Do you ever feel so tired you can hardly keep your eyes open, but then have trouble falling asleep after you crawl into bed?
And after you finally get to sleep, do you often wake up in the middle of the night and find it nearly impossible to get back to sleep?
During the day, do you feel the need to constantly recharge with another cup of coffee to help keep your energy up from hour to hour?
If these dilemmas sound familiar, you’re likely suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Too exhausted to sleep
When erratic sleep defines your nights, and your days are paced with hectic stress, this can trigger a vicious cycle of adrenal fatigue.
But the term “fatigue” isn’t really a good fit. Your adrenal glands aren’t deflating. In fact, just the opposite. They’re running in overdrive to help your body cope with the demands of physical and emotional stressors.
When this happens, the adrenals produce excess cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones. And it’s this boosted hormonal activity that makes you feel like you’re running on fumes.
And the irony? You actually become too exhausted to sleep.
This is when the coffee pot gets a serious workout — morning, noon, and night. And when mealtime comes, inevitably you crave carbs in the form of “comfort food.” Because above all, you need comfort, but it’s just out of reach.
If this scenario sounds a little too familiar, it’s time to ask your doctor to test for adrenal fatigue. This can be done with a blood screening that checks the levels of two hormones: DHEA-sulfate (DHEA-s) and cortisol.
If those levels are outside their “safe zone,” that’s a red flag warning that you need to take steps to get off the frantic adrenal fatigue merry-go-round.
Getting your levels just right
Determining ideal levels of DHEA-s and cortisol is an issue that Dr. Fred Pescatore puts special emphasis on in his Perfect Sleep Protocol. That’s because adrenal gland burnout is the first thing he suspects when his patients experience chronic sleep problems.
Starting with DHEA-s, Dr. Pescatore explains that your levels decrease naturally over time, so your age range is a key factor when interpreting test results. Gender is another variable since men generally have higher levels of this hormone.
And he adds: “The ranges that most labs use to assess results are inadequate at best. Generally speaking, I think that minimum levels of DHEA-s should fall around 400 for men and 300 for women. That number will vary if you’re very young or very old. But it’s a good ballpark number to shoot for otherwise.”
As for cortisol, Dr. Pescatore notes that problems occur when levels are too low (less than 10) or too high (greater than 20). “If it’s too high,” he says, “your adrenals are still functional enough to produce cortisol. This points to a more moderate level of adrenal fatigue.
“If they’re too low? Well, that means your adrenals are starting to cease functioning at all. Obviously, that’s the bigger of the two problems — though both results warrant further investigation.”
Three steps to end fatigue
Dr. Pescatore notes that if your cortisol and fasting DHEA-s levels are both off, adrenal fatigue is “a given,” requiring immediate action.
He points to stress management as a primary issue because your adrenal system is responsible for every one of your body’s stress responses.
“These hormones,” he says, “regulate the way your body stores and produces energy. They modulate your immune system, your heart rate, your muscle tone, and other biological components of the stress response.”
To begin stress management, he recommends three important steps:
- Exercise daily.
- Reduce your intake of highly processed foods — especially “fast” foods and anything that contains added sugars.
- Fill your diet with fresh whole foods — fruits, vegetables, and high-quality fats and protein.
These are the three habits that will get your adrenal glands back in the functional zone where their work supports you rather than drags you down.
In addition, Dr. Pescatore recommends several supplements that will significantly help modulate your hormones to help you reach that calm, even keel that makes your days more productive and your nights much more restful.
To learn more about Dr. Pescatore’s Perfect Sleep Protocol, or to enroll today, simply click here.