Valentine's Day is coming up soon, so I thought it would be worthwhile to explore some ways your bodily functions can support, or suppress, your libido. We've briefly talked about how your adrenal glands work (more in later posts); however, we didn't discuss how they relate to libido. I'm sure you're wondering how two tiny glands situated on top of your kidneys have anything to do with libido, and I don't blame you! But, they do.
I'm sure you can think of someone whose cycles are thrown off every time they travel, have a test or are sleep-deprived. This happens because the adrenals go into what is commonly known as a "fight or flight" response. This reaction creates a chain of events that can suppress or even stop a whole range of responses, including digestion (feel bloated much?), menstruation and, you guessed it, libido.
Overworked adrenal glands are not the only reason our libido can be less than ideal, but they contribute to a huge portion of the cause. This is because those little organs influence our feelings, mood and energy, simply by being overworked. The bad news is that in today's society, most of us are chronically stressed, over-worked, under-slept and not well rested. The good news is that with a little attention, it's fixable!
In preparation for Valentine's Day, there are a number of things you can do to increase the strength of your adrenals (and hopefully improve your libido, too!). The first is to make sure you get enough sleep. Most individuals need about eight hours of sleep a night. Can you survive on less? Sure. But over time, your skin, stamina and libido will take the hit. If you have a late night coming up, you want to prepare for it. And, I don't mean for one night -- I mean for a week. Every so often, my husband and I go to sleep right after the kids are in bed. Every time we do, we can't believe how good we feel and say that we have to do it more often. Then life happens, and we forget how awesome the extra sleep felt. Rest, relaxation and sleep can truly do wonders for your sex drive.
The second way you can boost you adrenals is by decreasing your alcohol and sugar intake. Both act as stressors to your adrenals and make it hard for the glands to boost themselves up. I know it sounds crazy, but to boost your libido you need to take care of your adrenal glands, since they have a harder time doing their job in the face of sugar and alcohol. Just try it for one or two weeks. I'm not saying you can't drink on Valentine's Day, but I am recommending you avoid it prior to that day.
Lastly (well, not really, since we spend a lot of time during a functional medicine consult evaluating the adrenals, but lastly for the blog), there are tons of supplements out there that can help support adrenal function. This is where it gets a little tricky, since you want to make sure you are taking a high-quality supplement from a company that carefully evaluates the products it puts in its bottles. The best way to do this is to visit your local health food or vitamin store and explain what you're looking for. Some people will respond very gently to vitamins, and others need more powerful agents.
I can see how this sounds far-fetched, but this February, I invite you to take care of your adrenals so that you can not only get the most out of this Valentine's Day, but want "it" too!
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