Sleep Solutions for Hashimoto’s
Inside: Are you suffering from Hashimoto's disease and have trouble sleeping at night? Here are some sleep solutions that might work for you if you suffer from Hashimoto's. These tips will help you get the most out of your slumber and finally get the rest you need!
Sleep is the primary healing time for both our body and mind - and if we don't get enough good quality sleep, our health suffers.
In fact, all-cause mortality rates are three times higher in sleep-deprived people!
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep is a huge stressor for the body and is the fastest way to cause adrenal dysfunction, which can initiate and maintain autoimmune thyroid disease.
It can also cause symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, low blood pressure, and a reduced ability to manage stress.
Adrenal glands and lack of sleep
Most people with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism have some degree of adrenal gland problems.
The adrenal glands are two small glands located above each kidney that release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
These “stress hormones” affect many important functions throughout the body. They help build our stress tolerance, tame inflammation, regulate blood sugar and body fat, control potassium, and sodium levels (affect blood sugar) and affect libido and anti-aging, among others.
Regular good sleep is extremely important for adrenal balance and can help us reset our body's circadian rhythms. It is also the most basic recommendation for adrenal health.
We need to have a "deep sleep", which is the recovery phase that promotes muscle repair and metabolism.
Brain fog and good sleep
It is also important to ensure that our brain gets REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, as this is the stage where the brain filters the information it receives during the day and transfers information from our short-term memory to our long-term memory movements. For this reason, good sleep helps reduce brain fog.
While for some people it's all about getting a good night's sleep, some people find it important to make sleep a priority, while others need help falling and staying asleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, it is obvious that you are not getting enough sleep due to the amount of time you spend sleeping. However, you're not getting enough sleep if you suffer from hypersomnia, which is likely due to poor sleep quality.
The circadian rhythm is the body's natural 24-hour biological clock. It helps us feel energized in the morning when the sun is shining and sleepy at night before bed.
Sleep helps establish and maintain the circadian rhythm - when this rhythm is disrupted, it can affect everything in the body, especially the immune system and hormonal balance.
An imbalanced circadian rhythm can lead to fatigue and increased sugar cravings during the day and make it difficult to fall asleep at night, even when our bodies are tired.
The endocrine system, which is made up of all the body's hormones, is closely intertwined with the circadian rhythm. TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is known to be affected by the sleep-wake cycle.
Sleep hygiene is a term that refers to all the practices used to ensure we get a good night's sleep. This can include the sleep environment we create for ourselves, our activities during the day, and the use of therapeutic devices and techniques to help us relax and get enough rest for the night.
Tips to promote sleep
Here are some of the tips that you can follow to promote sleep.
Limit caffeine or postpone it earlier in the day. Caffeine ingestion can certainly impact sleep, especially for those who are particularly sensitive to its stimulating effects.
Get lots of sunlight in the morning and throughout the day. I recommend going out for at least 20 minutes within the first hour of waking up (ideally before 8:00, but even if you wake up later, going out as soon as possible will change your circadian rhythm), and avoiding wearing sunglasses if possible.
Sunlight on our retina helps activate morning cortisol production and helps set our circadian rhythm for the day. Keeping the body in tune with the natural cycles of sunlight during the day and darkness at night will help regulate sleep hormones and promote better sleep.
Sleep in a dark room
A dark room helps with better sleep.
There are several ways to darken your room:
- Use blackout curtains.
- Turn off all lights (including nightlights).
- Try wearing a sleep mask.
- Cover up any flashing or tiny lights in your home. Use black duct tape to cover the smoke detector lights (be sure to check regularly if the smoke detector is still working) or anything else with a small light always on.
- Make sure you have an alarm clock that you can use to turn off the light.
- Make sure your phone doesn't blink all night when you turn it on.
Turn the lights off
Try to avoid bright lights at least half an hour or two hours before bed.
Mild lighting in the evening
Candlelight and salt lamps, as well as some red lights, can provide adequate lighting for most evening activities, while still promoting melatonin production.
Reduce screentime before bed
Stop watching TV and watching your phone or computer two hours before bed. You can also use a blue blocker app, the "night mode" setting on your phone, or opt for blue blocking glasses, to minimize the effect of light screens on melatonin.
Avoid screens completely if possible. Even five minutes of white light from a screen blocks melatonin production and can sabotage our sleep quality.
Create a journaling habit. Often the inability to fall asleep stems from an overactive mind. Sometimes jotting down thoughts that come to mind allows us to let go, release stress, and rest.
Simply write down any thoughts that come to your mind. Put all your worries, fears, and events of the day on paper, without judgment. So close your notebook and let those thoughts go.
Make a to-do list
Write down all the tasks you need to do in your head and assign them each day you tackle them. You'll rest better if you know you have a plan and don't have to keep the list in your head.
Take a moment each day to write down the things you are grateful for and notice how this positive focus begins to change your attitude and your ability to find peace.
Apart from this, Magnesium deficiency can be linked to insomnia. Magnesium is important for balancing our levels of glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter that can lead to sleep deprivation and anxiety) and for the production of serotonin (a precursor of melatonin, our sleep hormone).
Hence, sleep can be problematic for many people with Hashimoto's, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to curing the circadian rhythm and getting consistent, quality sleep. It's important to collect data, experiment, and find what works best for you.
Suffering from a chronic disease like thyroid, gut problem, weight issues, autoimmune issues, etc... is not easy. Dr. Gupta is a certified Functional Medicine Physician and his personalized plans have helped thousands of people to reclaim their health back.
Now you can get virtual functional medicine consultation from anywhere in the country, especially if you live in Houston, Toledo, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, NEW YORK & Miami. Please click below to get started with a 15-minute free evaluation call with Dr. Gupta.