Feeling tired all the time seems to be a given these
days. In fact, studies show that nearly 40% of the US workforce struggles with fatigue
– affecting productivity at work, time with family, the ability to practice self-care,
and much more. From what women tell us, we think the real figure is actually much
higher, making fatigue a modern day epidemic.
And it’s not just our crazy schedules that are draining us. Fast food, over-use
of electronics, sleep deprivation, yo-yo dieting and other physical and psychological
stressors also burden our bodies, making us feel completely exhausted.
These aspects of modern living can, and do, lead to physiologic changes that set
us up for a state known as adrenal imbalance. Your adrenal glands perform
many important jobs — they manage your stress response, help balance blood sugar,
support your sleep-wake cycle and a whole lot more. With adrenal imbalance, your
fatigue is likely to get worse — unless you do something about it.
The root source of fatigue: adrenal imbalance
The adrenal glands and the stress hormone cortisol are intimately connected to circadian
rhythm — the natural clock our bodies follow that sets the patterns for being asleep
and being awake. Cortisol naturally rises in the morning, reaching a peak about
8:00am— 9:00am and then gradually declines throughout the day to prepare your body
for sleep. Yet adrenal fatigue can turn this rhythm on its head, making it impossible
for you to get out of bed in the morning and keeping you wide awake when it’s time
to sleep at night.
The fatigue cycle is intensified by consumption of caffeine and sugar, which quickly
brings energy levels up but then lets them plunge quickly. Caffeine causes your
adrenals to pump out more cortisol and adrenaline, keeping you sharp and awake for
a while. But this takes your body out of its natural rhythm and further depletes
your adrenal reserves. Sugar raises your blood sugar and insulin, setting you up
for an energy crash and subsequent sugar cravings.
Keep in mind there may be other causes contributing to your fatigue, including chronic
inflammation, food allergies and chemical sensitivities, and infectious diseases
such as Lyme disease, among other factors. And fatigue can also result from the
combination of several of these factors. If you aren’t sure what’s behind your fatigue,
it’s a good idea to talk over your symptoms with your doctor.
The effects of fatigue on your health
Unfortunately, women often ignore their increasing fatigue until it leads to other
disruptive symptoms. By that time, the side effects of fatigue may become nearly
constant. They include:
- feeling drained mentally and physically
- inability to bounce back after being sick
- joint pain
- poor short-term memory, confusion, irritability
- food cravings, particularly for sweets/carbs
- weight gain
- a “second wind” after 6:00pm that interferes with your ability to sleep
The long-term effects of adrenal-related fatigue can include disruptions in sex-hormone
balance (making PMS and menopause symptoms even worse) and thyroid-hormone balance
(often leading to hypothyroidism or low thyroid). Constant fatigue can also accelerate
aging, disrupt blood sugar regulation, contribute to chronic disease and hinder
your ability to combat illnesses.
You can get your energy back!
For many conventional doctors the symptom of “fatigue” is too vague to treat. In
fact, many of us are told fatigue is just a normal part of aging, so we rely on
sugar and caffeine to keep going. But these “crutches” can only work for so long
because they worsen adrenal imbalance — and exhaustion. The key to solving ongoing
fatigue is to rebalance your adrenal glands.
We can help you do this naturally with minimal impact on your body. Whether your
fatigue is mild, moderate or severe, our
Adrenal Health Programs can be customized to your symptoms. We also offer
Nurse-Educator consultations and free Wellness Coaching when you need it.
Having more energy and effectively supporting your adrenal glands takes a whole-body
approach and we’ve helped thousands of women feel better. We can help you too.
For more information on our approach to fatigue, see our article on the
Natural cure for your exhaustion.
Ricci, J.A., et al. 2007. Fatigue in the U.S. workforce: prevalence and implications
for lost productive work time. J Occup Environ Med. 49(1): 1-10. URL (abstract):
1 Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” : http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs/about/demographics.htm
A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M., Inc.; c1997-2012.
Chronic fatigue syndrome; [last reviewed 2012 Feb 2012; cited 2012 May 15]. Available
A natural solution
for a better night's sleep