Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Did you know that sleep problems can be one of several adrenal fatigue symptoms?  Perhaps it's your hormones that are causing your sleep disruptions or inability to fall asleep. The adrenal glands play an important role in how well we sleep, the maintenance of our energy levels and in the ability to handle stress. 

I came across Dr. James Wilson's book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome several years ago when a family member was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Although it was written in 2001 many of the topics and treatments are unchanged.

While most medical facilities recognize the more extreme adrenal disorders like Cushing's Syndrome and Addison's Disease, few medical doctors are aware of this hormone deficiency that falls in the middle.

What Are Adrenal Glands?

The adrenals are glands that sit on top of each kidney and are about the size of a walnut.  Dr. Wilson describes their role this way:

"It is their job to enable your body to deal with stress from every possible source, ranging from injury and disease to work and relationship problems.  Your resiliency, energy, endurance and your very life all depend on their proper functioning."

The adrenal glands are the producers of stress hormones. When a person experiences a sudden crisis or long term stresss, the adrenal glands continuously produce cortisol resulting in over-worked glands that no longer respond or function normally.

Hypoadrenia

Another name for this hormone disorder is hypoadrenia - which simply means - low in adrenals.  Dr. Wilson reports "that up to 80% of adult Americans suffer some level of adrenal fatigue at some time during their life."  

A person's hypoadrenia  can be mild, moderate or severe.  This syndrome is a combination of signs and symptoms that can vary from person to person. 


How do you know if you have hypoadrenia?  Your cortisol levels can be tested by taking a saliva test.  My doctor's office ordered the test and then provided the saliva kit for me.

At four different times in one day, I needed to spit into the tubes - before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner and before bedtime. Cortisol levels will vary and there are natural spikes and drops in a 24 hour period. Follow the instructions for your kit - but most require that you wash your hands and rinse your mouth before collecting. Do not eat, brush or floss your teeth 30" prior to spitting in the tubes. My first tube had to be collected 30 minutes after awakening.

After the saliva is collected, the tubes are to be stored in the freezer until they are mailed to the lab.

Your health professional will get the lab results and share them with you along with recommendations for lifestyle, diet and supplements. 

The saliva test that was ordered for me also included testing for other hormones, like estrogen and progesterone.   Again based on the results recommendations were made to normalize these hormone levels.

Hormones and Sleep

Some of the ways this disorder affects sleep are:

1.  Feel tired even after a full night's sleep

2.  Difficulty getting up in the morning

3.   Frequently experience insomnia or difficulty sleeping

4.  Trouble winding down and falling asleep

5.   Wake up too early and unable to fall back to sleep

6.   Lack of energy during the day

Besides affecting one's sleep, a person will also find that they are more irritable and unable to to handle stress as well as they used to. They may feel more anxious or overwhelmed. There are many different causes of this hormone imbalance, such as food allergies, extreme exercise, and a a non-stop schedule.  Ask your health practitioner about a saliva test that will test your adrenal secretions at four different times throughout a 24 hour period. 

The supplements that I take to help with stress and to support my adrenals are the ones that have been developed by Dr. Wilson - Adrenal C Formula, Adrenal Rebuilder and Super Adrenal Stress Forumula.  My problem later in life was falling asleep and being wound up at night. I found that as bed time approaches I am much more relaxed and getting that "sleepy" feeling back which means most of the time I now fall asleep quickly. They can be purchased on-line at Amazon here:

Doctor Wilson's Adrenal Rebuilder, Adrenal C and Super Adrenal Stress Formula 150 Capsules Combo

Awareness of how hormones can affect one's sleep can be the beginning of a new journey towards health and a well rested body.


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