Hypothyroidism & Sleep Issues

Issue # 152  November 14, 2013

 

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.

I hope everyone is having a good day!

Today, Tom Brimeyer is going to explain why we wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. I have done this and you probably have too.

Enjoy.

Corri

Hypothyroidism & Sleep Issues

Today we’re going to talk about insomnia and sleep issues.
But before we do, I wanted to let you know that my son’s birthday party was a great success.
I’m not one to take the easy way out, so I put a lot of time and effort into making his birthday extra special. He definitely deserved it.
So, last week I left you with a bit of a riddle about insomnia and hormones. Now, if you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, then you know just how horrible and debilitating it can be.
You’re already struggling with fatigue and trying to muster the energy just to survive the day. Then when you’re so exhausted and all you want to do is sleep…
…You can’t sleep.
This can become quite the vicious cycle making life extremely difficult for you.
Well, we were talking about a hormone that tends to be chronically produced that has a huge affect on your quality of sleep, or lack thereof.
This hormone is none other than adrenaline.
Many hypothyroidism sufferers compensate for the lack of thyroid hormone by overproducing adrenaline.
The typical effects of adrenaline are symptoms such as elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, anxiety, panic, tremors, and hypertension.
But being one of your body’s primary stress hormones, it also has many stimulatory effects directly related to your body’s fight-or-flight response.
In other words, when your body is producing adrenaline, it’s essentially stimulating your cells and preparing you to take action and preventing you from relaxing.
Of course, stimulating your cells and preparing your body for action is pretty much the opposite of what your body needs to sleep.
So, when adrenaline levels peak at nighttime, they tend to wake you up and prevent you from falling back asleep.
To a large degree, the overproduction of adrenaline has to do with poor blood sugar regulation…
Your blood sugar tends to drop at night. This requires your liver to help regulate your blood sugar while you go for 8 hours or so without eating.
So, when your blood sugar drops, you produce adrenaline to stimulate your liver to assist in keeping your blood sugar from dropping too low.
But if your liver can’t respond efficiently, as in the case of hypothyroidism, then your adrenaline levels can continue to rise, oftentimes peaking at around 1 A.M. to 2.A.M. in the morning.
This is why many hypothyroidism sufferers can fall asleep, but then awaken very suddenly with a rapid heartbeat and unable to fall back asleep.
So, what can you do about it?
Anything that helps suppress the stress response, particularly adrenaline, will also help improve your sleep.
One of the simplest ways to down-regulate adrenaline is to increase your salt intake.
Salt is extremely protectively against stress, especially adrenaline, and is responsible for a number of critical functions in your body including…

  • Regulating blood volume and circulation
  • Helping with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your cells
  • Helping to regulate blood sugar
  • Increases metabolism and body temperature
  • Increases the production of carbon dioxide to support proper metabolism

The benefits of salt are extremely vast, but in the interest of time, we’ll discuss them in more detail at a future date.
Simply having a salty snack before bed or even upon waking in the night can help you fall asleep much faster and stay asleep longer. It’s best to just keep something by your bedside.
And don’t be overly concerned about any adverse effects of increasing your salt intake.
A lot of people are still led to believe that salt increases blood pressure and is associated with heart disease.
Hopefully you’re keeping up with the times as research does NOT support this at all.
In fact, even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) hired the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM) to analyze the latest research on salt.
The conclusion is that the CDC recently admitted that their salt recommendations were wrong and even dangerous.
Yes, restricting salt intake to less than 1 tsp. per day can actually be quite dangerous and be a positive risk factor for heart disease.
But I digress…
While salt will definitely help improve sleep, there are other factors involved as well.
Next we’ll be talking about something else that is also very important in overcoming insomnia and sleep issues.
And in case you want to learn everything you need to know to improve your sleep and overcome your insomnia for good, you might want to take a look at our full program, where we cover everything you need to know in detail:
Click here to learn more.
Talk soon,
Tom Brimeyer