If you always seem to feel exhausted, you’re not alone. Frequent fatigue is a common complaint of adults, even otherwise healthy ones. And it can negatively impact every area of our lives, from our social life to our time at work.
Common causes of frequently feeling tired include the obvious, like not getting enough sleep or eating the right foods, to more serious issues like sleep apnea and anemia. But if none of those issues apply to you, the reason you’re tired could be surprising.
First, rule out the obvious
It goes without saying that your day-to-day habits have a huge effect on how tired you feel. Everyone’s specific sleep needs are different, but there are some easy ways to figure out how much sleep you need. Drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular moderate exercise can help you feel more alert.
But if you’re treating your body well and you still feel exhausted all the time, the answer could be lying in your adrenal glands.
What are adrenal glands?
Your adrenal glands are located just above your kidneys in your middle back area. They play a vital role in keeping you healthy. They play a huge part in producing the hormones that you need, especially during times of stress. When your adrenal glands become overworked, or fatigued, it becomes difficult for them to make the hormones that regulate stress, sex, and other neurotransmitters.
Adrenal fatigue is a major cause of chronic tiredness in adults that is easy to overlook.
The causes of adrenal fatigue
“Adrenal fatigue” is actually a term that isn’t an officially accepted medical diagnosis, although it does show up in numerous health books. It is caused by inadequate production of one or more of the hormones essential to life, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
The number one cause of adrenal fatigue? Emotional stress, something the vast majority of us endure by adulthood. If you’ve never found healthy ways to deal with your stress or trauma, your adrenal glands could pay the price. Other causes include poor diet, chronic disease, and insufficient sleep.
The most common symptoms
The most frequent symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- High levels of fatigue every day
- Inability to handle stress
- Difficulty getting up in the morning, even after a good night’s rest
- Cravings for salty foods
- A weak immune system
- Higher energy levels in the evening
- Overuse of caffeine
Since these symptoms also apply to a host of other illnesses, adrenal fatigue can be difficult to diagnose. But once you have pinpointed the problem, you can work on a solution.
Lesser known symptoms
There are actually four stages of adrenal fatigue. Luckily, it’s rare for it to reach stages three and four, and most people can fully recover from stages one and two. But if left untreated, there are some lesser known (and scarier) symptoms:
- Asthma and other respiratory issues
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Dry skin
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
- Extreme exhaustion after exercise
- Low blood sugar
If you think there’s a chance you might have adrenal fatigue, see a doctor or naturopath right away for recommendations on treatment.
Treatment for adrenal fatigue
Once you’ve identified your adrenal fatigue with the help of a medical professional, you can begin a treatment plan.
When recovering from adrenal fatigue, the following things are very important:
- Go to bed earlier.
- Clean up your diet.
- Flood your adrenals with B vitamins.
- Stay hydrated.
- Prioritize your plans.
If your adrenal fatigue has reached stage 3, Hydrocortisone may be necessary. This can help reverse the negative symptoms and improve the quality of your daily life.
How to prevent adrenal fatigue
The number one way to keep your adrenal glands happy is to practice good stress management. Whether that means incorporating yoga and meditation into your life, leaving a stressful job, or cutting out toxic people, keeping your stress levels manageable is a great way to keep your hormone levels healthy.
Other prevention tips include getting plenty of Vitamin C or talking to a medical professional about Ayurvedic herbs like Withania. Withania (also known as Ashwagandha) alleviates anxiety and promotes better sleep.