Sleep disorders like insomnia can be caused by a number of different factors. Many of those factors include chronic pain, depression and even acid reflux. Those are usually the known things that we hear about on a daily level. But, less is known, that poison is usually hidden in small bottles. When we transmit that metaphor of small bottles to human body they would be glands.
Glands are known as organs that are responsible for producing and releasing specific substances that can perform a specific function in the body. Among glands, one stands out. A small gland called thyroid can trigger a number of issues, including sleep problems.
What Is Thyroid?
The thyroid has a significant role when it comes to keeping the organism called ‘body’ balanced. The thyroid is responsible for regulating a hormone that keeps your body warm and, overall, helps your organs function properly. When thyroid works normally your body is in harmony and in blissfulness.
On the other hand, when your thyroid isn’t working properly, you are ready for a set of problems, including the way of your sleep. Furthermore, there are two types of thyroid conditions: overactive or underactive. Each condition comes with its unique characteristics.
Hyperthyroidism is present when your gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. This condition causes different body functions that are marked as fast. When these conditions appear you are feeling wired and jittery.
Hyperthyroidism symptoms include strong feelings of anxiety and extremely strong racing pulse is a first sign.
When combined, anxiety and racing pulse, relaxing seem like mission impossible. Moreover, people who have hyperthyroidism may have trouble sleeping.
The most important fact about this condition is related to its first sign. Although, when it first appears hyperthyroidism can seem just like a wave of energy and revving metabolism, the truth is entirely opposite.
This energy lift or sensation is short-lived and as time goes on, you will start experiencing a rise of tiredness.
On the other hand, opposite of hyperthyroidism lies underactive side of gland, called hypothyroidism. Basically, when the thyroid gland is underactive, producing thyroid hormone is low.
Simply said, it means that you will start feeling tired. Lack of thyroid hormone causes processes that slow down the body, making you feel tired extremely easy. For people who suffer from this condition, a nine-hours long sleep is not enough.
Some said that they are feeling like they are stuck in a haze or a fog, without the strong ability to be sharp when it comes to thinking and prompt actions.
Luckily, for many people with a thyroid disorder, medications can help by reducing negative symptoms. Medicine can also improve their sleep.
Good to know: a simple blood test can determine the appropriate levels of thyroid hormones in your body.
Sleep And Thyroid
So, the connection between thyroid and sleep is obvious when you think about energies ups and downs. An overactive thyroid gland can cause sleep problems – making it hard to asleep.
In addition, it can cause nighttime arousal and even night sweats. On the other hand, underactive thyroid makes you feel cold constantly. In addition, strong cold feeling leads to numerous sleepy moments.
The thyroid is THE GLAND. It affects every organ and system in the body, making symptoms more challenging difficult to diagnose. However, thyroid dysfunction may have impacts on sleep, including:
Sleep Apnea is in one hand a 21st-century issue. This is a relatively common disorder globally. Patients with this disorder often experience different and often symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness, strong and long-lasting feeling of lethargic, and strong apathy.
These symptoms are often seen in hypothyroidism, making the two disorders difficult to separate. Patient’s history and physical examination can show similar if not the same symptoms.
Next, patients with hypothyroidism are even in bigger danger of developing sleep apnea. They are in bigger danger due to many factors involving low ability to respond to chemical changes within the blood, and can even damage the nerves or even muscles that are involved in breathing.
Again, hypothyroidism can contribute to sleep apnea through enlargement of the tongue, or can even disrupt muscles that control the upper airway. Even more, patients with hypothyroidism are at high risk for obesity, another strong factor that adds to obstructive sleep apnea.
Some people with sleep apneas and hypothyroidism, not everyone, will experience eventually insomnia. Breathing can be disrupted by sleep apnea and it may lead to sudden arousal’s. This includes frequent awakenings during the night, especially during REM sleep. In that case sleep in everything about refreshing and light.
You may experience a longer time in bed because of poor sleep quality. However, if you start spending more time in bed awake than sleeping, chronic insomnia may ensure. It is important to look for sleep apnea if you experience any of the insomnia symptoms because of its a clear context for thyroid dysfunction.
