Why Am I So Tired?

October 2015 - Health & Wellness

Do you feel like you’re walking through a fog all day? Tired body, tired mind, tired everything? Do you reach for a caffeine boost but find yourself missing the usual jolt of energy?

Your body really wants to be healthy and balanced; it does everything it can each day to keep you feeling great and energetic. Feeling exhausted and tired is your body telling you that its batteries are running very low.

So, what do we do if our phone’s batteries are running low? We recharge it. What do we do if our body’s batteries are running low? We do the opposite; we look for sugar or caffeine to give us a boost. That would be like opening all of the apps on your phone at once and then wondering why it’s working so much slower and the battery is draining so quickly.

We desperately need to recharge our own batteries and we need to stop draining them as a way to just get through our day.

We are living in a culture of “busy” and I know I’ve fallen into this trap many times myself. It’s the feeling that if I’m busy then I must be productive. And if I’m productive then I’m going to be successful. What if that’s not the case? What if we can be calm, relaxed, and successful? What if we can give our body what it needs to be happy and healthy without adding another item to our overburdened schedule?

It is possible! I know that sounds very hard to believe, but it’s true. And your body needs you to pay attention to the early warning signs of tiredness; otherwise you will start to burn out and your occasional tiredness will become exhaustion, brain fog, and the inability to get through that long to-do list of yours.

It’s your adrenal glands that are getting the workout-small organs that sit on top of your kidneys. They may be small, but they play an enormous role in your everyday health… actually, they’re in charge of your basic survival.

Back before we had our lovely houses, cars, roads, and grocery stores, our life had a regular smattering of physical danger. An animal could be chasing you, you could be desperately hungry and unable to find food, or your tribe could be at war with another tribe.
While these are very different kinds of stresses than our stresses today, our adrenal glands evolved to keep us alive in these old types of danger… and today, they can’t tell the difference between a physical danger and a stressful email or phone call. Our adrenals and body have the same reaction to both.

When you’re under any kind of stress, your adrenal glands set your body up to survive an attack. First, they raise your blood pressure so your muscles get extra nutrients. Then, they raise your blood sugar so your muscles have all the energy they need to fight. And lastly, your adrenals raise your cholesterol just in case you’re injured and you need to clot quickly.

Hmmm… it seems like I’ve just named all of the top health issues we’re dealing with right now. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. Could these issues simply be a problem with chronic stress and a culture that creates stress? The answer is a giant yes. And, we were never meant to live in constant stress so our adrenal glands are getting very tired.

Our adrenal glands show specific symptoms when they’re starting to slow down (think of an engine running out of gas). I have four questions I ask my clients to get a general sense of how their adrenals are doing. This isn’t to diagnose an issue, it’s just to get an idea of what’s going on. To get a proper diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, please visit your friendly neighbourhood naturopath.

Your adrenals are very important to your overall health and will heal if given the opportunity. Every moment you spend in a relaxed state will strengthen your adrenals and recharge your batteries. No matter how busy your life is right now, you deserve a few minutes of relaxation and rejuvenation. Your body will thank you for it.

Adrenal Fatigue Assessment
How Are Your Adrenals Doing? *

  1. How long does it take for you to wake up in the morning, once you’re out of bed and standing? (Longer than 30 minutes is an issue.)
  2. Do you ever feel dizzy when you move from laying down to standing up?
  3. Do you crave salt and salty foods?
  4. Do you ever get a “second wind” late at night around 10 pm?

If you’ve answered yes to all four questions, visit your naturopathic doctor ASAP.

Recharge Your Adrenals
Try these if you answered yes to three or less questions.

  • Find a relaxing activity that you enjoy, and do it every day for at least 15 minutes. Try meditation, walks in nature, laughing, and playing with your kids.
  • Enjoy lots of mineral-dense foods like cooked veggies, bone broth, and fresh-pressed veggie juices. Your adrenals love minerals!
  • Enjoy more sea salt in your food. Salt your food to your taste unless your doctor has recommended otherwise. Your adrenals love sea salt!
  • Supplement with magnesium and a good B complex, your adrenals’ favourite nutrients.
  • Reduce/remove processed sugars, flour, and high amounts of caffeine-these steal nutrients from your adrenals and drain them faster.

*To get a full diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, please visit your friendly neighbourhood naturopath.

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