I’m not sure if you know this about me, but before becoming a nutritionist, I spent 6+ years working in the corporate world. I worked some pretty high pace and high pressure roles. Throughout that time I was ALSO really sick (which you can read more about here).
Combine the two and it was a bit of a perfect storm stress wise and I almost always woke up in that 2-4am time frame for a good hour or so. Pre nutrition school, I literally never even thought twice about it meaning anything, other than it being super frustrating. I mean, by the time I got back to sleep, it felt like the alarm was going off MINUTES later.
You can imagine I was surprised to learn that waking up in the middle of the night was NOT normal and was a sign that something was off.
Nine times out of ten, it’s a sign that your adrenal glands - two little glands that sit on top of your kidneys - are fatigued, or have been in overdrive for quite some time.
As I mentioned, your adrenal glands are responsible for producing cortisol, a stress hormone. In a perfect world, your cortisol is highest in the morning when you wake up (so that you wake up feeling good!) and then it slowly decreases over time (so that when it’s time to go to bed, you fall asleep relatively easily and stay asleep).
What happens, is if you go through a period of chronic stress, or you don’t manage your blood sugar properly, or you push too hard for a long period of time, your cortisol can become out of balance. Typically it first becomes elevated, then after a while of being elevated, becomes too low. Keep in mind, this doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes months or years of this to become out of balance.
I dive into this a lot in my webinars but there are some other basic things you can start with right off the bat: