. I was thrilled to get a lot of responses, though it made me realize that I am not the only one suffering! 😦 Here are some suggestions for relief–

1) A Neti Pot/Neil Med. I admit I haven’t tried this, as I feel a bit squeamish squirting things into my nose (even nasal sprays give me an icky sensation). But, thousands of people swear by this remedy, and it’s enough to peak my interest. It works by flushing the nasal cavities with a saline solution that will help relieve inflammation in your sinuses. You can find more information here.

2) Local honey.

Honey

Honey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The theory behind this natural remedy is that, by buying local honey, you’ll get exposure little by little (and therefore, a tolerance) to regional pollens through the work of the bees. Some doctors dispute this theory, but seeing as I am also a food storage buff who keeps local honey by the pounds, and that this remedy is super yummy, really, I have little to lose. Make sure it is indeed locally produced honey to be able to reap the benefits of the bees’ exposure to your region’s pollen. Also, store bought honey lacks regulation, and a little bear of supposedly 100% honey in the grocery store can actually legally contain other ingredients–like corn syrup!

3) Elderberries. Our great grandmothers and new moms alike  recommend this to treat allergies. Elderberries are purported to ease respiratory ailments like colds and allergies, and have been used for centuries medicinally. I have seen elderberry syrups, and I’ve ever seen elderberry gummies. Another yummy method to try, whether it works or not.

English: Elderberries Ripe elderberries growin...

English: Elderberries Ripe elderberries growing by the Roman wall at Calleva Atrebatum. Elderberries can be used in a number of ways, including making elderberry wine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4) Herbal teas. Is it me, or are a lot of these remedies sounding really tasty? I wonder if there is a connection between the herbal teas and honey, as honey also contains the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, which is in many over the counter cough medications. There must be something in the warmth of the tea that can help ease a sore throat, and I’m sure you can find a combination of herbs that have reported success with allergies. (There seems to be an herb to help ease just about any ailment.)  Some swear by chamomile, others swear by hone and lemon in their herbal teas. I think you’re likely to find even temporary relief either way due to the soothing steam and warmth the tea provides.

What do you use to combat allergy symptoms naturally?

Healed By Hazel Custom Baltic Amber/Hazelwood Jewelry–a Review

I was approached by Kebbie’s Diaper Bag, a local store dedicated to natural parenting, to do a review on their custom created beaked hazelwood and Baltic amber jewelry.

I tried amber teething necklaces with my youngest child, and honestly, I didn’t see any difference or that it soothed her teething, so at first, I was skeptical. Baltic amber is known for helping relieve pain in teething children, and I know it HAS worked for some of my friends, but it just didn’t help our family. However, I looked into some of the claimed benefits of hazelwood, which are:

–that it is naturally alkaline, which enables it to absorb excess acid when in contact with the human body

–ailments such as acne, heartburn, acid reflux, and eczema are relieved due to the elimination of excess acid

(Source: Kebbie’s Diaper Bag)

Kebbie’s Diaper Bag also made the claim that you can see results in as little as two days, or in two weeks’ time.

I decided to take on this consumer review, after reading about hazelwood’s effectiveness in treating acid reflux, which is something I have dealt with my entire life. Lately, traditional over the counter medications, like Prilosec and Zantac, have increased my stomach upset, and have even caused me to throw up–not fun. I was definitely looking for some relief.

I contacted Kebbie’s Diaper Bag to have my necklace created. The base price is $15.95, and the price goes up just a few dollars, depending on the options you choose during customization and creation. You can choose any necklace size, whether it be for a young child or adult (I chose the adult size, naturally, and that cost a couple bucks more). You can choose the style of clasp you want–whether you want a traditional lobster clasp, or a magnetic one, etc. One of the things that I love the most is being able to choose bead colors–both for the amber and the accent beads. I was pleasantly surprised just how many options there are…I feel like there would be a color combination to suit any personal taste. It took only 24 hours for me to receive my necklace (I am local, but seeing as it was custom made just for me, I was still very impressed), and I tried it right away, for several days.

(The necklace up close. Aren’t the colors perfect? I chose honey amber and red and crystal accent beads.) DSC_0191 (The necklace in action.) DSC_0196 It was my daughter’s birthday weekend last week, and I found that I was really grateful for this necklace. Although I did not find any relief for my eczema or my acne, I felt like my reflux completely cleared up, which was a shock to me, as I was skeptical, and I couldn’t find relief elsewhere. With the necklace, I can avoid the uncomfortable and disconcerting side effects of my conventional medications. I am hoping that, with time, I can see relief in some of the other ailments, but the reflux relief was seriously within just a couple days. To me, that is beyond incredible.

