You sleep all night but wake up tired. The first thing you want in the morning is coffee and sugar. The mid morning slump and coffee craving are regular parts of your day. By midday you are hoping for an afternoon nap. Dinner time is when you find some energy then fade again by 9pm. Can’t concentrate. Forgetful. Craving carbs, Hair is falling out. No time to feel sick but when you do you go down hard. Sound familiar ?????
It could be adrenal fatigue…
Our adrenals are small glands located on top of your kidneys. They regulate our stress response by releasing adrenalin and cortisol. Stress comes in lots of forms –
Physical – injury, excess weight, pain
Emotional – upset, stressed, overwhelmed, grief, anxiety
Mental – studying, long bouts of concentration, work
We experience different kinds of stress but it all has the same effect on our bodies – a release of cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are known as the fight or flight response and traditionally provided us with a quick response to get us up and running from threats and once the danger had passed, to rest and digest. Unfortunately our lives can often feel like a constant barrage of stressful events.
Cortisol is the hormone that protects our bodies from the free radical damage that adrenaline causes. To create cortisol our bodies need protein, stomach acid to break it down, zinc, b vitamins, vitamin c, and magnesium. These nutrients are also needed for lots of other body functions so making sure you have enough, especially when you’re stressed, is hugely important.
Ways to look after your adrenals…
Sleep – aim for at least seven hours per night.
When you feel exhausted try lying flat for 10 minutes. This gives your body cues that you are responding to your stress and slows the adrenal response.
Smile – There are lots of studies proving the positive effects on stress hormones and the adrenals when a person feels happy. Be careful about what you let into your head – avoid negativity, steer clear of the sad/scary movies.
Move you body– just 20 minutes of gentle exercise daily reduces stress and adrenaline. Remember you are not doing this to train or lose weight – just enjoy a walk in the sun or a leisurely bike ride.
Swap caffeine and sugar for real nutrients – make sure you are getting plenty of zinc, vitamin C, B’s, magnesium, and protein. Caffeine and sugar actually cause direct stress to the adrenals so while it may feel like a short term solution its actually creating a long term problem.
Try to do something for yourself or ask for some help – all too often the person with adrenal fatigue is the one who is looking after everyone else.
Get some help with your health – herbs, supplements, diet and stress management can help you feel good again. Talking to someone about your stress and how to manage it can help you feel more in control and get you back on track faster.