As I have mentioned a few times before, sleep patterns is one of the first questions I ask my new patients who come to me with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Generally, 9 times out of 10, my patients are not sleeping enough, and when they do sleep, the quality is extremely poor. Sleeplessness is usually an integral part of these conditions, so it comes as no surprise that it also plays a role in adrenal fatigue syndrome.
Adrenal fatigue is very often mistaken for other conditions, including CFS and fibromyalgia, because the symptoms are so similar. It affects not only fatigue and mentality, but causes physical problems as well such as asthma, frequent infections, skin rashes, colitis, ulcers, headaches, and insomnia.
Cortisol plays a major role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, or the circadian rhythm, so when it is being continuously excreted in high amounts to cope with stress, or is depleted, it negatively affects sleep.
In healthy people, cortisol usually spikes high in the morning upon waking up, but then tapers off throughout the day, dropping off significantly by 11 p.m. or so, when it’s time to shut down and get some sleep. Cortisol can fluctuate dramatically throughout the day depending on situations, especially when the normal circadian rhythm is altered. This happens a lot with air travel (jet lag), work shift changes, or sleeplessness caused by stress or pain. Not surprisingly, many patients claim that their symptoms started when they moved to a late night shift, staying up too late for too many nights in a row, or at the birth of a newborn baby.
Establishing normal sleep cycles is essential to overall well-being and to repairing adrenal fatigue. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, is extremely important, albeit difficult especially if you have spent years with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia.
Most of my patients with CFS and fibromyalgia find that their energy or behavior is mixed up. They wake up extremely tired, but then are wired by the end of the night. It’s easy to turn to stimulants like caffeine to try to stay awake during the day, but the problem is that these stimulants put a lot of stress on the adrenal glands. Many even use dangerous adrenal-zapping drugs like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Wellbutrin to try to stay awake and combat daytime symptoms.
Doing this will usually give you a second wind at the end of the night, so that you are wide awake and cleaning the house at 1 a.m., or surfing the net for a new patio set. This is disastrous to both normal circadian rhythms and overall health.
Lack of sleep is a vicious cycle that will lead to more stress the next day, further depleting stress-coping hormones and ultimately leading to poor health and more frequent disease flare-ups.
There are several ways to fix your sleeping patterns before adrenal fatigue gets to be a problem. Even if it is a current problem, there are ways to help it. First and foremost, I have worked for over a decade to help develop and create a special adrenal formula that will help restore your adrenals to normal functioning, so this would be a good place to start; however, that will not do you any good if you are not sleeping!
First thing is first when it comes to restoring sleep: Make a schedule and stick to it. Try everything you can to be on a sleep-wake cycle that is somewhere around the 8 a.m. wake-up time and 11 p.m. bedtime. This is important because cortisol is naturally released and suppressed at these times of day, no matter what.
Healthy eating habits play a huge role in overall functioning, so removing stimulants and processed food from your diet will be essential. Make sure you are getting some form of exercise daily, which will help your body stay active and fluid. Yoga is a good choice, and so is walking or biking. Also, stay away from electronics at least two hours before bedtime. Screen time and high wattage lights stimulant the eyes to send messages to the brain to “keep going.”
Find the regimen that works best for you!
Not everyone will be able to tolerate special herbs, certain exercises, or even an 8 and 11 sleep schedule. The idea is to find the things that help you the best. For example, a patient of mine found that exercising after lunch affected her energy throughout the day, but if she exercised in the morning after taking her adrenal supplement, she was better able to wind down at the end of the day, so long as she also stayed of the computer and meditated or read. Some people like to take a lavender oil bath in a low-lit bathroom an hour before bed, or burn special incense to help them relax while winding down the day.
Your health is more important than your to-do list, because the to-do list becomes obsolete when you can’t function properly. The path to recovery, especially for those with chronic pain syndromes, is going to be long, so you may as well start with a good night’s sleep.
Getting consistent deep restorative sleep, then fixing any adrenal fatigue issues must be you first steps for reversing your fibromyalgia.
Learn more about these two critical issues during Saturday’s special webinar.
Finding and Fixing The Causes of Fibromyalgia
Register for free webinar at www.endfibronow.com
* If you’ve already registered for past teleconferences, there is no need to reregister for this event-the webinar log on information will automatically be sent to you.
Questions? Call the clinic we love to help- 205-879-2383