If you’ve done some reading on autoimmune disease, you’ve probably heard of adrenal fatigue. Heck, you’re probably familiar with it even if you didn’t know what it was called. Chronically abnormal levels of stress hormones are pretty common nowadays. We’re a busy species, often not sleeping, eating, or exercising in our hurry to get everything done. If you’ve got an autoimmune disease wreaking havoc on any of your other hormones, then your adrenals are almost definitely going to suffer, too. And, unfortunately, wonky adrenals can interfere with your thyroid treatment, making you feel hyperthyroid or hypothyroid even when you’re not. So it’s an important issue to educate yourself about. You may also have been wondering how to treat adrenal fatigue at home, in addition to whatever your doctor may have prescribed.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Insomnia, feeling “wired”
- Fatigue, exhaustion
- Abnormal heart rate, blood pressure, and/or body temperature
- Poor digestion
- Poor stress management
- Frequent illness
- Anxiety, restlessness, mood swings
- Sensitivity to light, noises, and temperature changes
- A dip in blood pressure upon standing
- Craving for salty foods or sweets
As I hinted above, the most effective long-term treatments for adrenal stress are diet and lifestyle changes. Which is good, right? I know we all want to be able to solve all of our problems with a pill, but the reality is that a healthier diet and lifestyle will yield so many more positive results. And fewer negatives.
How to treat adrenal fatigue at home:
- Get some gentle exercise every day, but not within the last five hours before you go to sleep or during times your cortisol is high. Take a walk in the morning or early afternoon, or, if you’re up for it, do some light yoga or mild resistance exercise. Don’t get your heart rate up or exhaust yourself, but do get moving.
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day and try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Do something relaxing in the hour or two before bed, like reading, listening to music, gentle yoga, or talking with loved ones. Try not to toss and turn, even if you’re restless. Unless you have to for medical reasons, don’t eat large meals before bed and avoid stimulating foods like spices and citrus in the evenings. Use your bed only for sleep: If you often read or watch TV in bed, your brain will switch into “entertainment” mode instead of “sleep” mode whenever you crawl under the covers.
- Your circadian rhythm is regulated by your exposure to light. Get plenty of non-burning sunlight exposure during the day, and avoid bright lights after dark.
- Do an elimination diet. I’ve got plenty of autoimmune protocol recipes and resources to get you started, so I won’t go into a lot of depth on that here. Avoid foods your body doesn’t react well to, and especially avoid added sugars, alcohol, and caffeine. Heart palpitations and other adrenal symptoms after eating are a good sign that something you ate sent your stress hormones into overdrive and should be avoided in the future.
My personal experience with adrenal fatigue is still an ongoing saga due to a lifetime of insomnia. As I’ve learned to how to treat adrenal fatigue at home by managing my diet, stress levels, and sleep hygiene, my symptoms have gradually improved. I can sleep like a baby as long as I go to bed and get up at the same time every day, no excuses. My heart palpitations stopped when I quit eating chocolate. I stopped pushing myself to do exercise that made me miserable and took up walking instead. It’s not an easy transition, but it paid off over time. And when pharmaceutical options aren’t available, are too expensive, or have frightening side effects, I’m grateful to have so much I can do at home!
Want to learn more about how to treat adrenal fatigue at home?
Are You Tired and Wired? is one of my favorite books on adrenal fatigue. Learn about the challenges at work and home that contribute to chronic adrenal dysfunction and the diet, lifestyle adjustments, and emotional reprogramming that can help fix it. A healthcare provider with a focus on women’s health, Marcelle Pick will help you identify what type of adrenal dysfunction you suffer from and provide an easy-to-follow, science-based program to help you restore balance to your life.