Do you suffer from a lack of energy or fatigue, midday?
Then you are you a member of the 3 o’clock energy slump club! Is an afternoon caffeine boost something you can’t make it through the day without? Maybe you work at home and naps are a part of your routine. Not the leisurely day, pamper yourself kind of nap. Yours are more naps of necessity. The “if I don’t lay down, I’ll fall down” kinds of naps. This club has many members! So many that it’s easy to accept membership as normal. After all, we’re all busy! Who wouldn’t be tired?
The reality is, it’s not normal. Just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s normal! Of course things like working long hours, kids, waking up early to fit in a workout, and even the drive to work all play a part in our lack of energy. We’re built to adapt to stress. Unfortunately we aren’t ideally built to handle all the daily stresses modern life has brought us. We were made more for that “quick burst” of running from a bear or chasing down dinner.
It’s about overworked adrenal glands
Our adrenal glands pump out adrenaline in response to stress. They were built to give you that needed burst of energy when running from a bear or hunting your meals. These short events would be followed by longer periods of rest and relaxation for your adrenal glands. Those longer periods are when your body can work on restoring and repairing itself. The combination of short bursts of heavy stress and then longer relaxing periods are what keep you in balance and keep your body functioning properly. In this day and age we face chronic high stress. This puts a heavy load on your adrenal glands. They put out a good effort at first, pumping out more and more cortisol to keep you going.
Eventually our adrenals can’t keep up with the demand and our cortisol production lowers. Our cortisol production is highest in the morning and then taper’s down to it’s lowest at night, so you can sleep. This is our natural rhythm. Depending on the stage of adrenal dysfunction, some people will still feel pretty good in the morning. If not addressed that morning energy will eventually be affected too. Mid-day is a very common time for low energy or fatigue to set in.
Why grabbing coffee is a bad idea!
People self medicate with things like coffee, sugar and energy drinks. Though they may seem to help, it’s a temporary solution and ultimately these “fixes” put an even greater load on your adrenals. Your adrenal glands are also responsible for the sex hormones. Your body wants to keep all those vitally important hormones in balance, but when under chronic stress it gets stuck in survival mode. Trying to keep up with the demand for cortisol means tossing hormone balance out the window. Poor sleep, poor mood, trouble focusing, low energy, low libido and much worse are all a result. What can you do?
Here are a few tips you can start right away
- Go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time every day. (Ideally without an alarm) There is a rhythm to our body and our cortisol levels. Being in bed by 10pm is best for optimal health.
- Stop reaching for caffeine, sugar and energy drinks. They will ultimately make the problem worse.
- Don’t over-exercise.
- Don’t eat late at night. Your body needs a break from digesting in order to repair and perform other functions.
- Do an adrenal stress test. The results will tell you if you do have adrenal dysfunction and how severe.
The test that FDN trained functional health coaches use also gives us information on many of your other hormones as well. This information allows us to provide the appropriate support and tools, not only for relief but recovery as well.
What’s the difference between a traditional medicine’s approach and a functional approach? Traditional medicine looks to treat a symptom, or a test result. “You’re low on testosterone…here’s some testosterone.” A functional approach asks the question “Why are you low on testosterone?” and seeks to correct the underlying cause and restore normal function.
Want help overcoming the 3 o’clock energy slump? Check out our Practitioners page to find a trained FDN Functional Health Coach!