Need A Natural Lift?

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I love writing this page, and never more than when I get emails like this one from 60-something reader Jenny: ‘I wrote to you in April 2012 about my problem waking in the night with severe “what’s the point of living?” depression despite a good career, wonderful family and social life. I was advised [by pharmacist Shabir Daya] to take Magnolia Rhodiola Complex. It had a marvellous effect: it must be 15 years since I felt this good.’ Jenny has recommended it to others ‘who had little enthusiasm for daily life. They are all now content and calm with lots of energy.’

Magnolia extract helps relax muscles and nerves as well as reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to Shabir Daya. Trials show that rhodiola helps calm the mind, lift mood and restore sleep cycles without having sedative properties by increasing levels of the hormone serotonin and amino acid derivative theanine. Read More…

How To Avoid Small-Hours Blues

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Q: I have a stressful job and sleep badly, waking between 2am and 4am feeling incredibly depressed. I feel better when I finally get up.

A: This type of insomnia is a common result of daytime anxiety, according to the late Dr David Servan-Schreiber, psychiatrist and author of Healing Without Freud or Prozac (Rodale, £8.99*).

There’s a vulnerable moment at the end of the first long period of deep sleep (about four hours into the sleep cycle) when we cross over into the lighter REM sleep (dreaming time). ‘Underlying anxiety of any kind manifests itself during that fragile transition,’ he said.

Sleep disturbance and anxiety leading to depression are interconnected, according to pharmacist Shabir Daya: ‘A relentless train of negative thoughts can begin with the tiniest kernel of reality then escalate out of proportion.’ Stress of any kind upsets the delicate balance of our hormones; it starts with the adrenal glands overproducing cortisol, which prevents mood-lifting serotonin getting to the brain. At night, serotonin is normally converted to melatonin, the sleep hormone. With insufficient melatonin and a fractured mind, it’s very hard to sleep. Read More…

Understanding Tiredness, Fatigue And Exhaustion

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It is perfectly normal for people to feel tired especially when they are feeling slightly run down and cannot cope with the pace of life. Often, we use the terms tired, fatigue and exhaustion interchangeably for what we are experiencing and yet in medical terms they are very distinct.

Tiredness differs from fatigue in that although you may not feel it, the body still has some energy in reserve which it can tap into in the case of an emergency. The symptoms of tiredness include weakness of the muscles, heaviness, forgetfulness, impatience often leading to irritability. Tiredness is very common especially if you have had a hard day at work, or if you are simply feeling a bit under the weather and have not had the time to relax and recuperate. Most of the time, this can be addressed by resting for a few hours allowing the body to recover. Read More…