How being an Empath can lead to Adrenal Fatigue, Insomnia & Exhaustion.

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Empaths can experience a sudden onset of chronic fatigue due to a significant crash in energy levels.

This can be caused by having a variety of emotional responsibilities, and also because we profusely leak our energy when we do not remain present, consciously aware, grounded, and balanced.

Empaths often feel particularly drained when we have spent too much time in the company of other people, and these interactions can cause us to develop emotional exhaustion. Empaths need a great deal of alone time to retreat and recharge their internal batteries.

Our thoughts, emotions, and feelings can all play havoc on our internal system, causing devastating consequences that can debilitate us. If we have regular periods of solitude, we are able to process our emotions and feelings during the day. We will then not become so exhausted, as we will frequently let go of any negativity that might play on our minds and weigh us down.

When we do not have the space to do this, we may find our minds are overactive at night when everything is still and quiet, and we are not distracted by external stimuli. This prevents us from being able to relax so that sleep can naturally occur.

We might also wake up often throughout the night and be unable to get a restful night’s sleep, as our minds are constantly trying to process information and make sense of what occurred during the day that is still lingering and needs to be dealt with.

Our hyperactive minds cause us fatigue by continuously bombarding us with a deafening amount of stimuli, not allowing us the opportunity to rest, replenish, and recharge. This can cause us to have erratic sleep patterns, some days needing 10 or more hours, and other days only one or two, depending on how much energy is attached to our energy field and pulling us down.

If we are not able to find time during the day to make sense of our internal thoughts, feelings, and emotions, it is essential that we engage in meditation just before we go to sleep, so that we can allow our thoughts to lightly come and go without paying too much attention to them or igniting a hormone-induced physiological response.

Emotionally charged feelings linked to our memories and experiences can provoke us to feel emotions such as fear, anxiety, resentment, panic, and paranoia—so our brains become convinced that we are under some kind of genuine threat. Therefore, they send signals to our adrenal glands to produce hormones, which then release a surge of energy.

When we experience intense or prolonged anxiety or stress, or our lifestyles are unhealthy—for example, too much or too little sleep, substance abuse, overworking, poor diet, stressful relationships, stressful family situations, or general life crises—we place excessive continuous demands on our adrenal glands.

Our adrenal glands are small kidney-shaped endocrine glands, approximately the size of a walnut, that are situated in the lower back area just above our kidneys. They are very powerful and beneficial when under stress, as they release hormones that help keep us alert, focused, and increase our stamina so that we are able to deal with pressure.

However, when we over-stimulate our adrenal glands, they will keep producing energy, which causes a conflict when we try to rest or sleep, as we will feel permanently wired and on high alert. This places excessive stress on our adrenal glands, causing them to eventually burn out and malfunction.

As our energy quickly becomes drained, we will be tempted to top it back up with quick fixes and may consume foods that are high in refined salt or sugar, which burn energy fast so that we receive an instant energy boost. However, this is a vicious cycle, as the junk food we crave burns energy extremely quickly leaving us needing more.

Our body craves salt and sugar, as it inherently knows what it needs. However, we feed it refined salt and refined sugar, which are found in most processed foods or junk foods, instead of feeding it unrefined sugar and unrefined salt, which are nutritious and in healthy doses can nourish and replenish our adrenal glands.

We might also try to raise our energy levels by consuming caffeine-based drinks, such as coffee or energy drinks; however, caffeine just irritates the adrenal glands further. We will then experience regular highs and lows, as our energy levels peak and drop throughout the day.

When our adrenal glands are not working effectively, we may feel constantly fatigued, run-down, irritable, anxious, dizzy, and overwhelmed. We may experience heart palpitations, sugar, or salt cravings, low or high blood pressure, and we will also find it very difficult to manage stressful situations.

If we are well balanced—thinking positively, exercising, eating, and sleeping well—our adrenal glands will not be easily overwhelmed.

During sleep, our cortisol levels (one of the hormones produced by our adrenal glands) rise naturally, peaking in the few hours before we wake. This happens to give us a good start to the day, and it is known as the circadian rhythm, as it elevates our energy levels so that we can function effectively by sleeping when it is dark and waking when it is light.

When our adrenal glands are exhausted, we will likely wake up still feeling tired, even if we have had a long and seemingly restful sleep. We may feel drowsy most of the day, but then our cortisol levels may peak late in the evening, making it difficult for us to enter deep sleep.

It can take a long time to run our adrenal glands down, so it can take some time to fully repair them. However, we can make changes that can have an immediate effect.

The most important thing to do is listen to the body and pay attention to how it feels. We can remain aware of how our energy levels rise and fall throughout the day. We will most likely find that certain times of the day are more exhausting than others, so we can make additional alterations as needed.

