If you ask how most people are doing and if they’re really honest with you, they’ll probably say their lives are crazy or busy or stressful. It seems that most of us today live fast paced and stress-filled lives. Between deadlines at work, information overload from smart phones and the internet, to managing finances, we’re lucky to get a few minutes of relaxation. This long term stress can eventually causes sleep problems. We feel exhausted so we try to compensate with drinking caffeinated beverages just to keep our heads above the water of all the stuff we have to do everyday. Meanwhile, our poor little adrenal glands are getting exhausted.
And guess what? Chronic stress, poor sleep, and excess caffeine can all eventually lead to adrenal fatigue. Other things that can lead to adrenal fatigue are poor diet and extreme physical activity.
Some of the signs of adrenal fatigue are: difficulty waking up in the morning, craving sweet and/or salty foods, stress headaches, shakiness in between eating, fatigue and weakness, waking up between 2am-4am, and frequent colds, infections, and allergies.
Here are some safe things you can do if you think you might have adrenal fatigue. Even if you don’t have adrenal fatigue, you can still benefit from these suggestions.
1. Restful Sleep:
- If you have adrenal fatigue, you would probably benefit from 8-9 hours of deep, restful sleep every night. For optimal adrenal regeneration, it is best if you can go to sleep by 10pm.
- Excess exercise can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue or make it worse; however, if your adrenals are fatigued, you will benefit from gentle to moderate exercise. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. Pay attention to how you feel and don’t over do it. Exercises that incorporate relaxation such as yoga, qigong, and tai chi are especially beneficial.
3. Practice relaxation:
- The more we do something, the better we get at it. We can kind of decide what we want to get good at in our lives. The more uptight and stressed we get about things, the better we get at being stressed and uptight. The more relaxed we are throughout the day, the better we get at being relaxed. There are many methods and techniques of how to promote relaxation. Find one or several that resonate with you. Make it the focus of your day to be deeply relaxed. Use stressful situations as a cue to let go and relax. It is difficult but with regular practice, you will get better at it.
4. Eliminate or cut back on caffeine and alcohol:
- If you are accustomed to drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages, it would be wise to gradually cut back on them rather than stopping cold turkey. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can be very rough: headaches+depression+anxiety+fatigue=not much fun. While caffeine can exhaust the adrenals by overstimulating them, alcohol interferes with normal adrenal function by inhibiting it’s activity. “Technically speaking,” this can throw your system out of wack.
5. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine:
- Some of the most common patterns of adrenal fatigue in Chinese medicine usually involve a deficiency of kidney or spleen or a combination of them. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help restore balance to the body and regenerate the deficient organ systems. Furthermore, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help reduce stress and improve sleep quality, which will help to heal and restore not only the adrenals but the entire body.