Do you wake up feeling groggy, like you have a hangover, but without the fun memories of the night before?You’re sure you just spent the work evening as usual, sat on the sofa binge watching every single episode of your new favorite show until late. There was popcorn involved, but no wine, this time, so why the fuzzy, heavy head and desperate desire for coffee? You could be suffering with Adrenal Fatigue. Some studies suggest up to 80% of people today have some form of this health problem.
Adrenal Fatigue is an imbalance of the hormone cortisol. You are supposed to get 3 main surges of cortisol during the day, but none at night time. With Adrenal Fatigue the opposite happens, you have low cortisol in the morning, but then it peaks in the evening. You’re not tired, but wired, at the end of the day. Cortisol keeps us going, keeps us pepped and energized. When we have cortisol surges at the wrong time we find that we can’t get going in the morning and we can’t fall asleep at night.
How you know if you have Adrenal Fatigue
If even when you take the time to have a really good night’s sleep (in bed by 10pm, the full 8-9 uninterrupted hours) you still feel that hungover feeling, then it’s possible this is down to early stage Adrenal Fatigue. Heal the root causes now and you’ll save yourself a bigger headache in years to come.
Culturally, we’re trained to think that we’re kind of supposed to feel tired all of the time. We keep ourselves overbooked and overextended, we stay BUSY, in order to achieve everything we set out to achieve. Our brains have totally got this handled. They can juggle work tasks, child care, meal planning, socializing, studying for a PhD, all at the same time and succeed. But our adrenals are more primitive than our brains and they cannot handle this. They get burnt out very quickly by the modern way of life.
Other symptoms of early stage Adrenal Fatigue include:
- low libido
- inability to deal with stress
- problems with concentrating and memory
- getting sick often
- feeling depressed
The root cause of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal Fatigue is one of what I like to call the “vicious cycle” issues. It comes down to a combination of problems with the gut microbiome, the thyroid, and the adrenals. The gut microbiome is in conversation with our cortisol production system. Inflammation in the gut from issues like “leaky gut syndrome” (brought on by processed flour, sugar, dairy) causes toxic substances to leak through into your whole body and this creates an inflammatory moment, an immune response, and stresses out your adrenals. They send out cortisol like crazy until the well runs dry.
With early stage Adrenal Fatigue you’re just not making enough cortisol during the day (and too much at night). With later stage Adrenal Fatigue you can stop making cortisol during the day altogether. The thyroid can become dysfunctional leading to a thyroid problem. That problem can then develop into something more severe – namely Addison’s or Cushing’s Disease. BUT you can turn early stage Adrenal Fatigue around pretty simply and easily and avoid any of these potential cascading health problems.
Adrenal Fatigue and your cycles and fertility
Disruption to the hormone cortisol has a knock-on impact on your cycles. If you’re currently suffering with Adrenal Fatigue you will likely also be experiencing these issues:
- Anovulatory cycles – you won’t be ovulating every month which will hamper your plans for achieving a pregnancy and your overall health.
- Progesterone deficiency – your body eats up progesterone when its struggling to regulate cortisol. Low progesterone lengthens your luteal phase making your cycles longer and the start of your period sluggish (you may see brown spotting and brown blood before the full flow).
- PMS – as you can imagine, the “tired and wired” scenario here is going to worsen all symptoms of PMS including the mood swings and food cravings. You’ll especially crave sugar for energy, which then disrupts the microbiome and causes more cortisol disruption. Vicious cycle!
How to heal Adrenal Fatigue naturally
The great news is that you can heal this health problem naturally – no medications involved – and your efforts will reap rewards quickly. Follow my simple 3 step plan to soothe your adrenals and start sleeping like a baby and waking up refreshed, energized and raring to take on the day.
3 things to do if you want to heal Adrenal Fatigue
- Sleep. There are many things you can do to get a better night’s sleep, even with cortisol levels going haywire. I have a breakdown of many of my best tips here, but as an added extra for your situation, I suggest you also try a herbal sleep aid. My favorite is Hyland’s Calms.
- Supplement. There are two types of Adrenal Fatigue – one comes with anxiety and one comes with depression. If you have anxiety, take the supplement Ashwaghanda and if you have depression take Rhodiola.
- Schedule. Your adrenals love a regular, set schedule. They are trying to keep time in your body in relation to the sun rising and setting, so they’re all about that clockwork time keeping. They feel relaxed by regular bed times, meal times, and workout times. This can seem impossible, especially if you have multiple responsibilities, but try picking just ONE part of your life to schedule strictly – like the time you wake up or the time you eat dinner with your family.
3 things to avoid if you want to heal Adrenal Fatigue
- Over-exercise. Don’t push yourself when you’re not feeling up to that spin class. If you have adrenal fatigue it’s better to focus on walking, yoga, pilates, instead of high cardio workouts that stress the adrenals. Exercise according to your body’s best abilities by cycle-syncing your routine.
- Empty stomach. Eat a good breakfast every morning and don’t chug coffee on an empty stomach. Better yet, avoid coffee entirely – here’s my easy detox plan.
- Late night. Try to rearrange your life to avoid having dinner late, binge watching until the wee hours, events that don’t start til 9pm – try to catch that sleep train at 10pm every night. This way you’ll get into bed on the tail end of the evening cortisol surge and avoid experiencing another close to midnight and then not getting to sleep until 3am, if at all.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, do you think you have Adrenal Fatigue?
Second, do you have low energy?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
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