The “fight or flight” syndrome – you’ve heard of it,
right? Accompanied with the image of the saber-toothed tiger dashing
after a hunter, getting ready to attack. You often get into this situation,
don’t you? In modern times, we’re not literally in that frantic position,
but our bodies are often reacting as if we were fighting for our lives. 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, responsible for the manufacture and secretion of vital hormones
such as cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. The cortisol production is
crucial for the body to combat stress. Whereas thousands of years ago
the stress was a finite amount of time – you either outran the predator or
survived or you were eaten – nowadays, stress seems to be a state of
being 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 react to the
stressors in a similar fashion. The body starts to feel unsettled. More and
more cortisol is produced because the body believes it needs massive
amounts of energy to run for its life. This happens over and over again
throughout the day: getting the kids ready for school and getting yourself
ready for work, traffic, spilling coffee on your new suit, your assistant calls
in sick and you’ve got to send out 20 packages today, the babysitter is
late picking up the kids from school and taking them to soccer practice, your
late afternoon meeting runs over and you leave the office late 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 between 10-10:30pm.
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.
More info on how to stay Healthy? Grab your free copy of 5 Steps for Optimal Health here.