Thyroid And Sleep Any Connection?
Posted By HealthcareOnTime Team
Posted on 2022-02-17
With a bone-numbing fatigue, Rama suffered from restlessness for months, facing difficulties
to sleep well. Constant anxiety with sleeplessness caused severe exhaustion and mood swings,
to which she was prescribedthyroid function test. Results showed alarming low levels of TSH
and elevated T3 and T4, diagnosing hyperthyroidism. Much to her dismay and shock, she realised
this mere sleep disturbance was not just work stress....
Sleep is a play of hormones, so is our metabolism, the haywire these hormones get, the more
ailments surface. An erratic metabolism of body zeroes down to the 2 inch butterfly shaped gland
Thyroid! Right from functioning as an engine to regulate involuntary functions like breathing,
heart rate, body temperature, nervous system functioning, it manages how body spends energy,
on the whole.
Do you stay widely awake in night? And face day-time sleepiness? Can't blame stress always for these. A sluggish thyroid or an overactive one, May be fueling these sleep disturbances.
Releasing two thyroid hormones, T3 and T4 whose levels are regulated by TSH (thyroid stimulating
hormone) produced by pituitary gland, which in turn is regulated by TRH (thyroid releasing hormone)
secreted by hypothalamus. Overall, they control the metabolism of each and every cell in our body.
Such intricate mechanism comes with a delicate balance, and is prone to disruption by nutritional
imbalances, allergens, and even stress. The varied functions it fuels, inevitably makes it respo-nsible
for our body's natural healing activity, Sleep
'Thyroid'-the hero and culprit of sleep!
Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid gland due to excessive T3 and T4 production, overstimulates
the nervous system, making it hard to fall asleep. Symptoms include night sweats, heat intolerance,
weight loss, restlessness.
Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid (lack of normal T3 and T4 production) fuels symptoms of
chillness, weight gain and constant severe exhaustion. Excessive daytime sleepiness and poor sleep
at night, causes an abnormal sleep architecture. Irregular doses of medications prescribed for these,
may cause fragmented sleep or insomnia.
Production and absorption of following essential factors, directly or indirectly,
kick-start/catalyse the cascade of sleep & are regulated by thyroid gland.
Production of melatonin, 'the sleep hormone', a regulator of body's circadian
rhythm and sleep patterns, involves Vitamin B 12. Vitamin B5 is important for
producing energy to fire neurotransmitters that aid thyroid, hormones in body's
metabolic functions. Thyroid hormones aid in Vitamin B-12's absorption while
melatonin fosters thyroid hormones production too. Hence, a deficiency of any
of the above lead to low thyroid levels, fueling sleep disorders.
Thyroid hormones are not magically produced, but involve nutrients like
zinc, copper, Magnesium, selenium (convert T4 to T3), vitamins (A, D, C,
B2 and B-12), iodine (produces T4), zinc (promotes TSH production). A
deficiency of these can disturb thyroid hormone levels. Thyroid disorders
further reduce their absorption causing sleep disorders. For e.g. Low thyroid
function causes a leaky and inflamed GI tract, reducing vitamin D absorption.
This disrupts calcium levels, thus affecting sleep, as calcium aids in
Thyroid patients struggling to sleep, must
- Do mild exercises/yoga in the morning, while meditation in
- Consume high-protein snack several hours before bedtime to
- Abstain from alcohol, heavy or fatty foods, or caffeine after 2pm.
- Eat nuts to boost adequate selenium levels and cherries to boost
body's own melatonin supply.
- Bask in the sun for adequate vitamin D levels.
- Use organic coconut oil for cooking and on skin to stimulate
metabolism and improve thyroid function.
Keep sleep-friendly bedroom environment and perform activities to relax 30 min before bedtime.
Eat foods rich in dairy products,Vitamin D and omega-fatty acids like salmon, eggs, etc.
Apart from these,
If one is a hypothyroid patient - avoid cruciferous veggies, soy products, gluten and go for fruits and
other dark green veggies, whole grains, nuts, fortified dairy products, beans.
If hyperthyroid - avoid iodine rich foods, hydrogenated vegetable oils, food allergens (soy), carbs;
consume cooked dark greens like spinach, collards, etc. (avoid eating raw).
Rama's story is relatable to many; while symptoms are tossed in the air as "everyday stress', a lot
of us when unable to sleep, resort to caffeine, binge eating, movies and the sleepless folks acquire
sleeping pills from health practitioners. Advices on 'sleep timings', 'diet' to overcome sleeplessness
are many, but knowing what's to be done and then doing it, are two different beasts. Will we ignore
these sleep disturbances as temporary bumps, or address them timely to stop what's going haywire
in our body? Do not let a sluggish thyroid or its hyperactivity, put your good night's sleep at dismay!