You wake up and don’t feel restored, even if you got your full 8 hours, and at night, you get a second wind. That second wind helps you to get your stuff done – which often leads to staying up late into the night. This vicious cycle could be doing harm to your adrenals, who need night time to repair.
Your adrenals are the little glands that sit atop each kidney, mobilizing your body’s responses to every kind of stress (physical, emotional, or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress.
Under normal circumstances, they release cortisol and DHEA (the main stress hormones), and epinephrine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters). You’re designed to make a lot in the morning, and very little at bedtime, and during sleep. When this doesn’t happen, you may struggle with fatigue, low libido and a thickening waist.
Some research indicates that 80 percent of the population will experience adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives. Adrenal fatigue is produced when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress. Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond to the stress and maintain balance. If their response is inadequate, you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue.
One way to get things under control is to make sure your stress hormone levels are balanced. Here are a few things to explore:
Do Yoga. We know that cortisol gets modulated by practicing yoga. If you have high cortisol, a regular yoga practice will lower it. Yoga also releases GABA, which is nature’s valium.
Stop Eating Sugar. High cortisol floods the blood with glucose. Over time your body becomes resistant to insulin. Result? You will likely gain weight and possibly develop hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Then you crave more sugar. See the dangerous cycle?
Un-Caffeinate Yourself. Caffeine is one of the most popular ways to self-medicate low morning cortisol. We tend to rely on it for fake energy. Keeping intake to a minimum might help you sleep better too.
Get Your Hormone Levels Tested. Don’t go on guessing whether or not your adrenals are balanced especially if you are experiencing symptoms of fatigue or are enduring prolonged stress or chronic illness. (You can find our hormone assessment here.)
Check Out Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy. Bioidentical cortisol is often needed initially to support and improve adrenal function. It is available through a compounding pharmacy by prescription and is a safe and effective way to help address adrenal fatigue.