It’s normal to want to curl up with a book and a comfy blanket in the winter months. But when you're sleeping long hours and still wake up tired, it could be a symptom of an underlying health problem. One reason for chronic tiredness, irritability, and brain fog is adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
“Adrenal fatigue is a group of related signs and symptoms that happen when the adrenal function is below the necessary level”.
Adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys and are responsible for creating a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol regulates your energy, blood sugar level, and blood pressure. When adrenal glands are forced to work overtime due to chronic stress, they begin functioning improperly and you start experiencing symptoms of sluggishness, depression, and brain fog.
Symptoms range from mild to severe and it is not uncommon for people to be unaware that they are suffering from adrenal fatigue. Here are the most common symptoms.
Do I have Adrenal Fatigue?
Now that we know what adrenal fatigue is, how do we find out if we are suffering from it? One way to find out is to get a blood test ordered by your primary care physician. It should be covered by insurance if done as part of a yearly physical, and it will show your cortisol levels. The test needs to be done before 9 am when your cortisol levels are at their strongest. If the result of the test shows that your cortisol levels are outside of the norm, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Here are 6 natural ways to support your adrenals and treat adrenal fatigue.
1. Vitamins B12, magnesium, and vitamin D help adrenals function properly, so taking those in the amount your doctor recommends will help immensely.
2. Limiting your sugar and carb intake and increasing healthy fat consumption will not only aid with adrenal glands, it will help lower inflammation, which in turn, will give you more energy.
3. Adding green superfoods like kale and swiss chard will help your brain communicate properly with your adrenals, and provide you with essential nutrients needed to keep your body running.
4. It may seem counter-intuitive but curb that coffee habit. It’s important to get a good night sleep so your adrenals can recuperate, and consuming that midday coffee can interfere with that. Try switching to green tea after 1 pm. It not only contains caffeine but is also a great detoxifier. So it will give you energy without making you jittery and unable to rest at night.
5. Don’t even think about reaching for a soda, yes it will give you a short burst of energy, but in the long run, it will make you crash, and all that sugar is bad for your brain!
6. Last but not least, incorporate some sustainable stress lowering behaviors into your life. Whether it be taking a bath with essential oils or listening to some soothing music, - it's important to find a way to balance your stress.
A fun idea is getting an essential oil defuser and setting it next to your bed with some lavender oil. It smells delicious and will aid you in having a restful night. Getting a sound machine can also help dull outside noises that you may not even know are bothering you.
The bottom line is trying to relax! We live in a society that is very focused on hard work and long hours, but it is a marathon, not a sprint. So take care of your body, it’s the only one you have.