Are You Constantly Exhausted No Matter How Much Sleep You Get ?
Exhaustion is one of the most common things I see in my practice, especially my female clients, although lately I’ve seen an increase in tired men. It usually comes from stress – the disease of our busy times or what I call “too muchness” – too much to do, too much to eat, too much to look at, too much thinking, too much of everything.
Our lives have gone from simplicity to complexity at a rate we simply can’t keep up with and it’s making us really, really tired. Trying to understand what’s happening to you can be confusing because this kind of exhaustion has so many different faces – one person might become depressed, overweight and lethargic while a different person suffering from the same root cause could lose too much weight, feel anxious and wired. We all react slightly differently to overload.
If you’re feeling constantly exhausted no matter how much sleep you get, or are experiencing any of the following symptoms, keep reading.
– feel constantly exhausted
– have trouble falling or staying asleep
– feel wired and tired
– have difficulty digesting food or feel constipated
– struggle with blood sugar regulation/hypoglycaemia
– crave salt
– have low sex drive
– feel moody, anxious or depressed
– have trouble gaining or losing weight
– experience heart palpitations
– Have brain fog and memory problems
If you answered yes to some or all of those symptoms I’ve got some answers for you.
This topic is near and dear to my heart because just a few years ago I ticked off all of those boxes and then some. My overload was so bad that at 42 my body also shut off the whole notion of reproduction and thrust me face first into early menopause. Yes what a fun, hot and sweaty roller coaster ride that was dear friends. Apparently the combination of being a highly sensitive person, experiencing some biggy life traumas and just way too much doingness tipped my body over the edge of what it could handle. So it went on strike until it got what it wanted. I was a complete wreck, had to stop working and stay in bed for 3 months.
One dark and stormy night, I literally fell onto my tiled bathroom floor while I was brushing my teeth and ended up in hospital. That was my Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF) wake up call as my colleague Kris Carr likes to put it.
We went from Dr to Dr trying to find answers. They prescribed everything from anti depressants to mega doses of hormones all of which did nothing to help and actually made things worse. I was suicidal and growing a moustache, with no clear answers.
Not being one to give up I kept looking until I found the remarkable …drumroll…Dr Lam. This man might as well have been God as far as I was concerned because when he described all of my symptoms to the letter and then gave me a simple, and in retrospect really obvious reason for them – I wept with gratitude. His diagnosis ? Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Which is a fancy way of saying ” hey your body can’t handle the stress any more.”
“ Science has repeatedly demonstrated that when the body has exceeded its predefined capacity to handle any given emotional or physical load, the consequence is internal breakdown.” – Dr Michael Lam. Seems like a no brainer right and yet we constantly ignore the warning signs and continue to push ourselves and engage in high pressure jobs, relationships and situations as if we’re superhuman and don’t need time for proper rest and recuperation. No that would just be lazy right ? Wrong.
So what can you do to start to feel good again and get your energy back ?
Firstly, if you’ve ticked off all those symptoms and are really in a bad way I’d highly recommend seeing an adrenal fatigue specialist to find out if this is the root cause of your fatigue. Navigating the road back to health can be complex and specific to the individual so professional guidance is key. I followed a very specific protocol for several months involving lifestyle, nutrition and supplementation. I now have more energy than I did years ago, sleep soundly and at the first hint of fatigue I know exactly what to do to stay balanced and healthy. Oh and that facial hair ? Gone.
If you’re like a lot of people and are just feeling crappy but still able to function fairly well, here are some simple effective tools you can use right now to start to regain your energy and feel good again.
1. Regulate your breathing
Your breath is the only access point you have to your autonomic nervous system. Use it. You take 960 breathes an hour. Do you want each one to fuel or alleviate your stress ? I have a comprehensive free video available on my website to give you the why and how to breath for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. This is the #1 de-stressing tool you already have so go here to learn how to use it http://soniasommer.com/breathe/
2. Nourish yourself wisely
What you eat profoundly affects your well being. In times of stress, this is amplified. For the time being cut out the 3 main stimulants : coffee/caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. These are like a high interest credit card for your energy – you’ll be paying back later big time. You can read more about 2 other foods to limit for better energy, on my food frenemies blog post here http://soniasommer.com/the-5-food-frenemies/ Focus on eating the good stuff. Lots of veges, green juices, simple well prepared food from conscious producers. And not too much.
3. Detoxify your body
Remember that overload thing we were talking about earlier, well if you’re like most modern people your liver and other detox organs are probably overloaded right now. Try a week long cleanse in the Spring and Fall and use simple detox tools throughout your week like oil pulling http://soniasommer.com/oil-pulling-what-is-it/ , dry skin brushing, drinking lemon juice and taking saunas.
4. De-clutter your mind
Often it’s not our outer circumstances which create stress but rather our internal perspective on them. Habitual negative thoughts and overthinking create destructive emotions and bodily sensations which in turn loop can back around to create more stress in your life. Learn how to clear and strengthen your mind and start to cultivate constructive thoughts and feelings like gratitude and joy. It is one of the best things you will ever do for your health and your well being. There are many resources out there to help you learn how to do this. Here’s a nice easy mind body clearing tool you can use right now http://soniasommer.com/part-2-how-to-spring-clean-your-mind/ Just click on the player at the top of the article to follow along and refresh your mind.
5. Tone down your exercise
If you’re really fatigued be careful not to overdo your exercise. While hard exercise is usually fine, when you’re exhausted it’s a major stress on your adrenals. Don’t be fooled by the temporary high you get immediately afterwards. It will ultimately increase your fatigue. Instead, take a nice walk in nature, try some yoga or Tai Chi. Your body will love the gentler less stimulating movement. Gym junkies and uber athletes don’t freak out this is just for now, until to start to get your energy back again.
6. Prioritize Sleep and Rest
Exhaustion is your body asking for sleep and rest. Make it a priority. Go to bed before 10pm and try to sleep until at least 7am. If you’re having trouble sleeping try the following:
– avoid electronics for at least an hour before bedtime and don’t have them in your bedroom
– eat dinner earlier and then have a small snack like a handful of nuts right before bed
– keep your bedroom dark and noise free. Use earplugs if necessary.
– don’t exercise too late in the day and avoid other overstimulation in the evening
– try taking a small dose of slow release natural melatonin for a couple of nights
– use the breathing technique to down regulate your nervous system at the end of the day
Take as many opportunities as possible to just rest and relax throughout your week. Master the art of doing nothing.
7. Give Yourself a Time Out
If possible, take a break from your busy schedule. Go away for a relaxing weekend or longer to get some perspective. Get real with yourself about what’s working in your life and what’s not. Where is your stress coming from ? Is it your work, your relationships, or your habitual outlook on life ? Then decide to make some changes. It may be hard but the alternative will be worse. Prolonged stress whether from internal or external sources has led you to this point of exhaustion and will continue to erode your health and vitality until you re-prioritize.
Ultimately, it’s all about slowing down. Try to stop doing so much. Be gentle with yourself. Learn to relax and enjoy yourself. Life’s supposed to be good fun so make that a priority not some day, but right now. If you need help getting your body and life back on track schedule a free consultation now or get started immediately with the Feel Awesome Again 21 day online class.
If you think someone might benefit from this information, please share this article with them. And leave a comment in the comments section below. We are all here to help each other and I welcome your ideas and experience.
Relaxing right along with you,