Do you feel tired when you wake up in the morning yet wired late at night?
Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
Do you ever wake up feeling groggy and hungover, even after a night with no alcohol?
Do you rely upon coffee to get you through the day otherwise you might fall asleep at your desk by 3pm?
If you've said yes to one or more of these questions, it's likely you have some degree of adrenal fatigue.
Your adrenals are located above the kidneys and produce a variety of hormones including cortisol, adrenaline and aldosterone.
When you have produced an excessive amount of cortisol through things like stress, lack of sleep, irregular eating patterns or toxic chemical exposure, your adrenals become exhausted leaving you feel completely out of whack with your natural energetic and sleep rhythm.
Your adrenals not only control your sleep and your energy, they control your blood sugar levels. Therefore when you have adrenal fatigue you can feel hungry a lot of the time as your blood sugar is unbalanced so you constantly want to satisfy your hunger.
Here are my top 4 tips to heal your adrenals for increased energy, better sleep and more enthusiasm for life.
It's the most common scenario that for women with adrenal fatigue overexercise when they no longer feel in control of their weight or appetite.
You are always hungry, starting to gain weight even though you are restricting your calories. You have no energy but drag your sorry ass to the gym which leaves you feeling totally depleted. If this sounds familiar, you need to eliminate exercise and heal your adrenals before starting up a workout regime. This is the only safe and sustainable answer to weight loss.
I would suggest you start with some light walking three times a week max. Your adrenal fatigue will resolve itself but it takes time and patience. You will know when it's starting to heal as it completely changes your energy levels and your body will start asking for more.
Your exercise regime should look like this:
Tip: exercise that feels challenging in a good way and like you are ready to take on more is a good sign. Exercise that feels challenging in a completely exhausting and burnt out way should be avoided. Start with walking on the treadmill. Then, add some incline and perhaps some handheld free weights.
You want to focus on foods rich in vitamin B (lean meats, soy, eggs) and vitamin C (kiwi, papaya, berries, mangoes, oranges). You also want to increase you fat intake with good fats (coconut oil, avocado, walnuts, olive oil, ghee).
Eliminating or cutting right back on sugar is very important if you haven't done that already. When the sweet tooth pops up to say hello, opt for fruit or dates. Eliminating sugar out of your diet will help to sync you with your natural cortisol rhythm, leading to more energy and better sleep.
Supplements are to be used supplementary for a short period of time only. We don't want to overload your liver with several supplements over a long period of time. If you feel you need some extra support, I've outlined some great options below.
My advice is to just take baby steps. Start with implementing just one thing out of my suggestions and see how it feels. Your body will tell you when you're ready for the next step.
Focus on slowing down. The breath is a gift that will slow your nervous system down and move your body into rest and repair mode. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, relinquish all control over the situation.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths all the way into your belly. Breath in for 4 seconds, breath out for 8 seconds. This will slow down the release of cortisol and calm your nervous system.
Tip: stress appears in situations we are trying to over-control. See how it feels to surrender to your stress and realise that life isn't supposed to be taken too seriously. Nothing is worth flooding your body with cortisol which is damaging your organs, cells and tissues.
Breathe. Be patient. Be gentle. Be kind. Your body is doing the best it can with what it's been given. Things will improve soon.