Ever wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck?
Ever wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck?!
If your answer is ‘yes’, then I hope this blog post today will help to shed some light on some really simple (but powerful) changes you could introduce.
One of the reasons behind your (deep) tiredness could be that your adrenal glands are struggling to keep up with the demands of everyday life and they’re beginning to struggle.
The adrenal glands are part of your endocrine (hormonal) system and they sit just on top of your kidneys. Only the size of a walnut, these small but mighty glands (you have two), produce a range of your body’s hormones including adrenaline and cortisol which you might be aware of, but also sex hormones such as progesterone, and hormones that help regulate blood pressure, salt retention and fluid balance.
There are various factors that can place demands on our adrenal glands, but the main one that is relevant and will resonate with most of us is stress. A high stress, fast-paced lifestyle with the resultant emotional rollercoastering situation that this created with this rapid pace of living with not enough ‘me time’ can take a toll on our body.
When our body is exposed to stress, and that can be any kind of stress from being in immediate genuine danger through to feeling relationship, financial or work pressure, it is interpreted as a direct threat to our life and it can take a toll on our body.
Our bodies are primarily wired for survival and whilst we our bodies are incredible in so many ways, there are biological processes that are hard-wired into our cellular DNA to ensure we are able to cope at times of stress, and most importantly live to tell the tale. Historically, the only long-term stressors and life-threatening situations humans would have been exposed to would have been a flood, famine, war or having to fight or flee from a sabre-tooth tiger or a neighbouring tribe.
Once the danger was over, life would go back to a state of calm again and we would live in a much more tranquil state. Today, life looks very different. We have stress coming at us at all angles on an increasingly regular basis and our biology has not yet had a chance to evolve to cope with life at a million miles an hour.
When our body is subjected to stress, the adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisol as a protective mechanism. Adrenaline is our body’s actual stress hormone designed to have immediate, short-term effects and get you out of danger, and cortisol is the stress hormone that’s produced in excess it the stress becomes more long-lasting and doesn’t go away initially.
Endless to-do lists, feeling insufficient and emotionally lost or unloved, rushing around trying to be all things to everyone, sacrificing sleep for a demanding work schedule, our adrenal glands really do have their work cut out for them.
Cortisol is fine in the short-term, but if stress is left unaddressed and cortisol output has been continually high, the adrenal glands may begin to dwindle. They can only do so much for so long, and if repeatedly tested without much downtime they can ‘crash’ which causes cortisol production to plummet or become sub-optimal. This process is known as ‘burn out’ or adrenal fatigue and there are some key signs and symptoms to look out for.
SIGNS THAT YOUR ADRENALS NEED SOME SUPPORT
- Deep, unrelenting fatigue often described as ‘tiredness to the bone.’
- Extreme difficulty getting out of bed in the mornings
- Feeling tired but at the same time wired.
- Feeling stiff, particularly on rising..
- Reliance on sugar or caffeine to get you through some mornings and most afternoons
- .A second wind if you don’t go to bed by 10 pm, making it much harder for you to fall asleep if you’re still up at midnight
Regarding supporting the adrenal glands, there are lots of steps you can do to restore the adre.nals. To get far-reaching results, however, I would encourage you to support your pituitary gland which is a gland in your brain which regulates your adrenals (and the rest of your endocrine system), so this can be immensely powerful and highly beneficial to restoring your overall health and vitality.
In my opinion, yoga (particularly of the restorative yoga rather than ‘power yoga’), or any form of breathwork such as meditation or Qigong (pronounced chee-gong), are some of the most effective ways to make progress in recovering from adrenal fatigue.
With that said, never underestimate the restorative and healing power of nutrition. With a combination of restorative practices, nutrition, sleep and rest, it is possible to regain your health and energy and recover from adrenal fatigue.
The most important step in this journey is prioritising your own health and committing to look after you.
I hope the above has given you a possible reason behind the tiredness you or a loved one might be experiencing or have experienced in the past.
I’m switching off now for the night! I’m going to enjoy a homemade curry, watch an episode of Homeland (addicted!) and then make some chocolate orange pecan balls, so we have tasty, and energising snacks for a beach clean a group of friends, and I are doing tomorrow here on the north of the island here in Menorca.