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The Link Between Thyroid Problems and Insomnia

an image of a girl with insomnia.

Insomnia is a common problem experienced by millions of people worldwide. But what most individuals fail to realize is that insomnia is not only a disorder, but it can also be a sign of an underlying condition, such as thyroid diseases.

So, before you can treat thyroid problems and insomnia, you have to understand the link between these two in order to find a practical solution.

The Thyroid Gland and Its Essential Functions

At the base of your neck, you can find a butterfly-shaped gland known as the thyroid.

Here, two kinds of hormones are produced: T3 and T4. The T3 is the active form, which means that it can be readily used by the cells, whereas the T4 is the inactive hormone that is stored and converted to its active form when necessary.

When there is a balance of hormones in your body and the thyroid is working correctly, you can hardly notice the function of the gland.

However, when the thyroid malfunctions or when there is hormonal imbalance you will experience various problems such as insomnia.

How Thyroid Problems Affect Your Sleeping Patterns

Thyroid problems and insomnia are linked with each other because of several factors.

Below are the common reasons why thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism often lead to insomnia:

Thyroid hormone imbalance

When there is an imbalance of the T3 and T4 hormones, it affects the adrenal gland causing irregularities in your circadian rhythms.

The moment your adrenal is overworked, the cortisol levels in your body surges any time of the day, and even during night time. High cortisol levels throughout the day are beneficial because it helps keep you awake and gives you sufficient energy to sustain your daily activities.

However, when the cortisol level remains elevated at night, your body stays energized making it difficult to fall asleep.

Incorrect drug usage

Another reason why you might simultaneously experience thyroid problems and insomnia is inadequate drug dosage.

That is why people who have been taking thyroid medications for a prolonged period may choose to alter the dosage, especially if they notice changes in their sleeping pattern.

Nutrient deficiency

If you are struggling with thyroid problems, such as insomnia, then there is a high possibility that you are getting insufficient nutrients, as shown in these studies on Thyroid Advisor. Usually, those with thyroid conditions are low in low vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. There are also those who suffer from anemia.

Other reasons for nutrient deficiency include poor food choices, digestion issues, and waste elimination problems. Inadequate nutrients in the body lower your resistance to stress, while the imbalance of hormones and sugar causes anxiety.

The increased anxiety and stress interferes with a good night’s rest and could even result in insomnia if left untreated.

Efficient Ways of Treating the Underlying Problem

If you check online, you can find numerous treatments for thyroid problems and insomnia. But what most people fail to understand is that these conditions can be complicated, and the procedures vary from one person to another.

However, there are three common reasons why people simultaneously suffer from it.

Treat hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism

Before treating your thyroid problems and insomnia, you need to consult your physician and undergo a thorough examination. This will help identify the problem and the appropriate solution.

If you feel that the recommended regimen is not working, inform your physician so necessary changes can be made.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of psychotherapy treatment, which aims to alter your behavior and thinking patterns in dealing with stressful situations.

According to a study conducted by Harvard University through CBT, you can condition your mind and your body to induce deep sleep. A total of 63 insomniacs participated in the research and majority favored CBT over sleeping pills. The time that the participants needed to fall asleep was reduced to half, and there was a 17 percent improvement in the quality of sleep.

Regular exercise

Contrary to what most people think, regular exercise can actually help with insomnia, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Participants in the study were inactive females aged 57 to 60 years old.

They were encouraged to exercise at least 30 minutes every day while their sleeping patterns were monitored. At the end 16 weeks, all the women showed an improvement in the duration of their sleep.

The researchers pointed out that regular exercise is not a quick treatment for insomnia because this technique needs consistency.

It also needs to be done for several weeks before a significant improvement in the sleeping patterns can be observed.

Dealing with thyroid problems and insomnia requires patience since there are no quick solutions for these conditions.

But even if these health issues are complicated, you can find a treatment as long as you discuss with your doctor the different options available.

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