Do you feel tired all the time even when you sleep more than 8 hours a night? Not just any old tired either, I'm talking about the delirious, lethargic, hazey, can hardly lift my feet or get out of bed kind of tired. Do you find caffeine has lost its kick and no matter what you do you just can't seem to catch up.
Let me assure you, you have not lost your mind and you are not just a whinger which others around seem to think you are. You don't feel quite right. What you could be experiencing is adrenal fatigue or what is also known as burnout or nervous breakdown. Something I know a lot about due to personal experience. Its not a very nice thing and what makes it harder is generally it's not something that is recognised in the western medecine world. Stress is not considered a sickness although it can definitely takes it's toll on your body. You may go to the doctors and have test after test with nothing showing up which can be frustrating when you just feel so bad and you know you don't feel your best.
So what are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? These are not limited to:
- Finding it unbelievably hard to get out of bed in the morning. Feel really tired especially around 11am and 3pm and then getting a sudden energy kick around 6pm and often being unable to sleep.
- Feeling foggy, loss of memory and unable to concentrate.
- Moody, anxiety and depression.
- Increased existing allergies or new ones.
- Unable to handle stress that usually is not a problem.
- Muscular aches and pains.
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Low blood pressure.
- Low blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia.
- Cold hands and feet. Generally feeling cold.
So what causes adrenal fatigue? Stress does, both physical and emotional. Your adrenal glands are responsible for creating cortisol which is a hormone. Cortisol is responsible for helping your body deal with stress. If you have been really stressed out lately working to much, getting very little sleep even overtraining your adrenal glands will be pumping out more cortisol than usual which can then lead to your adrenal glands being over worked and then no longer functioning properly which leads to adrenal fatigue or burnout.
Our bodies are made to deal with a little bit of stress hence our fight or flight function but only for a short period of time. Continual underlying stress is what will cause your body most harm. Most of the time people are not even aware that they are stressed because they get used to functioning at a highly stressed level. Constantly running on adrenaline.
Types of stress that can cause adrenal fatigue:
- Emotional Stress
- Poor diet
- Insufficient sleep
- Overtraining and or to much exercise
- Chemicals and pollutants
- Chronic disease
- To much caffeine or sugar
Adrenal fatigue has many stages with symptoms going unnoticed for years. So how do you prevent it and or heal your body from this condition?
It's all about slowing down and taking care of your body. Realise that we are not untouchable and there comes a time where to much stress will cause your body to just shut down.
- See a naturopath to first get tested for adrenal fatigue. They will give you supplements and tonics to assist with adrenal function.
- Cut out coffee from your diet completely (until you get better)
- Try to go to bed before 10:30pm and sleep until 8am when possible
- Eat regular meals every 2-3hours
- Add a good quality celtic sea salt to your diet.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Drink licorice, chamomile and peppermint tea.
- Limit sugar.
- Eat healthy nutritious food.
- Deal with stress, meditation and yoga is great.
- Limit high intensity training. You must listen to your body.
- Be kind to yourself.
Recovery time depends on how much you can calm your system down meaning taking time off work, taking a holiday if possible, taking more time to rest and relax and getting rid of the the things, environments and people causing you to feel stressed.