When you鈥檙e fresh out of college and tackling your first job , it鈥檚 easy to get wrapped up in a lifestyle of going, doing and rushing 鈥 not to mention partying late and drinking ever-increasing amounts of coffee every morning. You might be hitting snooze on the regular, which seems normal, but could it be a sign of something worse?

Young exhausted woman sleeping at the table in the office.

It turns out millennials are at risk of exhaustion, aka 鈥渁drenal fatigue.鈥 Officially known as 鈥渁drenal insufficiency,鈥 this condition refers to a collection of symptoms, starting with chronic fatigue. Your adrenal glands are located above the kidneys 鈥 they鈥檙e no bigger than a couple of walnuts 鈥 but they play a huge role in your body鈥檚 ability to manage stress. Drinking coffee every day? You鈥檙e increasing your adrenal response. Dealing with lots of stress? You鈥檙e making them work again. Staying out late and sleeping at odd hours? You get the idea. Your extreme level of tiredness can weaken your entire immune system and set you up for all sorts of other problems.

Enter Marjorie Ordene, MD , a Brooklyn-based doctor who helps patients tackle their wellness and recover from adrenal burnout. I reached out to her to get some more information.

Tired woman in the office

Why You鈥檙e at Risk for Adrenal Fatigue

According to Dr. Ordene, 鈥淟ack of sleep, burning the candle at both ends and overstimulation with caffeine鈥 are all tell-tale risk factors that could lead to adrenal burnout. For recent college grads especially, she added: 鈥淎 lack of regular hours, excessive caffeine and no rest from cell phones can really play a role here. A constant barrage of overstimulation from computers, Internet and loud music keeps millennials from getting the proper rest.鈥 Hey, even the hugely successful Ariana Huffington, creator of the Huffington Post, has been speaking out against our culture of sleep deprivation .

That draining relationship you always seem to be complaining about could also be a trigger for your body to produce adrenaline and other stress-management hormones. If it鈥檚 not helping you to feel great and relax easily in your life, you should probably get rid of it. That include clutter, ex-boyfriends, complaints and drama鈥 whatever.

Tired college student yawning in the library while her friend is bored. The view is through glass.

Signs聽You鈥檝e Got Adrenal Fatigue

Dr. Ordene pointed to 鈥渄ifficulty getting out of bed in the morning鈥 as an indicator of adrenal imbalance. But it escalates quickly. An 鈥渋nability to maintain calm鈥 is a bad sign. Even young people can have palpitations, panic and anxiety in their everyday lives at a level that is alarming for their age. Top that with poor sleep and a lack of 鈥渃entering,鈥 and you鈥檝e got a recipe for disaster for your health energy levels.

In order to test your fatigue levels, doctors will measure your cortisol production, the hormone produced in stressful situations, at various times of the day. In the Kalish Method , designed by Dr. Daniel Kalish for treating adrenal fatigue, for example, there are three stages of stress. In stage one, the rush of pushing toward a goal, dancing all night, exercising often, having coffee, etc., might make someone feel 鈥渁ctivated鈥 and excited. This is the 鈥済ood stress鈥 that we thrive on. But by stage two, the cortisol level starts to fail.

Dr. Kalish tells us, 鈥淭his is when people start to gain weight. This is when people start to not be able to sleep. This is when your sex drive starts to go away. People just know that there鈥檚 some health problem.鈥 Stage three is adrenal burnout, chronically low cortisol levels and the sense that it鈥檚 impossible to feel truly rested. Dr. Kalish has had 12 and 13-year-old girls in his practice that have had adrenal burnout. It鈥檚 shocking but true 鈥 so maybe it鈥檚 not your fault you鈥檙e tired. Blame the system.

Stretching away the stress

I鈥檓 Really Tired. What Now?

If you find yourself addicted to caffeine, going to bed late every night, and having a hard time waking every morning, there is hope. Dr. Ordene recommends that young people experiencing these symptoms do the following: 鈥淲ean off caffeine, and go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night or each few days until you get on a better schedule.鈥

In addition to these lifestyle habits, you can take adrenal gland supplements or get positive cranio-sacral stimulation to lower anxiety and help regulate hormones. No kidding, you can even wear this funny looking device called a 鈥Fisher Wallace Stimulator .鈥 You can also try yoga , deep breathing and meditation too. In other words, you don鈥檛 have to lay around all day, but you DO gotta get your rest and relaxation.

When I inquired about where to start testing for elevated stress and adrenal levels, Dr. Ordene pointed to tests for adrenal cortisol levels, including salivary hormone testing, and tests for your DHEAS levels. If you鈥檙e feeling run down and worried you鈥檙e in the initial stages of this condition, her recommendations are: 鈥淎void caffeine. You also want to cut back on added sugars and alcohol, then common food allergens, especially wheat, perhaps gluten and food additives. Eat small, frequent meals with a good balance of protein, fat and carbs, healthy fats.鈥

It鈥檚 no surprise that for the good of your health and body, less really is more.

Are you cutting back on caffeine or joining team #GoodNightsSleep? Give us a shout on Twitter @BritandCo and let us know!

(Photos via Getty)