Sleeplessness resulting from anxiety, stress, and underlying mineral deficiencies.

I asked the pharmacists where we work to talk about a health problem they are seeing a lot of at present. They mentioned problems with sleep, usually sleeplessness in a broader context of anxiety and/or stress. No sooner had we finished discussing the issue of sleeplessness, when a young woman arrived who told me that a mineral formulation for prolonged sleeplessness and restlessness had been recommended to her by one of our pharmacists, about ten days previously. “I took this tablet two-hourly for three days and have been sleeping very well since, but now I’m in the week of my menstrual cycle I’m exhausted and craving carbohydrates.”

She had stopped the mineral compound once she was sleeping again, but her exhaustion and craving for carbohydrates strongly indicated that she had an ongoing need for these same minerals. She had been taking the Active Elements 4.2 (potassium phosphate 65 mg., magnesium phosphate 100 mg., and sodium sulphate 200mg.). I told her that the craving for carbohydrates indicated a magnesium deficiency, but if she was exhausted and could not stop eating she needed potassium phosphate. “Oh, I can’t stop eating”, she said. The restlessness that contributed to her sleeplessness (often indicating the need for sodium sulphate, the mineral salt essential for the health of the liver and kidneys) had gone, but her need for potassium and magnesium phosphate was very apparent now during the week of her menstrual cycle.

Another recent example of sleeplessness came from a friend I was walking with. She said she goes to sleep, then wakes and stews over her imagined mistakes in life. I was very saddened to hear this as hers is considered a happy family and her children excel at school and sport. As a single parent though she tends to worry and like her excitable little dog, she always seems tense. Her dog has calmed down after being given one of Blackmores magnesium compounds daily and I told her that if she took these same tablets two hourly for three days, she should no longer wake unable to get back to sleep with negative thoughts. Thankfully she is a lot happier now, and if she does wake, she goes back to sleep.

Potassium phosphate depletion often registers as an inability to get to sleep, often because thinking processes won’t shut down and thoughts keep chasing each other round and round. People often wake exhausted with a dry mouth and feel that they need to eat something at regular intervals during the day, or they feel depleted. Their energy may improve as the day progresses, but if the cycle is repeated over and over; concentration, memory and physical energy also become affected. We all know that magnesium phosphate is needed for muscle relaxation, but what is not generally appreciated is the importance of potassium. Its prime importance is as an intracellular cation in our bodies and it’s also important for the health of our hearts and our blood pressure. Potassium, like magnesium is often grossly lacking in our soils and foods.

Potassium sulfate and/or potassium chloride may be needed with magnesium phosphate when sleeping is interfered with, because of sinus or other congestive problems. Potassium sulfate is often indicated during menopause, when women become too hot to sleep. Magnesium phosphate with low dose silica dioxide can be useful for both obstructive and central sleep apnoea.

Twenty years ago, when mineral therapy was practically unheard of in Tasmania, a badly injured young man came to see me. He had been close to death as a result of a car accident. I treated him for his most potent symptoms and he returned two weeks later and said: “For the first time in the four years since the car accident I have slept. I have tried every treatment I heard of and was convinced when I saw you that I was once again wasting my time, yet within three days I was sleeping and have been sleeping every night since.” In those days people often came as a last resort, but I believe it was not only the potassium and magnesium phosphate I gave him two-hourly, but also the other minerals for his still considerable inflammation and pain and nerve damage. Without the balance of minerals in his case, perhaps sleep may have continued to evade him.

In this pharmacy, minerals are often recommended for sleeplessness and other stress problems, but often a good herbal preparation with chamomile, hops, lemon balm and/or valerian can be useful. Valerian is good for those who simply can’t get to sleep, but there are also people who are kept awake with valerian. Homeopathic melatonin is good to trigger the sleep mechanism, particularly for shift workers and airline personnel, or others who work over time zones. Melatonin levels can diminish as we age, so homeopathic melatonin is useful to stimulate the natural melatonin our bodies create to help us sleep. Many older people swear by melatonin.

Of course, minerals are needed for many thousands of functions in our bodies, so in taking minerals for sleeplessness or any other problems, if we take them in balance, we are also contributing to our overall health and perhaps deriving other benefits we are not immediately aware of.

Words: Irene Fisher

© 2011 Tasmanian Lifestyle Magazine
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