Many people with Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis have difficulty obtaining quality sleep. Quality sleep is of course important in the recovery process, especially when following a natural treatment protocol.
Some have difficulty falling to sleep at night, while others have no problem falling asleep, but frequently wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to fall back to sleep. Others have both of these problems. And some people sleep throughout the night for seven to eight hours, but still wake up exhausted.
While there are numerous factors that can lead to sleep disorders, many times the problems are related to the adrenal glands, which is yet another reason why it is important to test your adrenals, which I spoke about in a previous post. Regulating the adrenal glands can help a great deal when it comes to getting quality sleep, as well as overcoming cases of chronic fatigue.
But rather than get to the cause of the problem, what frequently happens is that when someone has sleeping difficulties their doctor will recommend medication to help them obtain quality sleep. Or sometimes they will visit a health food or nutritional supplement store and purchase some “natural” sleep aids. While these may help (although not always), you obviously don’t want to rely on taking medication or even supplements in order to get a good night’s sleep.
I’ve made a number of posts on adrenal health, so I won’t go into too much detail here on this topic. But I will reinforce that much of these adrenal problems are due to chronic stress and poor eating habits. So for anyone who thinks they can restore their adrenal health back to normal just by taking supplements, think again. If you don’t manage the stress in your life and begin eating better, your adrenal glands will remain stressed out, and you will continue to have sleeping difficulties.
You might wonder how “stressed out” adrenals can cause sleeping difficulties. To better explain this, let’s look at an example of how one’s cortisol levels should normally be throughout the day.
Upon waking up in the morning (assuming you’re on a normal sleep schedule and not working a third shift), your cortisol levels should be at the highest levels. Then throughout the day these levels should begin declining, and should ideally be at the lowest levels at the end of the day, which makes it easier to fall asleep.
This is the ideal situation, but some people have a reverse circadian pattern, where their cortisol levels are low in the morning, and high at night. When this happens, frequently the person is tired throughout the day, and due to the high cortisol levels at night they usually have difficulty falling asleep.
Keep in mind that these symptoms aren’t always immediate, as when I was first diagnosed with Graves’ Disease and had an Adrenal Stress Index done, my morning cortisol levels were low, yet I didn’t feel too fatigued. In fact, I felt like I had a good amount of energy at the time.
But had I not addressed the adrenal problem then there is an excellent chance that over time I would have become symptomatic with regards to feeling fatigued. Your body will do everything it can to adapt to the chronic stress in your life, poor eating, etc., but it can only do so for so long.
While high cortisol levels are frequently responsible for sleeping difficulties, a person waking up at night can have either a high or a low cortisol level, which is why Dr. Janet Lang (a natural endocrine expert) suggests that a person who has difficulty sleeping throughout the night receive a one-sample cortisol test. The reason for this is because there are different natural treatment protocols for high and low cortisol levels, and you don’t want to give someone with high cortisol levels the wrong protocol, and vice versa.
Once again, adrenal problems aren’t the only reason why people have sleeping difficulties. But it is one of the most common reasons, if not THE most prominent reason why people can’t get quality sleep at night. So if you aren’t getting quality sleep each night, then I highly recommend that you get your adrenal glands tested, as this very well might be the reason behind your sleeping difficulties.