A middle-aged friend who’s suffered long-term insomnia reports good results from a natural remedy based on Montmorency cherries. CherryActive capsules contain natural melatonin, the sleep hormone. Adding CherryActive to her existing strategies (not drinking caffeinated drinks after midday, a light supper without alcohol) has given her the best nights’ sleep she’s had for five years. Plus she’s much less anxious. CherryActive capsules, which are supported by experts including Dr Jason Ellis of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research, cost £12.95 for 30 (dose one to two before bed)
3 Of The Best … Energy Supplements
1/ Source of Life Gold Liquid, £14.70 for 236ml: powerful multi-vitamin supplement, which kept London Fashion Week fizzing.
2/ Femergy, £10.25 for 60 vegi-caps: with Peruvian maca, Brazilian ginseng and Gingko biloba, also helps stabilise hormones and mood.
3/ Co-enzyme Q10 by LifeTime Vitamins, £19 for 30 softgels: this vitamin-like substance, which declines with age, is vital for energy production in every cell of the body, and helps power muscles.
Make Sense Of Teenage Mood Swings
Q: Our 13-year-old son isn’t doing well at school and his behaviour generally is poor. He’s withdrawn and sometimes rude. I know teenagers can be moody ‘Kevins’ but we’re worried there may be an underlying problem.
A: Pauline Smith, Assistant Head and Special Educational Needs Coordinator at Alexandra Park School in New Southgate, London, has extensive experience in this field. She says an average class of teens is usually ‘irrepressibly loud with lots to say’, which can be difficult for a quieter student at this vulnerable age. If they find it difficult to express themselves, they often respond by being rude when challenged to explain something. That’s par for the stage. But, according to I CAN, the children’s communication charity (ican.org.uk), one in ten children have difficulty expressing themselves due to underlying speech and/or language problems. These may not have been picked up at primary school and problems can emerge when language becomes more complex at secondary school.
There’s a key difference between a moody teenager and one with communication problems. A child who’s developed more or less ordinarily until puberty is likely a normal teen behaving badly. If, however, there’s been a history of behaviour problems (not necessarily severe), lack of focus and attention, and difficulties at school, there may be an underlying problem.
Have an honest dialogue with the school. Discuss if there’s been a pattern of problems, which may be more serious as the student gets older. Is he finding the curriculum more difficult? Are concepts and ideas hard to understand? Is he struggling to find words, umm-ing and err-ing, over-using ‘fillers’ (eg ‘thingy’, or ‘stuff’), perhaps swearing?
Other problems may include not responding to instructions. This can be because they haven’t understood what to do, or have missed things out because of poor memory.
He may stand too close to people, stare, use too much physical contact or not like being touched. This may lead to having few friends.
The result is often low self-esteem. Despite generally having intelligence within a normal range, experiencing some or all of these difficulties can make young people feel stupid and worthless. This can lead to being reluctant to tackle tasks, and mood swings.
Ask for a speech and language assessment. I CAN’s website (ican.org.uk) offers information for parents and carers of children from birth onwards, including your son’s age group of 11-16 years. This includes I CAN Assessments by an interdisciplinary team of experts.
And Relax …
Here’s a gorgeous Christmas present for busy people (like you?). The pretty bolster filled with buckwheat hull and lavender just asks to be rested on. My colleague and yoga teacher Victoria suggests this 15-minute relaxation: you need the bolster and a couple of small soft cushions.
Turn off the TV or radio, and sit on the floor. Put the bolster behind your lower back, the short end close to the base of your spine.
Set your phone timer for at least 15 minutes (the time needed to activate your body’s relaxation response).Lie back, gently lowering your spine along the bolster.
Put two cushions under your head and neck. Bend your knees with your feet flat. Place your arms a little away from the body, palms up. Let your jaw, mouth and tongue relax and soften.
Feel your breath moving gently in and out of your nostrils. Notice your abdomen rising and falling.
NB stomach gurgling and yawning are good signs that you are relaxing.