The Importance of Sleep for Adrenal Health

The Importance of Sleep for Adrenal Health

If you have adrenal fatigue like me, or know someone who does, getting up before 9 a.m. can often be painful. As far back as high school I joked about not being “a morning person”. Staying up late at night was easy for me, but mornings were so bad that in college I scheduled all classes after 2 p.m. Seriously, I did.  I would be a zombie until around noon. People thought I was lazy, I thought I was lazy. But my brain just didn’t function in the morning, so I did what my body was telling. And you know, my body was pretty darn smart, thank you.

Even as a adult it was painful to wake up before 9 AM. I admired early-risers and longed to be one, having a strange idea that morning people are good people. Only the lure of coffee would pull me from the comatose state of sleep.  The idea of waking up at 6 a.m. actually made me panic. If I woke up before 9 a.m., I could easily drink two cups of coffee and go right back to sleep for hours.  Curiously though, if I slept until about 9 a.m. I could pop right out of bed awake and alert.  This always seemed odd, but apparently, there are lots of people out there like me!

Anyone who has chronic illness will understand you lead a secret life, arranging your business hours around rest opportunities and finding excuses for missing social events – Lynne Farrow, author The Iodine Crisis

Then I started learning about Adrenal Fatigue and how cortisol runs our body clock. So my sleep pattern wasn’t a matter of choice after all. What a revelation! According to James L. Wilson, Ph.D, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, though most people’s schedules do not allow it, it helps to sleep until 8:30 or 9 in the morning.

Wilson also writes, for people with normal functioning adrenals, cortisol rises rapidly between 6-8 am, which helps them to pop out of bed.  (And explains why some people can’t sleep past a certain time.)  Further, there is something magical about the restorative power of sleep between 7-9 a.m. for people with Adrenal Fatigue. Partly, he says, because cortisol levels rise slower in people with adrenal fatigue, and when cortisol levels are lower it takes longer to feel fully awake. Wilson also explains that with adrenal fatigue, when you sleep may be more important than how much you sleep.

Finally something that made sense after all these years!  After getting treatment for Adrenal Fatigue, my Cortisol levels have become more normal, so waking up is much easier. In fact, I can get up at 7:45 a.m and actually function these days. But given the chance, I sleep late without guilt, knowing it will help me tackle the day with energy. Brilliant.


Miss LizzyThe Importance of Sleep for Adrenal Health