The wee hours of the morning are approaching, and you’re sound asleep. Suddenly, your eyes snap open, you feel a sense of dread, and turn to look at the clock on your nightstand. You’ve woken up at 3 a.m. again.
Your children aren’t crying, your partner is still snoring, and your dog is curled up at the foot of your bed. There are no irregular noises coming from inside or outside your home. So, what the heck woke you up?
Some people believe that waking up at 3 a.m. (or “The Devil’s Hour”) as it is also known, is a sign that something sinister is in your presence.
Chances are, there could be. But what if that sinister something isn’t outside your body, but inside?
Why Parasites Wake You up at 3 AM
While it’s comforting to know some entity from the netherworld isn’t stopping by to watch you sleep every night, finding out that parasites are crawling around inside you is still pretty creepy.
Parasitic infections are caused by three main types of organisms:
- Protozoa – These single-celled organisms can live and multiply in human hosts. A common protozoan infection is Giardia intestinalis, a parasitic infection of the intestines.
- Helminths – These multi-celled organisms can live independently or in a human host. Ringworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and flatworms all fall into this category.
- Ectoparasites – These parasites as also multi-celled organisms, and they live in or feed off of human skin. Examples are fleas, ticks, mites, and mosquitoes.
Parasites are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. This is when they feed, breed, and excrete waste, causing the release of stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline, which are activated to reduce inflammation.
These hormones can trigger feelings of anxiety and panic, heightening your awareness to everything around you (hence that “being watched” feeling you might get). Cortisol also counteracts the sleep hormone, melatonin, making it almost impossible to fall back to sleep.
Over time, excess cortisol in your system will counteract anabolic hormones, making it difficult to heal from even minor illnesses and injuries. When this happens, the infection progresses, your detoxification systems become overburdened, and the cycle continues.
Where Parasites Come From
You can become infected with parasites from eating raw fish, undercooked meat, drinking impure water, touching an infected animal, or intimate contact with another person.
Signs You’re Infested With Parasites
One of the most annoying things about parasites is that they trigger so many different types of reactions, it’s hard to get a proper diagnosis.
The symptoms associated with human parasitic infection are similar to those of certain autoimmune diseases, bacterial infections, fungal infections, neurological disorders, and even mental illnesses.
However, there are some symptoms that stand out above the rest and are a stronger indication of parasites.
These symptoms include:
1. Waking up in the middle of the night (especially with anxiety)
If you’re waking up between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. every morning, especially in a state of anxiety, you may have a parasite.
2. Rectal itching
The most common symptom of pinworms is rectal itching. The itching can come on suddenly and be very intense. (This causes incredible discomfort because you can’t exactly dig around down there to relieve the itch while other people are in the room.)
3. Loose stools containing blood and mucous
Parasites can cause intestinal inflammation and change the fluid balance of your gut, resulting in bloody diarrhea.
4. Grinding your teeth in your sleep
Grinding your teeth in your sleep could be a sign that your body is in a state of stress and anxiety while you rest.
5. Your lower intestines make horrible noises
While tummy rumbling and gurgling is normal, these sounds are unrelated to hunger or digestion. The gurgling that comes as a result of a parasitic infection is lower down in the intestines and very intense.
The noise can be audible across a quiet room, and you may actually feel like something is moving around in your gut. If this happens at night, you almost definitely have parasites.
6. You have iron-deficiency anemia
Worm infections can cause blood loss and iron loss from the gastrointestinal tract.
7. You don’t feel satisfied after meals
Parasites are nasty little buggers that take the best nutrients from your food for themselves, leaving you with scraps. This may make you feel hungry all the time. No matter how much you eat, you don’t feel full, and you don’t gain weight.
8. Sudden, unexplained weight loss
Even if you eat plenty and often, the lack of nutrition coupled with chronic diarrhea attacks can cause you to suddenly drop pounds at an alarming rate.
How to Get Rid of Parasites Naturally
Make dietary changes
The first thing to do is avoid foods that feed parasites. This means refined foods, dairy products, fruit, fruit juices, and other sugary foods.
Instead, eat organic vegetables, nuts, seeds, well-cooked poultry, organic eggs, virgin coconut oil, butter, cayenne pepper, and plain yogurt.
Eat foods that kill parasites
- Raw Garlic
Raw, organic garlic exhibits strong anti-parasitic activity against human parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica, Ascaris lumbricoides, and Giardia lamblia. The best way to use garlic to kill parasites is to press the juice from a clove or two of garlic and mix it with a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar and drink.
If you feel the taste is too intense, chop up a clove or two and sprinkle it over salad, cooked vegetables, chicken, etc., as often as possible.
- Pumpkin Seeds
According to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, pumpkin seeds are very effective in treating parasitic worm infection. Incorporate these seeds into your diet whenever possible.
- Papaya Seeds
According to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, 2.75 mg/mL of papaya seed extract caused a 96 percent mortality rate of parasite larvae.
Try supplements and herbs for parasites
- Digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes will help put your intestinal tract in the state it was in before the parasitic invasion. This will make your digestive system inhospitable to parasites. Moreover, as your body heals, these enzymes will improve your ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Adding a probiotic supplement to your diet can help re-balance your gut bacteria. An ideal probiotic should be delayed-released, so more of the beneficial organisms can reach your intestinal tract. It should also offer a good variety of bacteria, and contain no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or additives.
I recommend Renew Life probiotics.
A German study showed that clove oil extract decreased the Eimeria caviae parasite in the fecal matter of weaned guinea pigs by 93.30 percent. Since there is some debate as to whether or not clove oil is safe to use internally, ground cloves can be taken in supplement form.
During a study (published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research), 14 patients who tested positive for enteric parasites, Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba hartmanni, and Endolimax nana, were given 600 milligrams of emulsified Mediterranean oregano oil for six weeks.
After the six-week period, four cases of Entamoeba hartmanni had completely disappeared. One case of Endolimax nana was gone, and eight cases of Blastocystis hominis had been cured. Seven out of the 11 patients infected with Blastocystis hominis also reported a reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms.
Waking up at 3 a.m. every day doesn’t necessarily mean you have parasites. However, if you have multiple symptoms of parasitic infection, ask your doctor for a Comprehensive Stool Analysis. Just keep in mind that the test could come back negative, even if you do have parasites.
If you are taking prescription medications or have a serious medical condition, talk with an integrative medicine physician before starting an anti-parasite regimen.
When you remove parasites from your system, you may find that the mystery symptoms you’ve been living with for years fade away. Plus, no more weird 3 a.m. wake-ups!
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