When you are experiencing difficulties of regulating the body’s temperature, night sweats could be an every-night-thing. But, they can appear frequently during your sleep and it can disrupt your sleep. In addition, menopause is commonly connected with night sweats. Difficulties in breathing are present as well.
In general, imbalanced thyroid leads to poor sleep habits that are even more seen in the bad sleeping outcome. Although, insomnia can associate to underlying thyroid disease, creating and engaging in poor sleep habits can contribute to your fatigue as well, which leads to low-quality sleep.
And, according to National Sleep Foundation, you need between seven and nine hours of firm sleep per day.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Thyroid problems are not difficult to discover. Actually, they are easy to diagnose. A simple blood test can show you how your thyroid is working. On the other hand, those who are already diagnosed with hypothyroidism or with symptoms of sleep apnea, a good sleep study can help to determine whether sleep apnea is indeed present or not.
Patients with already determined symptoms of sleep apnea use a blood test to analyze their thyroid levels. CPAP therapy also knows as continuous positive airway pressure therapy is the most common method when it comes to treating sleep apnea.
There are also some alternative methods. These methods include appliances from surgery, weight loss, and even dentist.
If you recognize just one of the symptoms listed above you should visit your doctor and do a blood test so you can properly evaluate the function of your thyroid. Evaluate the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) so you can know is it elevated abnormally and see if thyroid works normally.
In addition, you can test levels of T3 and even T4.
Luckily, if sleep apnea is caused by hypothyroidism it can be improved with thyroid hormone replacement. The same applies to breathing difficulties. This condition is usually treated with pill Synthroid (levothyroxine).
Also, there are of course some alternatives that are entirely or partialy natural, such as Armour thyroid.
If you want to start relaxing with natural ingredients, then a first step should be having a regular intake of herbal tea. Of course, for more radical cases, an operation is always an option.
Radioactive iodine and surgery can be used to treat hyperthyroidism, and thyroid replacement can subsequently provide to the body what the body can no longer produce.
The best way of improving your life when your thyroid is not working properly is to talk to your doctor and create a proper plan of adjusting your lifestyle to your current body needs. Here are some tips to apply:
1. Get Rest
This may sound basic, but everything starts from basics after all. Don’t blame your thyroid and thyroid treatment, but work with it. You don’t have to do something drastic, but you can have a weekly movement.
For example, try to for a week get at least 8 hours of sleep. If you start feeling better after this, maybe the issues are chronic sleep deprivation. Also, bear in mind that you maybe just need more sleep when your thyroid treatment has been optimized.
2. Optimize Your Sleep
One more basic quality sleep tip. The important thing here to remember is that – the quality is important as the quantity. Start practicing steps of good sleep hygiene, which includes healthy sleeping patterns.
Make sure that you talk with your doctor about non-prescription sleep aids like melatonin. You can expect some antidepressants for chronic sleep problems.
3. Have A Sleep Diary
Keeping a track about your sleeping habits can be beneficial on many levels. Try keeping it for at least 2 weeks, although the perfect would be for three months. With time you will learn to recognize your patterns, but also what disturbs you, and thanks to those insights you can make necessary changes. In addition, you can use tech, like an app or your tablet to track your sleep.
4. Have A Good Diet
Make sure that your diet is good. Have food that supports your energy and can lift it when necessary. Some people claim that food that is gluten -free helped them enormously, in addition, to cut off sugar and dairy products.
5. Keep Moving
Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes is important and necessary. After a long walk, you will sleep better and get up much easier in the morning. Just make sure that you don’t go overboard with heavy exercise s just before the bedtime. You need your endorphin in balance.
Don’t let stress eat you up. Try to find ‘me time’ and do things that you make you feel relaxed and happy. Stay on top of stress. Get a massage, go to the park with your best friend and just enjoy nature. Or just do whatever makes you happy and relaxed.
Thyroid function affects your whole body. Every organ and system in your body works thanks to this gland and every organ remains happy for it. However, any dis-balance with it, up or low, can lead to dysfunction of certain organs or body processes.
Checking thyroid at least once a year as a regular check-up should be ‘a must’, while an assumption that something is not right with it called for a doctor visit, and could save your sleep.