Tired but Wired?
Your adrenal glands may need support. Naturally.
Are these symptoms familiar?
- Waking up tired in the morning despite getting a good night’s sleep.
- Feeling groggy until 10 am, exhausted around 3-4 pm and then energetic in the evening.
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Feeling like it takes 10X the effort than it should to do every day tasks.
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy if you sit or stand up quickly.
- Having trouble focussing and making decisions.
- Gaining weight around your waistline.
- Decreasing ability to tolerate exercise.
- Getting repeated colds, flus or infections and taking a long time to recover.
- Having trouble making it through the day without frequent coffee and starchy/sugary snacks.
- Worsening PMS, peri-menopause or menopausal symptoms.
How are your adrenal glands involved?
Your adrenal glands produce steroid hormones to regulate many body systems, including your response to stress.This means that when you experience too much physical, emotional, mental, or environmental stress, it can deplete your adrenal function leading to decreased hormone production and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Having one of these symptoms does not give a definitive diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, but collectively, they strongly suggest it’s presence. If many of these symptoms seem familiar to you, then you are probably suffering from some level of adrenal fatigue, and something needs to change if you want to feel better again.
What You Can Do
Make a few lifestyle changes.
1. Get enough sleep. Be in bed and asleep at 10:30 pm before you catch your second wind. Staying up late further exhausts your adrenal glands. Create relaxing evening habits and turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.
2. Emphasize the activities that make you feel good and minimize the ones that drain your energy.
- Make a list of things that make you feel good and a list of things that drain your energy. Identify the top FIVE good things and see how you can emphasize these things in your life, and lessen the top five bad things to lessen their impact.
3. Add some physical exercise. Exercise normalizes levels of cortisol, insulin, blood glucose, growth hormone, thyroid, and several other hormones, and puts more oxygen into your brain.
Find an exercise that you enjoy, that is not highly competitive or grueling. Yoga, tai-chi, swimming, fast walking, and dancing are a good way to start getting active.
Look at what and when you eat.
4. Combine a high quality protein (e.g. organic grass-fed meat, organic free range eggs, cold water fish, beans, organic dairy products, nuts and seeds) and colourful vegetables at every meal.
5. If you are vegetarian and have adrenal fatigue, include eggs, miso, sea vegetables, and yogurt into your diet.
6. Eat 6 to 8 servings of a wide variety of vegetables per day, especially colourful ones (green, yellow, red, orange, purple). Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a high amount of fibre. Make sure you have at least three highly coloured vegetables with each of your noon and evening meals.
7. If you have adrenal fatigue, timing of meals is extremely important:
- Eat breakfast before 10 am to replenish your nutrient stores from not having eaten all night.
- Lunch should be eaten between 11-11:30 because at this point in the day your body has used up the morning nourishment.
- A nutritious snack sometime between 2-3 pm helps to get you through that cortisol dip around 3-4 pm.
- Then you should have an evening meal around 5-6 pm.
- Before bed, a couple of bites of a good quality snack with a whole grain and small amount of protein will ensure that you don’t wake up in your sleep due to low blood sugar.
8. Decrease your caffeine and sugar intake. People with adrenal fatigue often crave caffeine or cola because of their stimulant effect. However, caffeine over-stimulates the adrenal glands, which leads to further fatigue when the caffeine wears off. Green tea is a better choice.
Take a few high-quality supplements.
9. Take a high-quality vitamin B-complex supplement as these are our “anti-stress” vitamins. They support adrenal hormone production and cellular energy production.
10. Magnesium is like the spark plug for your adrenal glands and is essential for cellular energy production.
11. Calcium settles the nervous system and creates inner calm.
Consider a few herbs.
12. Try some herbal adrenal support such as Ashwaganda (an Ayurvedic herb that modulates the body’s stress response), Rhodiola (a herb that modulates the adrenal gland function, reduces anxiety and enhances brain function), or Siberian Ginseng (a herb that supports adrenal gland function).
How can a naturopathic doctor help?
I am here to help you figure out what dietary and lifestyle changes will have you feeling more energized and feeling heathy. Some supplements may interact with medications or health conditions, so please seek advice from a qualified naturopathic doctor.
oying all the festivities rather than on health. But all the rich foods, cocktails, late nights and stress can lead to weight gain, low immunity, and exhaustion. Here are five ideas to help you stay healthy while still having a great time.
Stay well-hydrated – Alcohol and caffeine are both very dehydrating. So to prevent the morning after headache by drinking one large glass of water between each glass of wine or cocktail (likewise for the coffee). Keep in mind too, that drinking one large glass of water 20 minutes before a meal (but not during a meal as this dilutes stomach acid and enzymes thus weakening digestion) has the added benefit of helping you feel full faster so that you don’t overeat.
Choose nutrient-rich food – when you face a giant spread of food, avoid the deep-fried, processed, and packaged foods that are full of saturated fat, salt, and sugar. Instead, choose homemade foods, high quality protein sources, colourful vegetables and fresh fruits that contain nutrients to nourish your body, thus giving you enough energy to enjoy the party.
Breathe – Take 5 minutes first thing in the morning and throughout the day (in the car to the next gathering) to be mindful your breathing. This exercise promotes physiological relaxation that can protect your body from the harmful effects of too much stress. An easy breathing exercise is taking a deep breath down to your navel to a slow count of four, holding the breath for a count of four and exhaling slowly to a count of four.
Schedule unstructured time – Set aside some time every week that you do not have any planned activities or goals to accomplish. It is this time that you can putter around the house, take a leisurely stroll, or do anything you enjoy so that you take an emotional and mental break.
Get active – Physical exercise (preferably outdoors) normalizes levels of stress hormones in our bodies and puts more oxygen into your brain. Make plans with your friends and families to go skating or hiking together.
I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday with your friends and families. See you in the New Year!