| Adrenal Fatigue - A Common and Curable Source of Insomnia|
Sleeping problems are epidemic in our society. Just watch late night television and count the commercials for the latest and greatest insomnia medications. Do you think those medications actually address the cause of the problem?
The biggest problem with insomnia medications is the heavy side effects that they carry. Don't believe me? Just take a look at the fine print in an insomnia ad appearing in a magazine. You will notice that they have to buy an extra page of ad space just to list all of the side effects. Does that sound like something that should be taken long term or at all?
If you suffer from insomnia you need to find a doctor that is going to explore the causative reasons and ask the question why? Why can't you fall asleep? Why can't you stay asleep? Or why can't you sleep altogether? It is only when the actual mechanism for your problem is discovered, that you can get a real, lasting, solution to your insomnia. An easy way to judge how well your doctor is doing with your insomnia, is to consider how hard he is working to uncover the source of your problem. Did you mention your difficulty sleeping and immediately get a prescription for an insomnia medication? Do you think they really tried to uncover the reason why? Does it make sense to take a potentially harmful medication, loaded full of side effects, when there may be an actual solution to your problem?
In a large number of insomnia cases, the underlying problem is directly related to blood sugar imbalances, in particular to adrenal function. The adrenal glands are two small glands located above the kidney, which secrete hormones that help the body stabilize blood sugar. The main hormone secreted that is related to blood sugar is cortisol.
If you have adrenal hyper function, you will experience an inability to fall asleep. With adrenal fatigue, the symptom is exactly opposite; you can fall asleep, but can't stay asleep. In both scenarios, adrenal hyper function and adrenal fatigue, if the adrenal dysfunction is not dealt with directly, then you will continue to suffer with insomnia.
With adrenal fatigue, your body does not produce enough cortisol to keep blood sugar levels steady as you go through your nightly fast (we all go through a typical 8-10 hour fast when we sleep). As blood sugar levels start to drop during the middle of the night, normally your adrenal glands secrete cortisol to help push blood sugar levels back up. That is normal. That is what's supposed to happen. If your glands cannot produce enough cortisol to keep your blood sugar levels maintained, you will shift to a backup system, which is the release of epinephrine and nor epinephrine. These hormones are Central Nervous System stimulants and will wake you up. This is why you may seem to wake up, wide awake, at the same time every night.
The adrenal hyper function patient, has higher than normal cortisol levels at bed time. This will keep you from falling asleep, because higher than normal cortisol levels as you are trying to fall asleep, will prevent you from falling into a normal sleep pattern. In either case it is important to look at all the factors that contribute to adrenal fatigue and hyper activity. An insomnia medication will never fix the core problem in this example. This very scenario I just described to you is very common. There are many factors that must be considered including circadian rhythm of cortisol release, lifestyle factors, emotional stress, food sensitivities, among other things. There is no one size fits all treatment for this syndrome but you can have success and conquer your insomnia if you find a doctor who takes a comprehensive, all natural, big picture approach, to this modern day plague called Adrenal Stress Syndrome.
As a matter of caution, if your doctor immediately wants to prescribe cortisol replacement, I would consider getting a second opinion if I were you. This is not a simple matter of replacing low cortisol, in fact is may further prevent your body from producing your own cortisol. All mechanisms must be considered, and a comprehensive approach that restores function and feedback loops is the only way to make lasting change, and restore proper sleep patterns. Remember always ask, "why is this happening?" Work with a doctor who is willing to work hard for you.