It is vital that we discover how and why we are placing so much stress on our adrenal glands. When we identify the root cause of our emotions and feelings, we can ensure that we don’t remain in a heightened state of alert, putting further pressure on these vital glands.

Meditation will help us to not only focus on the body so that we are aware of any sensations that are taking place, it will also help us to calm and soothe our mind to prevent us from repeating negative thoughts that ultimately cause chemical reactions.

Spending time with family and friends or being out for social activities can also regulate our cortisol levels, as they are known to increase after spending long periods of time alone—if we feel lonely, isolated, and separated. If we are content in our own company, we will feel balanced, and cortisol levels may not be such an issue.

Our diet and exercise regime can also place added stress on our adrenal glands. If we push ourselves too much, we place too much demand on the glands, which causes them to produce an overload of stress-related hormones.

Skipping meals, eating junk food, and intense workouts all cause these glands to overwork. If we have food allergies, they will place additional stress on our adrenal glands, so it is vital to pay attention to foods that we have intolerances to.

To keep our adrenal glands nourished, we can try to eat an organic, well-balanced, and nutritional diet with plenty of protein and a healthy dose of vitamins A, B, and C, allowing time for the body to absorb all the nutrients before any physical activity takes place. We can also try to avoid large consumption of alcohol and reduce or eliminate our refined sugar, refined salt, and caffeine intake.

Creating security, stability, joy, inner peace, being optimistic, and getting a restful night’s sleep all contribute to rebalancing our adrenal glands. Just the thought of going to bed can bring on mild anxiety if we think we are going to lie awake for hours, drifting in and out of light sleep, but rarely reaching the highly sought-after delta state.

When our adrenals are exhausted, we may wake during the night highly alert, often from high-stimuli dreams that just add to our overanxious state.

Sleepless nights are particularly common when we endure a stressful or anxious period, because even if we enter sleep, we can wake through the night feeling the adrenaline circulating through our body—but without knowing why.

Disturbances in sleep are most often linked to biochemical reactions due to high levels of stress hormones flushing through our system between approximately 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. The spike in our hormones dramatically affects our ability to remain calm, which is why our sleep is interrupted.

We can rectify this by making up a magical, therapeutic little potion consisting simply of organic honey and unrefined salt.

We can also place a Himalayan salt table lamp by the side of the bed, as it removes the positive ions from the environment and replaces them with negative ones, mimicking the balance found in nature. This also removes the electric smog that is caused by electronic devices such as laptops and mobile phones, so the air is clear. Therefore, we will have improved air circulation and healthier, fuller breathing.





Author: Alex Myles

Image: Flickr/SimpleInsomnia

Editor: Travis May


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Alex Myles

Alex Myles is a qualified yoga and Tibetan meditation teacher, Reiki Master, spiritual coach and also the author of An Empath, a newly published book that explains various aspects of existing as a highly sensitive person. The book focuses on managing emotions, energy and relationships, particularly the toxic ones that many empaths are drawn into. Her greatest loves are books, poetry, writing and philosophy. She is a curious, inquisitive, deep thinking, intensely feeling, otherworldly intuitive being who lives for signs, synchronicities and serendipities. Inspired and influenced by Carl Jung, Nikola Tesla, Anaïs Nin and Paulo Coelho, she has a deep yearning to discover many of the answers that seem to have been hidden or forgotten in today’s world. Alex’s bestselling book, An Empath, is on sale now for only $1.99! Connect with her on Facebook and join Alex’s Facebook group for empaths and highly sensitive people.

Sheila Sharpe-Beasley Oct 8, 2018 12:29pm

Thank you for an informative article that explains a lot.

Kellie Murphy Jun 21, 2018 12:58pm

So much love for this - Thank you! xx

Denise Garcia Mar 7, 2018 5:05pm

Great read.

Danny Ballais Mar 4, 2018 5:45pm

Holy crap! This is all just woo and quackery...pseudoscientific garbage! You have to be a complete moron to believe in any of this nonsense! Only mentally deficient people would think they're an empath. Or they're just preying on stupid, science-illiterate, gullible people. Stop spreading your useless, idiotic garbage. If you think your claim has any merit, how about you cite some controlled, peer reviewed studies that support your mumbo-jumbo. I bet you can't provide any proof for any of your claims. Go ahead; try coming up with verifiable evidence.

Liz Kruger Feb 18, 2018 7:06am

there is a strong correlation between lupus and trauma... try find bessel van der kolk's book, the body keeps the score. there is insight on this topic therein, and other autoimmune diseases. all the best, take care of you x

Suzy McKaskill Feb 4, 2018 1:25am

sometimes referred to as second sleep

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Joanica Delicia Jyrwa Nov 28, 2017 2:57pm

Nicole Cameron Thank a ton. The problem is this concept is quite new here ( at least with the people I am around with). I am not even aware much about it to explain and reach out. But everytime I read an article about empaths it resonates with me on a personal level, I can feel it resonating so deeply that I am always left in tears. Every nature, every effect. I do not know if I am making sense but the pain is so profound, that I can tell you for sure.