The ONLY complaints I have: The necklace seems a bit fragile, though my family is rough on everything. I have to be careful wearing it around my toddler, and that can frustrate me because I want to wear it ALL the time. I noticed one day when she was playing with the necklace, that one of the beads seemed to be flaking and a bit cracked from the pressure of her hand. She’s a rough kiddo, and she put too much force on the beads, and one cracked. My hubby ended up brushing off a few amber flakes from my neck. It’s not the necklace’s fault, but if you have kiddos, make sure they treat it nicely. And everything else. 🙂 The other drawback is that you will need to buy replacement necklaces, as, according to the seller, once the core on the hazelwood beads turns black in 2-6 months, you will need to replace the beads. For someone on a budget, like myself, that can become more costly than my cheap OTC medications would have been.

So, the question becomes–would I buy it again or recommend it? Yes, I would. I am not a scientist, and I cannot verify if the claims around the internet re: the beads’ benefits are true or not through scientific means. I CAN, however, attest that I found almost instantaneous relief from my reflux symptoms, and, as budget allows, I would continue to buy the necklaces. Even if you don’t believe in the “hype,” they are still beautifully custom made necklaces for a reasonable price.

Where to buy? Kebbie’s Diaper Bag heat tests their amber necklaces, so I recommend them for their trustworthiness, their customer service, their custom made creations, and their frequent sales. You can find these necklaces there at: https://www.kebbiesdiaperbag.com/diaper-accessories/hazelwood-jewelry/healed-by-hazel-necklace/?tracking=sheltonlaura

As an added bonus, you can earn 5% cash back on purchases when you sign up for an account (reward points system), and KDB also has an affiliate program where individuals can earn commission on the sales they refer to the store.

NOTE: I was given a discount on my necklace in exchange for this review. However, if you know me well, you know my reviews will be frank and honest, always.

Taking Control of Our Health (Natural/Home Remedies–Vertigo)

I want to state, here and now, that I firmly believe that traditional medicine has its place. I have been witness to the miracles that modern medicine can produce–from healing those with cancer, to mending wounds, to enabling my own children to recover from minor health issues throughout their lives. As you watch your toddler suffer from the effects of pneumonia/influenza by her hospital bedside, you can’t help but be grateful that we live when we do, as you contemplate the what-ifs. What if she had this 100 years ago? How would she have survived? Or knowing that said child’s difficult labor and delivery likely would have killed one or the both of you a couple hundred years prior? Surely, doctors and hospitals have their place.

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate (Photo credit: epSos.de)

However, we have all had our share of negative experiences thanks to specific doctors or facilities. Perhaps it is a lack of empathy or bedside manners, a failure to progress or recover from an illness or symptom, even the loss of a loved one without those necessary answers to the questions we had. I know I have experienced this first hand. I have had a medical professional say to my face, as I battled the flu, “Well, what do you expect me to do about this?” I have been handed bottles of pills that provide little to no relief, but many side effects in addition to the regular problem.

What to do then? I know I have thought repeatedly about whether or not I can find ways to heal myself. When you hear of the reported benefits of this fruit or that vegetable, or that such and such herb is known to relieve x, y, or z, well, how can you not listen? When you hear of an old wives’ tale, you often wonder whether it’s bunk “science,” or whether or not years of experience just might be onto something.

After growing disillusioned by the lack of doctors/specialists in my rural area, I have begun to take an interest in alternative medicine, or lack of medication thereof. It is my hope that we can learn to take charge of our own healthcare as much as we can, and that we can have a healthy relationship between modern medicine and alternative/homeopathic treatments.

I've been sick for a couple of weeks now. I we...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is my hope that, thanks to the wonders of the internet, that I can use the Category function here to compile some natural and home remedies for common complaints so that you, dear readers, can add a dash of self-reliance to your health. I am also hoping to hear from you, and to be able to grow and heal from your advice, and that others can do the same.

So, let’s start, shall we?

I’ll be selfish and begin with a current complaint I am having, thanks to Eustachian Tube Dysfunction–vertigo. For some reason, in my area, this is a very frequent problem, whether it is due to elevation, or maybe something in the air from the region’s former industrial history, I’m not sure (this area is also known for allergies and respiratory complaints). I never quite “got” that vertigo could be a crippling ailment until I ended up in the ER this week, hooked to IVs full of fluids and medications. And still, on the ride home from the hospital, it happened again, so obviously, saline and Valium didn’t help, nor has the medication they gave me (side effects: “may cause nausea and dizziness”–really?) that makes me sleep all day (I guess you can’t be dizzy if you’re unconscious).

One of my favorite sources for home and natural remedies is The People’s Pharmacy, a couple who has been working in the health industry for years and who believes in the connection between traditional and alternative medicine. They are a golden resource for those who are struggling with common ailments.

Some resources for those who are suffering from vertigo–

The Epley Maneuver, which is a move that you can do to help regain balance in your inner ear: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2012/07/26/video-for-vertigo/

For those who suffer medication-induced dizziness: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/02/14/dizziness-is-driving-her-towards-suicide/

Ginger?: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2007/10/18/ginger-to-treat/

Other ideas–

More maneuvers:

http://women.webmd.com/news/20040712/simple-home-remedy-for-vertigo-works

Any other tips or tricks for vertigo? I have been given the recommendation for physical therapy, instead of medication. Any experience with this?