Finding it hard to sleep at night? Your thyroid gland could be the culprit.
One of the most common underlying dysfunctions of the clients I work with is thyroid and on the extreme end – hypothyroidism.
Many know the basics of thyroid (i.e.: “if I have cold hands and cold feet it must be my thyroid”), but often don’t know it’s connection to “thyroid insomnia”.
How Thyroid Effects Your Sleep
Thyroid affects your sleep in several ways. At its core, your thyroid gland controls the metabolic function of nearly all of our body’s cells, because when there is an imbalance and it’s not working at 100% – it can directly affect the systems in our body that keep you up at night (or not fall asleep).
One of the biggest is hormones. Here are some of the most common I see:
Cortisol: Released by the adrenal glands and linked with the thyroid, an imbalance in thyroid can cause an imbalance in the adrenals glands and cortisol levels. Cortisol (highest in the morning) tells our body to be awake and alert, but if thyroid hormones aren’t in balance, the adrenal glands can produce too much cortisol – making it hard to fall asleep (think of that wired but tired feeling). It can also cause higher levels of cortisol in the middle of our sleep cycle and cause us to wake up, impacting how we feel the next day.
Testosterone: A low functioning thyroid or hypothyroidism can lower testosterone which reduces sleep quality. When sleep quality is low, testosterone is low, thus leading to decreased muscle, fatigue, and lethargy.
Estrogen & progesterone: Estrogen levels (aiding falling asleep and staying asleep) can drop with hypothyroidism, causing hot flashes and waking up in the middle of the night. When progesterone levels fall, anxiety and sleep apnea can begin to occur.
How Do I Know If It’s My Thyroid?
The best way to know for sure is to TEST (specifically advanced testing – something I do with all my clients), but assessing your symptoms can be a good way to start guiding you where to look.
For many people, a sub-optimal functioning thyroid usually happens from:
- Miscommunication between the thyroid, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland
- Your body not converting T4 into T3 properly
- T3 not properly being absorbed or reaching its final destination
- Possible structural issues
[Show thyroid factors that affect it]
When you go to your conventional medical doctor and want to screen for potential thyroid issues, often they will order a blood test looking at TSH alone without looking at the full picture. If your TSH (or related thyroid hormones) come back low enough to be classified as hypothyroidism, normally the doctor will prescribe you a synthetic thyroid hormone (Synthroid, Levo-T, etc.) which you’ll need to take for the rest of your life.
But what about all the other systems and processes in your body that could be contributing to thyroid dysfunction? There’s so much to look at and things that could be improved upon, yet there’s no attempt to look at these underlying factors – just take a medication on the symptom level.
Doctors are amazing – they save lives and provide quality of life to millions of people around the world every day. It’s just the paradigm they are coming from with it is outdated. If all they are given is a hammer, everything is going to look like a nail.
However the solution is a little more complex, requiring us to see the FULL picture of why our thyroid isn’t functioning as well as it could be. When we address the problem from THIS place, people can start seeing changes and results a lot faster.
If you suspect thyroid issues to blame for your sleep and low energy levels, I invite you to schedule a time to talk with me directly HERE for a complimentary consultation (no obligation).
Together, we’ll narrow down what might be going on “under the hood” of your biology and get closer to its root cause head-on.
(Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only, and does not substitute for medical advice)