Under a lot of stress lately? This can lead to adrenal fatigue/burnout.
We have two adrenal glands on top of each kidney. They are about the size of a thumb and are triangular in shape.
The adrenal glands help you respond to STRESS (physical, psychological and emotional) by releasing various hormones that keep the body in homeostasis (balance). Some of these stressors include a life crisis, an illness, lack of sleep and a poor diet. Adrenal fatigue during pregnancy can also occur.
If you experience an extreme amount of stress in an intense single bout or cumulatively over time due to smaller stressors the adrenals become over stimulated. Over stimulation will cause a decrease in the output of regulatory hormones and your body will not be able to maintain homeostasis.
People suffering from adrenal fatigue will often rely on stimulants such as coffee, pop and energy drinks to get going in the morning and to push through the low points of the day. Sound familiar?
- Adrenal burnout can cause the following:
- Feelings of exhaustion for no reason
- Trouble getting out of bed in the morning even with a proper amount of sleep
- Feeling most energetic around 6pm, tired again between 9-10pm and then energized from 11pm to 1am
- Cravings for salty and sweet snacks
- Loss of concentration and memory loss
- A decreased ability to handle stress
- Trouble bouncing back after being sick
- Reduced sex drive
- A sensitivity to cold
If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue there are some natural ways you can build these glands back up.
1. Get to sleep by 10pm – You experience the deepest and most regenerative sleep between 10pm and 2am – make sure you are taking advantage of this. After this 4 hour window your sleep is more superficial.
2. Avoid processed sugars and caffeine – I know this is hard! These substances kick your body into overdrive – the last thing you need if your adrenals are suffering.
3. Exercise moderately – Regular exercise at a light to moderate intensity is great for your adrenal health. Keep in mind that pushing yourself too hard can wear down your adrenals. Walking is a great exercise to start.
4. Expose yourself to natural sunlight – This is good for your adrenal health and will also help keep your vitamin D levels up. Make sure you don’t let your skin burn – everything in moderation.
5. Make lists – Having a well kept list in a place you will see it is a great way to unload your mind.
6. Set aside time to relax – Meditation, a good book and deep breathing all support adrenal health.
7. Take adaptogenic herbs – This class of herbs increases your resistance toward stressors. Some examples of adaptogens include rhodiola, ashwaghandha and one of my absolute favourites – holy basil/tulsi.
As you can see, ALL of the ideas above are also part of living a healthy lifestyle in general. This makes sense – living healthy = healthy adrenals.
Keep your adrenal glands healthy and they will do their job keeping your body in balance.
Have you ever experienced adrenal fatigue?
To your health!