Our adrenal glands, located on top of each kidney, are forced to work overtime in an effort to deal with stress from all sources: injury, disease, work, family, finances, environment, etc.
It’s hard to imagine these small endocrine glands, essentially the size of a walnut are
responsible for the manufacture and secretion of vital hormones such as cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. And cortisol production is crucial for the body to combat stress. If you lived thousands of years ago, the stress was most likely lasted a finite amount of time – you either outran the predator or survived or you were eaten – but nowadays, stress seems to be a part of every day life for so many people.
Although not getting along with a boss or missing a bill payment are not life-threatening, like the saber-toothed tiger, our bodies can't tell the difference. The body starts to feel unsettled. And more and more cortisol is produced because the body believes it needs massive amounts of energy to run for its life. Today, this happens over and over again throughout the day: getting the kids ready for school and getting yourself ready for work, driving in traffic, spilling coffee on your new outfit, your coworker calls in sick and you’ve got to send out 20 packages today, you rush to pick up the kids from school and take them to soccer practice, your late afternoon meeting runs over and so family dinner becomes you eating leftovers alone. And all this is going to happen again tomorrow!
Here’s the problem: chronic stress can overload the adrenal glands to the point of exhaustion. For some, the fatigue will become overwhelming and the adrenals will no longer function properly to provide the energy and resources the body needs on a day-to-day basis. When someone is exhausted, a natural suggestion is to get more sleep. That’s not always easy with adrenal problems because insomnia is a common symptom. There are, however, steps you can take to prepare yourself for sleep, which is certainly one of the best ways to refresh and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.
For better sleep and to heal your adrenal glands:
1) Go to bed at the same time every night by 10pm.
2) Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and sugar in late afternoon/evening (or remove them completely from your diet to avoid any rollercoaster-like blood sugar surges).
3) Keep a gratitude journal near your bedside. Every night, list five things for which you are grateful. Remind yourself that even though you may feel fatigued, there are wonderful aspects of your life and many reasons to heal.