"One day, I found Dr. Wilson's book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome at a local health food store. I stood there reading it, thinking, "This is me to a T." After reading the entire book, and completing the included Adrenal Fatigue Questionnaire, things started to make a lot of sense"


" And to think that I used to wake up every morning feeling nauseous and often with my heart racing. It would take several hours of eating almost non-stop to feel better but each morning the symptoms would return full force. Even after the pneumonia cleared up, I didn’t have the energy to work all day"


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Dr. James Wilson

Dr. James Wilson

James L. Wilson D.C., N.D., Ph.D. has helped thousands of people with Adrenal Fatigue regain their health and vitality during his 24 years of private practice.

Natural Medicine, August - November 2018

Exploring Adrenal Fatigue

Natural Medicine, May - August 2018

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

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Listner, July 11

Stressed to Excess

Wellbeing, Feb 2010

WellBeing, Feb 10

Stress Less

Woman's Weekly Feb 2010

Woman's Weekly Feb 10

A modern-day problem

Listener Jan 09

Listener Jan 09

Relax, don’t diet.

How’s Your Sleep?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    How are you sleeping? Many patients I see in my naturopathic clinic have a sleeping issue. Stress and sleeplessness feed on each other. When you suffer from stress and adrenal fatigue, you will have more difficulty in getting a good night’s sleep. The more tired you become, the less you are capable of coping with stress and the more stressful life seems. Many patients we see in the clinic are victims of the wear and tear of modern 21st century lifestyles, and appear to be caught in this “no-win, no-rest cycle, yet they are probably blissfully unaware that stress is actually sabotaging their efforts to get a good night’s sleep. Research way back in the 1970’s revealed that stress decreases the time spent in the deepest, most restorative sleep stages and disrupts dream or “rapid-eye-movement” (REM) sleep. In one study, chonic insomniacs reported that during the time their sleep problems began, they also experienced a greater number of stressful life events than in previous years. These problems include marital problems, financial worries, the death of a close person or losing their job.

