Do you have insomnia? If you’ve been struggling to fall asleep, or can’t sleep through the night, there are a few different factors you need to consider. You might be dealing with a chronic pain, have acid reflux, or have some unaddressed mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression. Insomnia could also be a sign of problems with your thyroid gland, and learning more about your thyroid could help you get that good night’s sleep you’ve been craving.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system, and is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. You can find your thyroid gland by putting two fingers on the side of your windpipe. When you swallow, you’ll be able to feel the gland moving under your fingers. This gland is responsible for creating and releasing thyroid hormones into the blood stream. These hormones regulate body temperature and metabolic rate, as well as affecting heart function, muscle control, digestive function, and even mood.
There are two main dysfunctions of the thyroid gland, and if it is overactive or underactive, you may struggle with a lot of health problems. Because the thyroid gland regulates so many systems in the body, it can be difficult to know if the thyroid is malfunctioning. You’ll need to visit your doctor for a simple blood test that will show the doctor if your thyroid is functioning correctly or not. Thyroid problems are relatively common, and roughly 12% of Americans will experience thyroid under- or over-activity at some point in their lives.
An overactive thyroid is a condition called hyperthyroidism, and you’ll have far too many thyroid hormones in your blood stream. This can cause some major sleep problems, and when the thyroid is working overtime, it overstimulates and speeds up your nervous system. You’ll experience anxiety, feel jittery, or have a racing pulse. At first, you may have endless energy, but soon you’ll start to feel overwhelming fatigue. With hyperthyroidism you’ll struggle to fall asleep, and experience restlessness and night sweats when you lay down at night.
Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid, characterized by too little thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the thyroid isn’t active enough, your whole body will slow down, and you’ll be easily tired and prone to feelings of sadness or depression. Even if you sleep for 9 hours in the night, you’ll have trouble having energy to get out of bed or accomplish tasks. This feeling of exhaustion is often accompanied by feeling cold, struggling to get motivated, and not being able to think clearly. Those with hypothyroidism often experience weight gain, dry skin, constipation, muscle weakness or aches, and pain or swelling in the joints. Women are more likely to struggle with hypothyroidism than men, and struggle with feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.
Treating Thyroid Problems
If you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, medication can help you get your life back, and regulate your sleep cycles. Whether you’re sleeping too much or too little, your doctor will check your thyroid levels and help you get them back under control. Thyroid problems can also affect the upper respiratory system, leading to sleep problems such as sleep apnea, a condition that blocks the airway when you sleep, causing you to wake up repeatedly during the night and affecting your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Sound Sleep Medical
If you’ve been struggling to sleep at night, visit us at Sound Sleep Medical where our team of sleep specialists will help you resolve your sleep issues. If you think you might have thyroid problems, visit your doctor, then see us for tips to help you sleep. Be sure you’re sleeping in a dark, cool room, and get a white noise machine if there are noises waking you up in the middle of the night. Establish good sleep habits, such as a regular bedtime and wake up time, and remove distractions like your TV and cell phone from the bedroom. We also have treatments for obstructive sleep apnea that will have you sleeping soundly through the night, and together we’ll explore all the options to ensuring you’re able to sleep soundly.