Not able to fall asleep, despite being tired at the end of the day, is a very common complaint of adrenal fatigue.
This is Dr. Lam, founder of DrLam.com, and today we are going to talk about this phenomona in detail.
Well, let's think it through, what you do during the day. A normal person wakes up during the day, they prepare themselves, they go through their normal daily chores, and your energy level will tend to deplete, usually, by midmorning a little bit, but your body actually rebounds on their own and you don't feel it. Some people take a morning snack to help out.
In the afternoon, the afternoon slump can be experienced between 2-3 o'clock, and that is why an afternoon snack like a little tea, the English people do it quite successfully, can help to rebalance the blood sugar and give the body a little rest instead of dipping into the nutritional reserve.
By the time, the end of the day comes along most people tend to be tired, and they go home, prepare dinner, and rest. That is about the time that the body starts to wind down, and you prepare for your rest in the evening time, after dinner.
Now, most people with adrenal fatigue tend to be tired not necessarily all of the day, but many of them throughout the day. In addition, they do feel tired even when they go home, and by the time 9-10 o'clock comes along, they are ready for sleep. Unfortunately, a large majority of these people don't fall asleep. Even though they are tired, their physiology has been on the go for such a long time, sometimes 12-14 hours throughout the day already. They lie down in bed and cannot fall asleep. This phenomenon is what we call sleep onset insomnia or SOI. The basis for this can be rooted in several physiological factors. If your body is in a state of alert, this is what happens; and usually what happens in adrenal fatigue, then the body will not let you go to sleep.
Well, let's see what actually happens. When your body is in adrenal fatigue, your body's adrenal system is weak and it is trying to slow down to conserve energy. In that process, if this is not attended to and no rest is given to the body throughout the day, then the body automatically activates the alarm response, or the fight or flight response, and this is going through the sympathetic nervous system. The neurotramsitter responsible is norepinephrine, as well as epinephrine to a certain degree.
Epinephrine is also called adrenaline, and epinephrine is the chemical daughter, biologically, of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is created in the brain, and is one of the top cascade neurotransmitters, and when you have a fight or flight response that is activated when the body is in adrenal fatigue, norepinephrine is released from the brain.
Now, the norepinephrine in the brain starts part of it, the HPA axis or the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal axis of hormone balancing. But, in particular, the norepinephrine itself circulates within the brain and causes an alert response. Many street drugs, in fact, use this phenomenon, and that is the whole class of amphetamines and even drugs such as Adderall using this concept. So when this neurotransmitter floods your system and the brain, you are not going to be able to fall asleep because the body does not want you to fall asleep.
So despite that you are really tired and you lay there, you lay there for 30 min, 45 min, 1 hour, and sometimes the heart might be pounding a little bit and no matter how hard you try, the body will not go to sleep until sooner or later, hopefully in the most people you get so tired that even the body will overrule the norepinephrine and then eventually you will fall asleep; but this process can take a long time, and in severe cases you can be awake for hours.
So understanding the concept of SOI or Sleep Onset Insomnia as a symptom of underlying root problems is very important because you don't want to just take sleeping aids, or sleeping medications because that may mask the underlying problem. So commonly, very commonly, SOI, being tired but unable to fall asleep is a critical important sign and symptom of adrenal fatigue.
For more information on this topic, go to my website, I have written an article called 'Sleep and Adrenal Fatigue.' There is another one called 'Biological Rhythms and Adrenal Fatigue' and both are very useful for you to understand what I am talking about here and giving you additional insight and details on how to deal with this problem.