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Recently I went through a few months of some significant stress (compilation of caring for my aging mother in-law and the rest of my family, changing hormones, and just the general day to day of life). It left me struggling in a major way with insomnia (as in 4-5 hours of sleep/night) and the resultant tiredness and difficulty functioning. I had several weeks of the lack of sleep and it seemed like I was settling into a new pattern that was not conducive to good health. Then I visited my chiropractor who also does muscle testing and he checked my adrenal glands and informed me that things were not good.
I know the implications of adrenal stress and I do not want to go down that road. Adrenal fatigue is a very common side effect of stress. Some oft hes symptoms include the following:
- recurrent infections
- low blood pressure upon standing
If you don’t deal with adrenal stress early on it will get worse and can go from adrenal fatigue to adrenal failure. If you end up on hormones for adrenal health most people do not get off of them again.
I spoke with my naturopathic friend Liz Moore of Living By Nutrition and she gave me some great suggestions.
1) Switch to the multi-vitamin Optimal Multivitamin from Seeking Health. I take 4/day. It is made from organic fruits and vegetables and greens and has bioflavonoids, amino acids, and enzymes.
2) I switched to the Seeking Health B Complex Plus. There is no junk in these. Here is the breakdown of B Vitamins in 1 capsule: Thiamine 15mg, Riboflavin 17mg, Niacin 200mg, B6 20mg, Folate 400mcg, B12 6mcg, Biotin 300mcg, Pantothenic Acid 100mg, Inositol 40mg, Choline 25mg, para-aminobenzoic acid 25mg
3) Magnesium Maleate – I have been taking 1 magnesium daily for some months now and then using my magnesium cream before bed. But during my time of high stress and adrenal fatigue I had a sharp increase in my restless leg syndrome, which can be a sign of low magnesium. Magnesium gets depleted when one is under a lot of stress. So I upped my magnesium to 6-8/day, used extra magnesium cream and also would take magnesium cell salts when I woke up during the night.
4) Vitamin C – Vitamin C depletes very quickly in the face of adrenal fatigue and large doses of C can make a real difference. I ended up taking 5-6,000 mg daily for awhile. The important thing is to not take more than bowel tolerance. Too much C can bring loose bowels so pay attention to that part of your body. If you hit the level of tolerance than back off 500 mg and stay with that. The added benefit is the C will protect you from other things too, like colds and flu. I don’t take anything special for Vitamin C. I just make sure I have bioflavonoids in mine and I tend to go with a timed release C.
5) Min-Chex – I have mixed feelings about Standard Process, a supplement recommended by my chiropractor. It helped me and I used it temporarily until things settled down, but I am not comfortable with the ingredients long term. Standard Process uses the organs of animals to make most supplements and this contains cow liver, pig stomach, cow and pig spleen, pig brain and more. Even though they are very careful about where they source these organs from (target=”_blank”>see their official statement) I don’t like putting animals hormones and organs into my body. They also uses wheat germ in most things. Thus those who are GF cannot use most of them. Min-Chex does have wheat germ in.
I did use the product for about 3 weeks and I think it is the main reason it kicked me out of the sleeplessness and anxiety I was stuck in. At the same time after about 2 weeks of use I started the regimen I detailed above and I was able to get off Min-Chex again and yet still be sleeping and back to a more stable condition. I would use it again but I consider it an option for temporary use only.
6) Stress Relief Tea – I make and sell a blend of herbs that help with stress management. I drank a cup of my tea for about a week in the evening which helped to relax me as well. Since I am doing well now I am not doing this anymore as I don’t usually feel like having tea in the evening, but if I desired a cup I would have one.
7) Epsom Salt Baths – This was another recommendation from my naturopath. I only did 1 of these because I am not much of a bath person. But I know epsom salts are great for detoxing, for getting more magnesium into your system, and for relaxing. So I still recommend that for those who enjoy a good bath. It is a significant way to destress. I just buy my epsom salts at Walmart, but Amazon has many choices.
1) Prayer – Don’t underestimate this intevention. I saw things really turn for the better in a significant way when I asked for prayer from a larger number of friends and family. See my article on prayer and healing for more of my thoughts on this topic.
2) Regular Bedtime Routine – Over and over I read that if you have trouble with insomnia you need to establish a consistent bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time and do the same things before bed. I already do have a consistent routine although my bedtime is not consistent. Lately I have tried harder to keep the time more consistent and it does seem to be a good thing.
3) Healthy Diet – Sugar and caffeine are two offending dietary additions that can contribute to adrenal fatigue. I eat a whole foods diet with a small amount of sugar and almost no processed foods. I continued to work at this to make sure I was having good choices when I put food in my mouth.
4) Problem Solving to reduce the stress level – In my case the straw the broke the camel’s back was getting up every night with my elderly mother in law to help her with the bathroom. After a week of vacation when she was at the nursing home I realized she could go all night without needing to get up, so we switched things around. Now she is sleeping most of the night and she is not needing me to come down to care for her. So I am not having my sleep interrupted on a regular basis.
Sometimes you can’t lessen the stress but other times you can ask for help from others or brainstorm with those close to you to figure out a way to cut back the stress in your life.
5) Regular Exercise – I had been walking my dog every morning but once I was not sleeping well I was staying in bed longer and missing my walking time. When I realized that I was not getting regular exercise I started prioritizing that walk every day, even if it had to happen in the middle of the afternoon. Exercise is important for dealing with stress and insomnia and some way to get it in every day is worth fighting for. If it is outside that is even more of a plus in order to get Vitamin D which also contributes to better overall health.
6) Stay in bed longer in the morning. I was told by my naturopath that the adrenals recharge between 7 and 9AM in the morning. So if I was not sleeping at night I tried to sleep in the morning some. It did mess up my day but since I am a stay at home mom who is homeschooling I have some flexibility.
So what is your story? If you have found something helpful to prevent or deal with stress please share below in the comments. I would love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: I am not giving medical advice in this post as I am not an MD. I am merely offering my own experience for your consideration. Please make your own decisions about what is best for your health and your body.
For more infor: http://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue_and_sleep.asp
How to test for Adrenal Fatigue at Mommypotamus
Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Natural Family Friday.
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