Nicole Cameron Nov 28, 2017 1:46pm

Hi Joanica, I'm so glad this piece touched you. I've had many friends who have contemplated and attempted suicide, so I urge you to talk to someone (a friend, family member, doctor, or whoever you feel closest to) and share your story. Reaching out can be hard, but it's worth it in the end. Sending you hugs and love! ~ Nicole, Eleditor

Joanica Delicia Jyrwa Nov 27, 2017 7:22pm

Thank you so much for this. I'm reading at such an opportune moment when I'm sligthly contemplating about killing myself (this idea does not hit me often btw). It breaks my heart at how accurate this feels. Thank you so much. God bless! Feels like someone's out there who knows me.

Andrea Fuentealba Oct 29, 2017 5:45am

Thank you! 😘

Andrea Greenberg Oct 11, 2017 8:21pm

I just recently accepted the fact that I am an empath. I've always been very in touch with me, and have been able to pick up on others. I've had the gift of healing since I wake l was very young, and wanted all my life to be the one to reach those the man in a suit and tie couldn't.. My theories about God have changed since being ordained at 18. My birthday is coming up, on October 17, I'll be 36. I feel some thing shifting, changing, not just in me, but all around me. Am I just crazy, how can I ground, dig in a bit deeper, to really hone my intuition, with out losing myself into a sleep that last days?

Moon Raven Oct 6, 2017 12:11am

Thank you Cathron! I take them for muscle tension that leads to headaches but didn't know this! Wow! Need this soo much. This article is so where i am and eveything about it makes me hate sleeping anymore.

Rose Montez Aug 18, 2017 2:21pm

Thank you

Margaret Galea Jul 31, 2017 9:55am

Thank God!, I never manage to sleep a whole night, I have to take sleeping pills, or else my mind wouldn't stop. Even if someone is feeling pain, I seem to have it too.

Annie Redwolf Murphy Jul 13, 2017 5:38pm

If one more person tells me that I am 'too sensitive' I will burst into flames! My whole 54 years I have had visions, preminitions, quickinings, sightings, dream visions and core knowings. I have moved to the Mt Shasta area to follow teaching to sharpen my sword. Thank you for this Alex. I have read it 3 times to process all the information and it all rings a bell. xoxo

Sue Hutcherson Jun 28, 2017 4:48pm

Your post gives me the advise and direction I need to pursue in regards to my relationship with my 28 year old daughter. Every word you wrote spoke to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If there is anything else you have written about this topic or a book you recommend, I would deeply appreciate it. Thank You!

Meredith K. Andersen Jun 19, 2017 1:35pm

You can get bio available Magnesium from a company called Water Divine. Google them. I don't benefit from sharing this in any way. They have helped so many in our family.

Theresa McCooey Jun 10, 2017 8:55am

The article says that the salt lamp replaces the positive ions with negative ions :)

Olorato Tsholofelo Kabasia May 14, 2017 3:46pm

This explains the IntrovertedExtrovert that I am...I've been confused about this but now it makes a bit more sense and thank you for giving me comfort in knowing that I am not strange and not alone in this. Thank you. Now how do I replinish often, how do I manage the adrenaline exhaustion?

Sheena Mouton May 9, 2017 7:14pm

thank you so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so sososososoosososososososossoosososososososososoosososososososoososososososoosososososoosososoosososoosososo much - you have answered a lifetime of questions; and i have only arrived at the door of 29 now...

Jazmin Luna May 9, 2017 12:16am

I always tend to see things moving In my home from the corner of my eye. I tend to be very tired all the time and get fed up with monotony at work. It exhausts me and I feel as if I have to move on to something else. Everything makes me cry and I tent to feel like I have to help the world.

Dorothy A Martin Neville May 7, 2017 1:51pm

This happens only when you are unprepared and you have never learned to protect yourself. Being an empath does not mean being co-dependent or enmeshed with your clients or others. Always prepare yourself for your calling. Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness are prerequisites. With unconditional love we can feel their experience wihtout making it ours. We can honor their journey and know they chose it for a reason because of the way they learn. Always, we must allow them to walk their journey alone without walking it with them. It is their's. Walking beside them, not in them, allows you to set healthy boundaries. I taught this work for 19 years and saw how important it was to teach my first year students this - healing their own need for enmeshed connection - before they could loving be there for another.

Bert Martinez Yarbrough May 2, 2017 4:40pm

I take magnesium tablets.

Bert Martinez Yarbrough May 2, 2017 4:39pm

At the end of article it says the salt lamp replaces the positive ions ?? I thought it was suppose to remove those.