Are you suffering from fatigue caused by long periods of stress? Adrenal Fatigue can affect a person’s ability to get enough rest to support the endocrine system, causing the adrenal glands to work inefficiently.
The adrenal glands regulate the body’s hormones, including a hormone known as cortisol which helps the body to deal with stress. Adrenal Fatigue symptoms can be associated with both low or high cortisol levels. The Mayo Clinic staff warns of the potential adverse reactions the body can have to prolonged periods of stress including heart disease, sleep problems, digestive issues, depression, memory impairment, obesity, and even skin conditions in their article titled: Constant Stress Puts Your Health at Risk.
Testing for Adrenal Fatigue
It is easy for someone to misdiagnose themselves with Adrenal Fatigue when they may actually have another medical issue. With the rising costs of physician care including lab fees many people are looking toward alternative treatments. This could potentially lead to a medical condition going untreated.
One of the recommendations of Dr. James L. Wilson, author of Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Syndrome, is to have saliva hormone tests taken to determine the initial hormone levels. On his website http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/, Dr. Wilson outlines the need for these hormone tests and includes two laboratories that offer the tests.
Making Dietary Changes for Adrenal Fatigue
Marcelle Pick (OB/GYN) outlines some great strategies in making dietary changes which can support the adrenal glands on http://www.womentowomen.com/. Although this site is tailored to women’s health needs, the same dietary suggestions could be helpful to men. She stresses the importance of having a schedule of meals and snacks.
Eating several small meals per day is a recommended dietary change which is also used for many additional health concerns such as weight loss and type 2 diabetes management. Frequent small meals can help to normalise blood sugar levels while increasing the metabolism. This can result in more energy for people struggling to cope with Adrenal Fatigue.
Often people with Adrenal Fatigue will supplement their daily meals with an abundance of caffeinated products. All sources on this syndrome recommend reducing the quantity of caffeine or replacing it with other beverages.
Creating a Sleep Schedule for Adrenal Recovery
In order for the endocrine system to work at its peak, it is necessary for the body to get adequate sleep. This is a challenge for those with those with Adrenal Fatigue. Often people with this syndrome may feel more awake at night and stay up late cutting into valuable sleep time.
The recommendation for adrenal fatigue sufferers is to get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night on a regular schedule. This allows the adrenal glands to recover. For some, this may mean including a supplement of melatonin which has been shown to have a positive effect on sleep disorders. As with other natural supplements, melatonin can have side effects which should be discussed with a physician.
Another tactic to help the body recover from adrenal fatigue is to take occasional naps during the first few months. This can help to reduce stress levels and provide the body with needed rest giving the adrenal glands additional time to recover.
Dr. Michael Lam offers a variety of ideas for adequate sleep to recover from adrenal fatigue on his website including sticking to a schedule throughout the week and reducing some of the triggers that increase adrenaline.
Fighting Adrenal Fatigue Through Exercise
Exercise is important for good health but can be a problem for Adrenal Fatigue. Intense or excessive exercise should be avoided because it can take away from energy levels that are already depleted. High-energy exercise can give Adrenal Fatigue sufferers a false sense that they feel better while their adrenal glands are in need of rest to recover.
Light exercise is recommended to help reduce stress and boost energy. Exchange intense exercise for a healthier light walk to see the best benefit to adrenal insufficiency.
Herbal Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue
In addition to making changes to sleep patterns and diet, some adrenal fatigue sources recommend a variety of herbal supplements to help the body cope with stress, restore optimum hormone function, and provide natural energy to reduce daytime fatigue.
The levels of supplements can vary depending on the individual’s symptoms and test results. Herbal supplements can have adverse reactions with prescription medicines and other herbal formulas and should be discussed with a primary care physician or an alternative medicine specialist.