Poor sleep in turn makes coping with a stressful lifestyle more challenging. In a UK study, volunteers deprived of a good night’s sleep couldn’t think of creative solutions to a stressful challenge and often fell back on rigid approaches that weren’t as effective. In time, trying to get by despite sleeplessness can lead to depression, anxiety and other psychological problems.
Try to get into the habit of regular sleep to keep your biological clock in sync. By going to bed at the same time, and getting up at the same time you will soon see that your body starts to fall into the pattern of regularity. Travel can really throw you out, and here again, keep to regular times with eating and sleeping. Learn to understand how important a good night’s sleep is to your health, it is one of the most important foundations apart from good nutrition and good emotional health.
1.     Exercise will help by allowing your body to deal with tension and stress more effectively, allowing your body and mind a chance to unwind. It could be something as simple as a twenty minute walk, swim or bike ride at least three times weekly. What’s the big deal? And you tell me that you “haven’t got the time”? There is an old saying that “those who don’t make the time for good health now, will find plenty of time for ill health in time” is a classic. If you get stressed and tensed at work, the ideal time to exercise is later in the day like late afternoon. Exercise when it suits your lifestyle – either early morning or late afternoon.
2.     Never go to bed completely worn out or very hungry. Going to bed too tired will mean that you are not going to get a good night’s sleep. Eating a big meal too late will interfere with your sleep as well. Your digestive system may well play up too, giving you plenty of gas, flatus and tummy rumblings. Another tip is not to go to bed on an empty tummy; you may well wake up due to low blood sugar levels, especially if you suffer from adrenal fatigue. Sometimes eating a small snack, even a little piece of cheese can do the trick.
3.     Watch the caffeine. No coffee at least 6 – 8 hours before bedtime if you have sleeping problems and like coffee. Coffee, tea or chocolate may stimulate you for several hours after, causing a disturbed or a restless sleep. Be aware that caffeine containing foods or drinks may in addition clash with certain prescription drugs causing sleep issues, so check in with your doctor here.
4.     Sleep on a good bed. This is a BIG one. You are less likely to get a good night’s sleep on a worn out old bed, or one that is too hard or soft or too small. I know from experience, I replaced my bed recently and what a difference it has made. Do you wake up regularly with a sore neck or back, is your bed sagging or creaking? Time to replace it, and remember, you spend so much time sleeping why do you put up with a crappy bed? Apparently, American folk on average replace their bed every ten to twelve years, but New Zealanders wait up to twenty years!
5.     Are you a sleeping-pill taker? A 30% increase in the number of sleeping pills being taken by New Zealanders has the National Party calling on the government to look at prescribing habits. In 2005 more than half a million prescriptions for sleeping pills were dispensed, up by a third on 1999 figures. National Party associate health spokeswoman Jackie Blue says we should be concerned more New Zealanders are feeling enough stress to need medication. She says stress can lead on to poor health and a reduction in productivity, so the government has a vested interest in sorting out the problem. Dr Blue says we need to be vigilant we are not setting the scene for drug dependency issues down the track. She wants the government to put regulations in place to cover the prescribing of sleeping pills. Dr Blue says the government needs to look at prescribing habits and why numbers of prescriptions have gone up so dramatically. Get your stress sorted sooner rather than later, because stress leads to sleeping issues, which in turn stimulate stress. A real “catch twenty two” situation. See your naturopathic physician for non-drug options to help you sleep at night.
6.     Smokers don’t sleep as deep as non-smokers. Research has shown that those who smoke heavy take longer to fall asleep, awaken more often and spend less time in the REM (deep) sleep phase. Because nicotine withdrawal can last two to three hours after their last puff, smokers may actually wake in the middle of the night craving a cigarette. Ask a reformed smoker, and most will tell you how much their sleep has improved since they kicked the habit.
7.     Drink in moderation. Many people think that a drink will help them get to sleep and stay asleep, but drinkers don’t sleep as well as those who drink in moderation or not at all. According to many different studies, even moderate drinking can suppress REM sleep, the deep sleep we need in order to wake up refreshed. Ever noticed that the nights you drink moderately heavy you wake up feeling “groggy”? Too much booze with dinner can make it hard to fall asleep, and too much later at night can harder to stay asleep. You end up sleeping in fragments and often wake in the early hours in the morning.
8.     Go for quality of sleep, not quantity. I tell my patients that it is the quality that really counts, and six good solid hours is better than eight or even ten hours of light or disturbed sleeping patterns. Don’t feel that you need eight solid hours every night anymore than you need to drink “eight glasses of water every day”! If five hours does the trick several times a week, you may well find that a nap here or there for twenty minutes may be all you need. Quality counts.
9.     Become a napper. Some people, like my wife, actually feel worse for naps. Not me, I have a meditation session at least three times weekly for twenty minutes in my office on a carpeted floor. I call it my TPM sessions, or “twenty peaceful minutes”, and find that it really does the trick for me. Try it yourself; these sessions involve lying down on the floor anywhere between the 2.00pm – 3.00 pm. This time slot is probably the best, due to the naturally lower level of cortisol your body produces at this time. I tell my receptionist to hold all calls for this time and relax, do some deep breathing and can feel my mind “slipping away”. By the time I get up, I feel very refreshed and relaxed. It’s what I call a “defrag of the mind”.
10.   Time outs. Here is a simple way to break out of the stress-sleeplessness cycle. Take regular “time-out” sessions during the day. It could be something as simple as closing your eyes. Several times a day close your eyes, take a few deep and relaxed breaths and meditate on a relaxing scene. It can work wonders.
11.   Don’t worry & be more organised. Some folk lie in bed thinking of what they should have done during the day, or about tasks they have to perform the following day. Try to deal with work related distractions before you hit the sack. Make a list of tasks before you go to bed may help. Write out anxieties or worries and possible solutions, this will save your mind having to do this whilst you are supposed to be resting. Tell yourself that you will sort it the next day. I tell my patients this: “when you lie down, don’t think about any problem that requires a solution”, it is easier said than done, but with a little practice it is easily achievable.

 Eric Bakker ND

Iara Hillebrand said,

April 2, 2009 @ 5:13 am

Although I take pills to sleep I find the text quite helpful. I´ll try to do what´s recommended and I hope to get rid of the sleeping pills one day.

Eric Bakker ND said,

April 2, 2009 @ 7:47 am

Hi Lara,

Thanks for your comment. Sleeping pills are a real like giving somebody a credit card – you only cause bigger problems by not dealing with the underlying problems. And look at the mess the world is in now, somebody has to pay the price for “unlimited credit”. Same goes when doctors give you “a pill for every ill”. You need to deal with WHY you have insomnia, and by improving your energy levels and dealing with the underlying stresses, your sleep will improve. There is nothing better than a great night’s sleep. Go and visit your naturopathic doctor, and get them to do a salivary cortisol test. This may uncover some very useful information. Good luck, and let me know how you went. I have treated nearly 500 patients with Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Program, and I can tell you – with most people their sleep improves dramatically. And – all drug free.

All the Best,

Eric Bakker ND

Cheryl Leddie said,

June 6, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

I need pills to sleep, as I have severe fibromyalgia pain at night,I also have Adrenal Fatigue,when on cortisone 15-20mg for AF the pain was mild and I slept,but now im down to 5mgs the pain is severe again,hence bad sleep,but the side effects of cortisone were not so good, I am on bio-identical hormones, Lugols drops, DHEA, adrenal support vitamins, am I missing anything that could help me more.
I would welcome any thoughts you may have.
Thanks Cheryl

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