October 9


Tired But Wired

By Sue Ingebretson

October 9, 2012

adrenal fatigue, adrenal system, arthritis, chronic fatigue, diabetes, exhaustion, fatigue, multiple sclerosis, tired but wired


Creature from the Black Lagoon

Do ever feel you have more in common with a Zombie than a member of the human race? Do you drag yourself around all day like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and then find yourself unable to get the sleep you need at night?

If so, you probably relate to this phrase —

tired but wired

In a frustrating contradiction, many of us with chronic illness are unable to turn off our spinning thoughts at bedtime – even though we’re completely exhausted! Instead of getting much needed sleep, we lie awake for hours on end re-living conversations, planning the next day’s errands, and deciding how to prune the rosebushes next year.

Anything and everything seems like a mega big deal at 2:00 am.

We live with fatigue as a blatant daily reminder of conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, tick-related syndromes, diabetes, etc. Of course, “fatigue” doesn’t really describe it, does it? What words do you use? Pooped, tired, burned out, dog tired, drained, fried out, run ragged, tuckered out….

Lack of sleep has it’s own devastating cascade of effects on the body. Feeling tired and stressed out about being tired can create a vicious, unending cycle. When looking to solve any physical problem, it’s good to look “upstream,” meaning — what system (or systems) of the body is/are responsible? The “tired but wired” phenomenon is yet another symptom of adrenal insufficiency. When our gears are stripped (and chronic illness steps in), the adrenals take a beating. They try to keep up. They try – for years – to keep the system functioning as life demands, but eventually, they stop performing at optimal levels. Remember that the adrenal system governs the thyroid and our sex hormones so there’s a LOT that can go wrong when things aren’t working as they should.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be letting you know more information about rebuilding and repairing your adrenal system so stay tuned for future posts!

If you didn’t catch it, here’s a previous post on this topic called, The Startling Truth … About Being Startled.

Do you have other words for “exhausted” or ways that you describe your fatigue? Wonder if your adrenal system has gone wonky? Tired of counting sheep? Chime in and join the conversation by leaving a comment below! And … of course, don’t forget to share this with your friends.

Counting Sheep


  1. This was such an interesting posting. I have read many articles about fibromyalgia and know that there is the dysfunctional sleep patterns and cycles but I have never read anywhere about the “tired but wired” scenario. That is something that I often experience and although I attribute so many of the day-to-day challenges to fibromyalgia the “tired but wired” phenomenon was not one of them. I have started to experience symptoms of menopause over the last year and I was thinking that was the contributing factor. I look forward to what you have to share about the adrenal system and the rebuilding and repairing that you have mentioned.

    1. Kimberly — your observations are spot on! There’s definitely a connection between the adrenal system and the hormonal system and perimenopause fits right in there. The symptoms are all liked. So glad you liked the post and I look forward to chatting with you further!

  2. I’ve reverted from only being able to sleep around 6am, which shifts my cycle from 6am till about 1 or 2pm. If I get a headache that’s so severe, pain meds don’t work and I just cannot seem to sleep. It’s not my mind, that’s already exhausted. It’s my body that doesn’t know how to just shut off and revive itself. So, I totally understand this!

    1. It’s a tough combo, Amber — the mind/body connection. It’s hard to separate what symptoms stem from physical triggers or from brain/emotional triggers, but it all works together either to keep us healthy or to show us where our imbalances are. I’m glad you recognize that your current sleep cycle isn’t the healthiest and it’s my hope that you’ll find answers and relief in the weeks ahead!

  3. I have found a very good meditation CD I listen to when I climb in bed. I have spent hours wishing I could turn my brain off. Now I often drop off before I’ve done much meditating. And there are still occasional nights the day rewinds mercilessly including all if the things I think I could have done better. Thank you for the post!

    1. Danielle — sounds like a perfect solution! Do you listen with headphones in bed and turn it off before falling asleep? Just curious how it works for you. And, thanks so much for sharing.

  4. The ol’ so tired and can’t sleep problem. Thanks for understanding and helping everyone to understand the hormone connection.

    Infinite Love and Gratitude,


  5. Absolutely! This can be such a frustrating part of the HPA axis upset. The adrenals are definitely involved, IMHO. I recently ran across a physician that posted this in a You Tube video. I have the link in one of my KaleidoPain News posts, but can’t nail his name right now, imagine that! He talks about a frequently ignored hormone deficiency, aldosterone. For those of us with low blood pressure or neurally mediated hypotension, this is certainly valuable information.

    In healing and hope, Celeste, RN, author, pain patient/activist, and fibromyalgia health expert.

    1. Thanks so much Celeste — love your input and would love to see that vid if you trip over it 😉

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