My kid wakes up with a glazed look on her face.
“Mama.” She calls out again and again, often chilling me to the bone with her unconscious and unseeing stare.
“Baby, I’m here. You’re dreaming.”
She repeats her cry of “Mama” again and again, sitting bolt straight in bed, and then gradually lies back down and goes to sleep.
Sometimes I feel like something I say makes its way into her subconscious and calms her down. Sometimes nothing helps. It doesn’t seem to matter because she doesn’t remember any of it in the morning. None of it.
This can happen once in a night, or repeatedly.
I know what they are —classic night terrors— but I am constantly searching for a ‘why’ beyond the reassurance that she’ll eventually grow out of them. Over the years I’ve managed to narrow the scope of her episodes to when she’s had a fever or is unwell, or if she’s anxious about something. This year, with the start of a new big girl (grade 1) school year at a new school, we’ve had more than our regular share of harrowing nights.
Gut Instincts & Gut Flora
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing Julie Daniluk (best-selling author of Meals That Heal Inflammation) and Bryce Wylde (renowned alternative health clinician) talk about the benefits of probiotics – specifically for kids.
A lot of the information wasn’t new to me— as a Crohnie I am pretty well primed in the importance of populating my intestines with good bacteria. But I was absolutely shocked to hear about the relationship between probiotics and our moods, especially their emerging role in the treatment of depression and ADHD in kids.
Bryce Wylde shared that while there are many scientific theories undergoing investigation surrounding the probiotic relationship with our health, one he finds fascinating is ‘Psycho-Neuro-Endocrine-Immunology’ (PNEI).
He explained “…These bacteria are talking to us and other parts of our bodies and systems through the vagus nerve from our gut to our brain… they control our mood (psycho), neuro (nervous system), endocrine (hormones) and immune systems… if we are deficient of a species or a set of species we are more moody… we are more open to immune and endocrine hormone dysfunction, and we are definitely more imbalanced immunologically…”
This made so much sense to me— if you are not getting the nutrients you need, and you’re living in a state of inflammation or toxicity, of course you’re going to have mood issues. I remember the change of diet in the first week of being on the Whole30 and what a difference that made for my energy and mood.
Could something like this also help Vee? I wondered.
“…(In my practice) I had a beautiful little girl by the name of Lola who was suffering night terrors…” Julie Daniluk’s melodious voice began and my eyes went wide. “…I traced it back to an incidence of food poisoning….we put her on a really good dose of probiotics and within a week her night terrors were gone.”
I had just reached out earlier that week to the Twitterverse to see what we could do to make Vee’s nights restorative and peaceful. I almost cried. Hearing Julie talk made it seem so simple. Of course! The relationship between her anxiety and stomach upset the relationship between good bacteria and antibiotics during or after illness… that so coincided with my daughter’s night terror pattern.
A couple days later we started adding BioGaia to her morning regimen— just 5 drops into some water in the morning. Four days in I noticed that she had been eating her breakfast without the usual ‘my tummy feels too full’ or ‘I feel sick’ comments she usually sent my way. After about 7 days I noticed that she seemed less agitated and more focused. She wasn’t bursting into tears for what seemed like no reason as she so often used to.
We switched from the drops to BioGaia chewable tablets (that deliver the same 100 million live active Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis as the drops) so she could crunch on something and be more active in the process. She loves the citrusy taste, and so far it’s been about 10 days of probiotics to 1 episode of night terrors. That’s over a 30% improvement so far.
I can’t say I’m really surprised with the good news— according to studies BioGaia Tablets have been shown to reduce colic in kids by 70%, and 9 out of 10 babies taking BioGaia Probiotic Drops cried less after just 1 week.
I’m hoping that the improvements continue and that a combination of the right foods, supplements and talking things out will help get rid of our bad nights for good.
I’ll keep you up to date about her improvements, but in the mean time, you can learn more about BioGaia and their products here – make sure that you watch their great video presentation about the Pros of Probiotics for Kids.