sleeping man

How to get a good night’s sleep

Insomnia helped by minerals, herbsRestorative sleep is very important for good health and vitality. Our bodies detoxify and do repair work while we’re asleep. It’s OK to have the odd night’s poor sleep, but if it’s an ongoing issue for you, it can cause fatigue, worsen pain, make it difficult to lose weight and worsen general health.

1. Keep your body clock tuned in to the day/night cycle by being outside for at least 15 minutes when the sun is low in the sky in the mornings and afternoons. If you can’t do this (eg shift worker) the herb Chaste Tree will help your sleep.

2. If you feel wide awake at night and tired in the morning, you probably have an altered cortisol rhythm (a sign of excess stress). Use herbs to correct this – Withania, Skullcap and B vitamins in the daytime and a herbal combination called NeuroSom in the evening.

3. Reduce 24 hour hyperarousal, a major cause of insomnia. Make a daily practice of doing a Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise (pick up a copy at Sunshine Health) or get into yoga or meditation. Go to  and click on Dare To Meditate for a simple explanation of what to do.

4. Do physical activity. Lack of activity causes insomnia and studies show that 30 mins of cardio exercise daily improves it.

5. If overweight, get onto a healthy weight loss program (low carb, protein at each meal, healthy oils, detoxify if needed, exercise). See Cameron, Mylinda or Michelle at Sunshine Health for help with this. Being overweight contributes to insomnia and vice versa, so we need to break the vicious cycle.

6. Use minerals to help you sleep. If you get to sleep OK, but wake in the night, have restless or unrefreshing sleep or muscle tension or cramps, you’re probably low in magnesium. See our story on Magnesium. If you have trouble getting to sleep, you may be low in calcium. You need calcium + magnesium in the ratio 2:1 in the evening.

7. Use safe, proven herbs to improve sleep quantity and quality. Valerian, Hops, Passionflower, Kava, Zizyphus and Magnolia at therapeutic doses have been shown to improve sleep. Cameron, Mylinda or Michelle can help you with these. Medications for insomnia often don’t improve sleep quality and have the potential to induce addiction, withdrawal symptoms or rebound insomnia.

8. Develop good ‘Sleep Hygiene’ habits. In the evenings, turn off the TV, computer, mobile phone, dim the lights and wind down. Do quiet, gentle activities like talking, reading or listening to pleasant music. Go to bed when you feel sleepy; avoid pushing past this feeling.

9. Consider Hypnotherapy & NLP (see Mylinda) for help in changing your fears, anxieties and not-so-good sleep patterns.

Using these tips will improve your sleep. If you need more in-depth assistance, make an appointment with Cameron, Mylinda or Michelle at Sunshine Health, phone 5483 7688.

Bloke w cold

The SPECIAL 7 tips to keep on top of coughs, colds and flu

cold flu virusHere are some tips from Sunshine Health in Gympie to help you through the coughs and colds this Autumn and Winter.

S is for Stress.

Be aware that too much of it weakens our immunity. If we let ourselves get overtired, over-hungry too often or push ourselves too far, we can become susceptible to infection. So look after yourself. Stop when you’ve had enough. You probably won’t do this perfectly, but that’s OK, just arm yourself with these other strategies.

P is for Protein,

which our white cells need to make antibodies to fight germs. The cellular activity in our bodies can only happen because of enzymes and these are made of protein. We get high quality protein from eggs, meats, chicken, turkey and fish and we need some at every meal. We can top up the protein in a meal with cheese or yoghurt. Vegetarian protein is of lesser quality and special care needs to be taken to get sufficient quality and quantity. Sugar is poison to our white cells and we need to minimise it.

 E is for Echinacea,

the King of Preventatives. This herb does its best work in

preventing infections and is best taken daily during times when risk of infection is high, such as during Autumn and Winter, during stressful periods or when travelling. Echinacea primes the immune system to be ready to respond to germs by boosting the number and function of the white cells. You need a combination of E. angustifolia and E. purpurea root extract to get the active ingredients. Our Echinacea Premium contains this combination.

C is for vitamin C,

which we need more of when under stress or when we have an infection. In normal health, we need 500 to 1000 mg daily, which could be got from a diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. When sick, we may need 3,000 to 12,000 mg daily, depending on the person. Avoid chewable and flavoured vitamin C, it’s bad for your teeth. Also avoid calcium ascorbate, it unbalances the body’s calcium levels. Use ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate.

White cell and virus
White cell destroying a virus

I is for zInc,

a very important nutrient for our immunity. It has antiviral effects by boosting white cell activity and strengthening our respiratory membranes against invasion. We get it from protein foods, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. It’s depleted by sugar, alcohol, caffeine, white flour and stress. When our white cells are fighting an infection, they use up a lot of zinc, so extra at this time is very helpful.


A is for Andrographis,

the best antiviral herb. This is the one to use when you have an infection, along with extra zinc and vitamin C. An adult dose is 4 gm 3 to 4 times daily. (It’s best avoided in pregnancy; in this case use Echinacea.) We have two products – Andrographis Complex and Andro NK.

Rest helps immune system
Monty shows us how to rest

L is for reLax and Let your immune system

do the job it was so brilliantly designed for, ie get some rest, feed your immune system and let it do its work and you’ll get over a bug quickly. Avoid or minimise the use of drugs for fever and congestion. They give some symptom relief but actually hinder your immune system’s efforts and prolong your illness.


7 is for Active 7.1,

a mineral combination for colds and all the “-itises”. It has antibacterial and antiviral activity and relieves congestion and inflammation. For a mild cold or sore throat, this may be all you need.

So remember the SPECIAL 7 and your whole family will have a healthier Winter! Call into Sunshine Health and arm yourself with remedies and pick up the pink guide “How To Treat Colds & Flu” for more detailed instructions and recipes.