Waking tired, amazed that it is morning already.
Getting going only with the help of caffeine and carbohydrates.
And again mid-afternoon.
Needing to wind down at the end of the day with wine.
Little interest in exercise and/or sex.
Any of these describe you?
You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue – along with many around you.
Adrenal Fatigue – the what, when, how, why and where
Adrenal Fatigue or Exhaustion is basically the ‘burn out’ of your adrenals, two small glands near your kidneys, which produce many hormones, including stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol and DHEA.
After high levels of stress hormone output for many years due to prolonged stress, whether thought to be positive (exciting, fast-paced, busy) or negative (overwhelming, uninvited) stress.
Not limited to emotional stress, stressors may also be nutritional (severe allergies, suboptimal diet), physical (excessive exercise, surgery) and/or environmental (lack of sunlight, toxins, shift work), depleting adrenal gland function over time.
The adrenal glands aren’t able produce stress hormones at the constant pace being asked of by your body.
Cortisol is designed to be elevated in the morning to help you bounce out of bed, then drop slowly during the day to allow you to naturally fall asleep once your day is done. Cortisol also stimulates your liver to convert amino acids into glucose, counters allergies and inflammation, helps regulate mood, and mobilises fatty acids in the blood to be used at fuel for energy production.
Adrenaline is for instant reaction – fight or flight, elevating heart rate and drawing blood supply to the limbs, away from ongoing processes such as digestion.
DHEA helps balance cortisol, as well as helping the body build tissue, is the precursor for testosterone for sexual desire, and improves energy and vitality.
Often felt as deep fatigue, stiffness, and/or cravings for sugar and caffeine. Also foggy thinking, insomnia, headaches, trouble sleeping and/or depression.
What You Can Do To Help
- Eat nutrient-dense food, avoiding CRAP (carbonated drinks, refined sugar, additives and processed foods).
- See a natural medical practitioner for herbal and vitamin supplements to support adrenal gland recovery.
- Go to bed before you get a ‘second wind’, that is, your adrenal glands attempting to give you another burst of cortisol – when you should be in bed. Aim for 8pm or 9pm – 10pm at the very latest.
- When you wake in the morning, preferably at the same time each day, get up and outside. The morning light helps your body produce the right brain chemicals, that is, serotonin to increase and melatonin to drop, so you feel more ready for the day.
- Meditate, breathe deeply and/or journal to calm your subconscious and allow your conscious mind the chance to be heard.
- Consider the source of stressors and how some might be reduced. Is what you are spending your precious days doing more important than your health?
- Get a massage, professional or from a friend.
- Engage in light to moderate exercise, preferably outdoors to also benefit from the vitamin D in sunlight
Extra Recommended Resources / References
Accidentally Overweight by Dr Libby Weaver
Dr James Wilson
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr Christiane Northrup