Happy Spring Break Everyone!
I hope you are taking a few days off to rest and relax during Spring Break. I know that some of you may be traveling while others may be enjoying a ‘staycation’ right here in Portland. Either way, I am going to encourage you to get some extra Zzz’s to help improve your adrenal health.
Have you heard of the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome? This is the body’s innate response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival. Let’s say you were camping, and you came upon a bear in the woods. Your body would automatically go into survival mode and would help you do everything in your power to get away from that bear.
Now most of the time we are not hanging out in the woods, but our busy lives can trick our bodies into a frantic position. Our bodies are often reacting as if we were fighting for our lives which is not good for our adrenal health. 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 limited to a finite amount of time – you either outran the predator and survived, or you were eaten – nowadays stress seems to be a constant 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 bear in the woods, 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; you spill coffee on your new suit; your assistant calls in sick and you can’t find the powerpoint file for the presentation; 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 10-10:30 p.m.
Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the “circadian clock.” This helps balance our body’s need for sleep time and wake time. When you wake up at the same time every day, you strengthen the circadian function, which can help you sleep better at night.
2) Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and sugar in late afternoon/evening (or remove them completely from your diet to avoid any roller-coaster-like blood sugar surges). Both of these stimulants can disrupt your sleep cycle.
3) Avoid large meals before bed. Give yourself three hours between your last meal and sleep time. When you eat a large meal your body starts working hard to digest it. That takes a lot of energy. At night, let your body do what it wants to do, calm down so you can sleep.
4) Create your sanctuary. Treat yourself to luxurious bedding, darken the room with proper window treatments, and don’t bring your work to bed (i.e. no devices- no laptops, no iPhones and any other thing you may be tempted to stay up with screen time. Don’t engage in activities that cause you anxiety and may prevent you from sleeping. Your bedroom should be associated with sleep and sex only : )
5) 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.
Give these suggestions a try this week and let me know how it goes!
Now before I go, I want to remind you that the Bliss Detox Spring Fling starts April 7th and many of you have already signed up. I am looking forward to supporting you through this detox. There is still time to sign up and be sure to use the Refinery20 code upon checkout to receive 20% off the price.
In Health and Happiness,