At a time when stress has become an integral part of everyday life, we’ve stopped seeing it as an enemy and started getting used to it. While the accumulated tension or fatigue felt once in a while is not dangerous, the permanent overload of the nervous system may result in its complete exhaustion. What are the signs, and how can you avoid them?
Cortisol production disorders
Nervous exhaustion is a problem faced by increasingly younger people who live rushed, stressed, and under pressure. As a result of constant stress, the body begins to produce the adrenal hormone cortisol, levels of which are regulated by many processes in the body. When we are healthy, adrenal glands raise our cortisol level in the morning, which helps us wake up and lower it in the evening to let us fall asleep. However, if this rhythm is disturbed, i.e., when we feel stress, our brain registers the stressful situation as an emotional, mental, and physical threat. What does this mean? If it’s not an isolated incident and the situation repeats itself, your adrenal glands produce more and more cortisol.
The constant high level of cortisol in the body will eventually result in fatigue and lack of energy. And this is just the beginning of a long list of consequences for our health.
As fatigue becomes more serious, we find it harder to fall asleep, we wake up at night, our sleep is ineffective, and we do not feel refreshed. At some point, we may even get the impression that we are not sleeping at all, and we are as tired upon getting up as if we didn’t get a wink of sleep all night! When you get up, do you feel tired and then have a burst of energy before going to bed? This is one of the most common symptoms of adrenal stress.
It is important to note that levels of cortisol that are too low or too high are both detrimental to the body’s proper functioning. Low levels can make you tire quickly and feel weak. However, too high will not only result in insomnia but also … irritable bowel syndrome! Some people experience low levels of the hormone during the day and high levels at night, preventing them from falling asleep at night and unable to thrive during the day.
The characteristic symptoms of nervous exhaustion are:
– tiring quickly
– inability to focus
– mood swings
– greater irritability
– chronic headaches and muscle pain
– stomach problems
Prolonged exposure to stress has an avalanche of effects on our health and may cause the following issues:
– insomnia and sleep disorders
– anxiety disorders
Treatment of nervous exhaustion
In order to get rid of the unpleasant ailments related to nervous exhaustion, we should first eliminate the strong stressors that led to it. Changing your lifestyle to a calmer one, prioritising your household and work will, in the long run, do much to restore balance to the body. This does not mean, however, that we should not take care of our health on an ad hoc basis. First of all, you should address your need for rest and sleep, which will help the nervous system regenerate faster.
To this end, we should:
– set constant times for going to bed and getting up, even if it means tossing and turning for a time
– trade an ordinary duvet for a weighted, sensory blanket
– remove electronic devices from the bedroom
– introduce rituals of calming down and avoiding stimuli at least one hour before bedtime
In addition, proper supplementation and diet are key. It is important to enrich the diet with foods and supplements high in B vitamins, the lack of which can quickly cause fatigue, insomnia, nervousness, and depression. The B vitamins are also essential for the proper metabolism of the adrenal hormone and carbohydrates. It is also advisable to limit sugar and caffeine consumption, replacing them with nuts, grains, and fruit.