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How Stress Affects Your Sleep

Why You're So Tired but Can't Fall Asleep at Night

We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!

Have you noticed that you're tired in the morning and all day long, but you're so wired at night that you can't sleep? Nurse practitioner Marcelle Pick, author of the new book, Are You Tired and Wired?, has a theory for why you're snoozing and losing.

"When we talk about adrenal fatigue, we're talking about the two glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Without the adrenals we wouldn't live. They're meant to deal with the stress that comes and goes, but in our culture, the stress never goes. It's ongoing, with kids, work, the economy, aging parents, gadgets that we never turn off," Pick explains.

All of this stress causes the adrenals to produce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. "Too much cortisol actually increases inflammation," Pick says. "A lot of adrenal cortisol disregulates your blood sugar, causes hormonal havoc and causes suppression of the immune system." In fact, if you've been dealing with a few stubborn pounds or digestive issues, it could be due to adrenal dysfunction. When the body goes in panic mode due to stress, you store everything — and therefore have trouble losing weight," Pick says.


Find out how to deal with insomnia-causing stress after the break.

So how do we deal with something as abstract seeming as our adrenal glands? Pick says it comes down to changing your lifestyle — and attitude. "You should be taking deep breaths throughout the day. Try yoga or just meditating for two minutes twice a day. Don't stay up too late — listen to the rhythms of your body. Don't be a perfectionist — lay off yourself. Be mindful of food — eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. Cut back on refined carbs, gluten and sugar. Your adrenals will function differently." It's worth a try!

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borellidesign borellidesign 5 years
If you want a little treat sans gluten try these new cookies I whipped up this week!
AidaA AidaA 5 years
That's why I always try to cook from scratch! :-)
amber512 amber512 5 years
That's a good point. The people I know that did it actually switched from regular processed food to gluten-free processed food, slowly moving towards a whole food diet. But I wonder how good they would have felt going whole food first!
testadura67 testadura67 5 years
As far as specifically adrenals go, that I don't know. I think the difference people without celiac's or a gluten intolerance are seeing is that in cutting out gluten, you have to cut out processed foods almost entirely, which are full of empty carbs and refined sugars, and mostly lacking in anything beneficial. It forces you to cook more at home and eat more produce. I'm gluten intolerant and several of my friends have seen the difference cutting it out made for me, and have considered cutting it out themselves. I always recommend they first just cut out most processed foods to see if they get the results they want. Honestly, most of them never stuck to it long enough to find out, but I think that would be a better choice then gluten free. Mainly because when you cut out gluten, you're also cutting out a lot of whole grains that carry vital nutrients, so you have to find new ways to get them in your diet. Before any major diet change though, I'd recommend doing a detox so you have a starting point to be able to tell how much the new diet is helping you.
amber512 amber512 5 years
A lot of people have problems with gluten and don't even realize it. I don't think it affects everyone necessarily, but I know a lot of people who felt way better after cutting it out, so IMO it's worth a try. Personally I'm very intolerant, so I don't really have a choice!
smart-blonde smart-blonde 5 years
I'm curious about the recommendation to cut back on gluten. If I don't have celiac or any other kind of gluten intolerance, how would gluten affect me (and more specifically, my adrenals) differently?
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