The Thyroid And Sleep Connection
Can’t sleep? Your thyroid might be the culprit.
I’m a sleep expert, sure. But would it surprise you to learn that the majority of my clients don’t just have sleep issues?
Most of the time, poor sleep is simply an unpleasant side effect of an underlying, unaddressed health issue.
The most common underlying health issue in clients I work with? Thyroid disorders.
Ninety percent of the clients I work with have an underlying thyroid condition…and many of them don’t even realize it before working with me or come to me completely misinformed about their issues.
Your thyroid’s effect on sleep
Many of my new clients are surprised to learn that thyroid health can affect our sleep in many ways.
This is because our thyroid controls the metabolic function of almost all our body’s cells. Any imbalance in our thyroid impacts the systems that can trigger insomnia and related health issues.
A thyroid imbalance can also cause hormone levels to oscillate erratically. In the case of hypothyroidism, sex hormones like estrogen levels drop, resulting in troubled sleep.
The potential for insomnia is further increased in women because menopause can lower estrogen and progesterone levels.
Both estrogen and progesterone are important in regulating sleep quality. Lower levels of estrogen can result in hot flashes, preventing women from falling asleep and waking them up abruptly throughout the night.
Falling progesterone levels are highly likely to contribute to the onset of sleep apnea and even sleep anxiety.
Lower testosterone levels brought on by a compromised thyroid function can also undermine sleep quality. A curtailed sleep cycle due to a testosterone deficit poses challenges for the body in regenerate muscle tissue, causing people to wake feeling tired and sluggish.
In addition, insomnia is a common symptom of hypothyroidism caused by poor cortisol balance. The thyroid is linked to the adrenal glands; therefore, when the thyroid is suffering, the adrenal glands can become imbalanced.
When the body is stressed, cortisol is released by the adrenal glands. This hormone tells the body it is time to be alert and wake in the morning (not what we want at 3am!).
As cortisol levels drop during the day, we experience fatigue and eventually drop off to sleep when our cortisol levels hit their lowest ebb. If thyroid hormones are out of balance, the adrenal glands can produce too much cortisol, making it difficult to drop off to sleep because the body is tricked into thinking it is still daytime.
So, as you can see, sleep is directly impacted by your thyroid health.
How to Know if Your Thyroid Health is to Blame
Some clients who come to me have already been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, but others have not.
I will tell you that if you suffer from poor sleep and any of the following symptoms, YOU may be at risk for a thyroid disorder.
There are many reasons why your thyroid might be functioning sub-optimally including:
- An issue when the “big boss” aka hypothalamus is sending out his signal to the pituitary gland or
- Some miscommunication between the pituitary and the thyroid itself
- An issue with your body converting T4 into T3 (meaning those thyroid meds catering you T4 are not actually helping)
- Your T3 not arriving at its destination or not being absorbed (meaning although your labs might look ok at first sight down the line things are going wrong! This needs time and 'digging' into the issue for more than a mere 15 minutes per visit.)
- It could be of structural origin
Basically: There are a lot of different reasons why there might be an issue.
Second: A lot of lab reports do not look at T4 AND T3, so your T4 might be okay but it is not converting into T3 (which is what your body can use ).
The next issue is that most conventional practitioners simply hand out meds without investigating WHY a patient’s thyroid levels are imbalanced. This is a problem!
I have many clients who come to me with Hashimoto’s (hypothyroidism) or Grave’s (hyperthyroidism). These are both autoimmune diseases, yet most of the experts these clients have consulted with never even considered looking at their immune system!
I remember my client, Michèle, looking at me in disbelief: ‘You mean my thyroid might be related to my gut? And that might be connected to my sleep? Why has nobody ever told me about this!’
As you can see, there is so much we can investigate and optimize. My job as a sleep science expert and functional diagnostic nutritionist is to investigate the WHY behind your issues so that we can work to alleviate them as naturally as possible.
Sleep specialists find both an overactive and an underactive thyroid can influence the quality and regularity of your sleep cycle.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, can result in fatigue, and pronounced daytime drowsiness.
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, can trigger anxiety, an elevated heart rate, and insomnia leading to problems falling asleep, or waking up frequently during the night.
Now to be very clear I NEVER advise my clients to go off their medication, ever.
However, in collaboration with their doctor, many of my clients have managed to reduce their dose of thyroid meds and even drop them altogether because I am able to help them get to the root of their issues.
If you suspect that thyroid issues might be a reason why you aren’t sleeping and you are ready to take action to figure it out, then I encourage you to schedule a free consultation with me now.
For a limited time only I am offering you some time with me, on my dime, to help you figure out whether thyroid issues may to be blame for your sleep issues.
If you are ready to finally get to the root of health issues and work to address them head-on, schedule a time to chat with me today for a no-obligation breakthrough call.