For most adrenal fatigue sufferers, sleep is a common and consistent problem. It’s one of the biggest reasons for the total exhaustion and symptoms that accompanies this obscure and difficult to treat syndrome. Your adrenal glands are like a motor for the body. When your hormone stores in these glands are depleted, your body as a vehicle can’t run.
Sleep is necessary for life. Without adequate, restorative sleep, your body will start shutting down. Something physiologically magical happens when you’re asleep (assuming you have a regular sleeping pattern) – all the glands and “working components” of your body are restored and replenished.
Unfortunately, we’ve taught ourselves as a culture a lack of sleep is good and burning the midnight oil is something that should be rewarded. We tend to see those who get enough sleep as being “lazy” or “unambitious.” But here’s the thing: people who get good sleep are healthier, more productive, and less stressed.
While sleep is sometimes elusive, especially when you’ve got a lot going on like high stress levels or a psychological condition like PTSD, it’s not impossible to reach a level of normalcy. You can train your brain to “shut down” for sleep. You do that by finding different hygienic practices that will help you develop a pattern and routine for sleep.
My Top 10 Tips for Better Sleep
- First and foremost, be gentle with yourself. Sleep doesn’t always come naturally, especially if you’ve been struggling with it for years. Be kind and forgiving.
- Sleep thrives with routine. Create a sleep regimen and do it every night. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, yes, even on the weekends.
- Take a hot shower or bath 30 minutes before bed every night.
- Meditate for 15 minutes before bed each night.
- Stop eating at night, especially carbs. Avoid food two to three hours before you go to bed. The body will keep the mind awake to digest the food.
- Exercise in the morning or at lunch. This will give your body time to come down and relax after raising that heart rate.
- Limit liquid intake an hour or two before bed. Water is immensely helpful when you drink a lot of it throughout the day; however, it can keep you up all night with toe-stubbing bathroom trips in the dark if you are not careful.
- Shut down electronics 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Whatever is on the screen can wait. The lights on the screens activate certain parts of the brain and make you more wakeful. It’s hard to bring the brain down to rest after looking at a screen.
- Create some stress coping techniques. Stress is one of the biggest causes of adrenal fatigue. Limiting stress is about your well-being – it’s not about the person or thing causing the stress.
- Try taking supplements like 5-HTP, GABA, and melatonin (sparingly). GABA is especially good for stress management and sleep.
- Caffeine is always a tough subject. You’re exhausted, so you may feel like you need caffeine, but the truth is, it’s probably doing you more harm than good. Switch to decaf.
- Stay away from sleeping pills. They have serious side effects can lead to dependence. There are better ways to find sleep relief.
There are so many ways you can improve sleep. I urge you to pay close attention to the number 1 tip above: be kind to yourself. More to the point, believe in yourself. You can get better, and you will feel better if you do the work. There is a lot of it, but it’s rewarding work that’ll benefit you. Even if none of these tips work quite right, there are still more ways you can reduce adrenal fatigue symptoms. You never have to do any of this alone. I’m just a phone call or e-mail message away. Get in touch, and let’s find out what you need.