Sleep is a popular health topic lately. Experts and media alike are citing the many negative effects of not getting enough of it. However, there’s still confusion about how much sleep you actually need, not only to stave off chronic illness, but also to kick some butt or do some major healing. When you have adrenal fatigue, sleep is disrupted. Many people with adrenal issues report feeling exhausted in the morning and “tired but wired” at night; these interrupted sleep patterns are due to fluctuations in our primary stress hormone cortisol. Like our sleep hormone melatonin, cortisol follows a rhythm throughout the day. Typically, cortisol is supposed to rise in the morning to energize you for the day, and then fall as the day progresses, troughing at night time to help you relax into sleep. When you’re chronically stressed, your natural healthy cortisol rhythm reverses or even flattens, which explains why you can’t fall asleep or wake up when you’re supposed to. These interrupted sleep patterns have unfortunate effects throughout the body, increasing the risk for obesity, diabetes, memory problems, and even your ability to have empathy for others. Bad sleep also worsens adrenal fatigue as sleep deprivation throws off the entire stress system. Sleep deprivation is linked to inflammation levels, stress hormone levels, and vice versa. In a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, reducing inflammation with medication improved sleep quality and proper cortisol regulation. In some sort of vicious cycle, even partial sleep loss can also cause elevated inflammatory chemicals and abnormal levels of cortisol which results in decreased alertness and performance. On the plus side, napping does seem to improve stress hormones and inflammatory chemicals on top of decreasing sleepiness.  So how much sleep do you actually need? Unfortunately, the answer varies from person to person, even according to scientific studies.  However, plenty of evidence suggests that sleep quality is as important as quantity. Even mild sleep restriction, such as 90 minutes over just 3 weeks, is associated with hormonal issues. However, you need to listen to your body and give your body the sleep it craves. If you need to calm your system into good sleep, you may need some extra help. For more reading on whether you have adrenal fatigue and what to do about it, visit our page here. ____________________________________  Adam EK, Quinn ME, Tavernier R, McQuillan MT, Dahlke KA, Gilbert KE. Diurnal cortisol slopes and mental and physical health outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017;83:25-41.  Abell JG, Shipley MJ, Ferrie JE, Kivimäki M, Kumari M. Recurrent short sleep, chronic insomnia symptoms and salivary cortisol: A 10-year follow-up in the Whitehall II study. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016;68:91-9.  Nedeltcheva AV, Scheer FA. 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