Restoring Adrenal Health Through This Simple Habit
With our 24 hour lifestyles and dependence on caffeine, sleep disturbances are common, especially among older adults. Treatment options for sleep disturbances are limited, and many people with trouble sleeping do not receive treatment. Research conducted at the University of Southern California shows that mindfulness awareness practices (MAP) may be able to improve sleep, which is essential in restoring adrenal health.
During 2012, researchers conducted a clinical trial of two groups of individuals, aged 55 and older, each of whom experienced moderate to severe sleep disturbance. The individuals were randomly divided into two groups. One group of 24 participants received MAPs intervention, while the remaining 25 participants received sleep hygiene education (SHE) intervention. Each of the groups received 2 hours of intervention each week for six weeks and completed assigned homework.
The study was designed to determine whether there was a difference between the two groups as measured by the PSQI after the six-week intervention. The study also measured secondary outcomes, including daytime impairment, including measures of insomnia, fatigue, depression, stress, anxiety, and inflammation both before and after intervention.
Both groups showed some improvement between pre- and post-intervention, but those who received the MAPs intervention showed significantly greater improvement compared to the SHE group, particularly on secondary outcomes.
Mindfulness meditation is simple, but not always easy. It involves focusing the attention on the breath, and may include repeating a calming word or phrase, or focusing on an object, such as a candle. When thoughts intrude, they are observed without judgement or engagement, and the attention is brought back to the breath. It is one of many ways of triggering a relaxation response, which is essentially the opposite of a stress response. For many people, sleep disturbances can be directly traced to stress, so anything that effectively reduces stress should improve sleep and aid in restoring adrenal health.
Researchers concluded that making MAPs intervention accessible could help improve sleep quality in the short term. The effects seems to carry over into improving improving quality of life by reducing daytime impairment that can be caused by impaired sleep.
It’s estimated that half of all adults over the age of 55 have some degree of sleep disturbance. People with disturbed sleep have higher levels of daytime fatigue, higher incidence of depression and other mood disturbances, and a lower quality of life than those who get enough good quality sleep every night.
Other studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can actually rewire the brain, improving the way in which it functions. While the study focused on older adults, younger adults could also benefit from the findings.
Dr Lam’s Perspective on Restoring Adrenal Health
Disrupted sleep is a key symptom of advanced Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and a deterrent to recovery. Being mindful of the body’s response to stress and taking time out to focus on this aspect will help. In addition, proper Adrenal Breathing Exercise can be of great benefit and should be done concurrently. Remember that in the case of AFS, insomnia can often be traced to a multiple of triggers. The most frequent causes include sympathetic overtone, hormonal imbalance, neurotransmitter dysregulation, or metabolic issues such as low blood sugar. More often than not, multiple factors are in place. Being mindful of each possible root cause and attempting to resolve it can help in figuring out how to restore adrenal health and accelerate the recovery process.
The importance of recovery and restoring adrenal health are also associated with the capability of the body to cope with stress. Rest and recovery allows the body organs and systems to recuperate from aggravating factors of stress that can overburden the neuroendometabolic (NEM) stress response and lead to decapitating symptoms. The NEM’s stress response is a complex model which is responsible for the body’s ability to cope with extenuating factors that can be deemed as stressful, providing the body with the necessary functions needed to be alert in a fight or flight stage or having the ability to turn off during rest and digest. It is inclusive of various systems and organs such as the autonomic and central nervous system, GI track, microbiome, immune system, liver, adrenals, heart, reproductive organ, thyroid, pancreas and ECM. Together they form a holistic functional perspective on the body’s response to stress that can threaten our survival. When this system is encumbered it can bring about various symptoms, such as fatigue and insomnia.
Source: JAMA Internal Med April 2015
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Is there any benefit of doing the ABE over earthing or grounding?
All are good. They can all be done concurrently.
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