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This Is How Sleep Deprivation Can Lead To A Thyroid Condition

Many people with an existing thyroid condition have sleep issues.  And as I’m sure you know, not getting a sufficient amount of sleep each night can negatively affect your health.  In a recent article I actually discussed seven factors which can help you to obtain better quality sleep.  In this post I’m going to actually discuss how sleep deprivation can lead to the development of a thyroid condition.  Doing this will allow you to better understand the importance of getting proper sleep, so that hopefully you will make a better effort to follow the advice I gave in the past article.

For people working a normal shift, their cortisol levels should normally be at the highest levels in the morning, and then should steadily decrease throughout the day and be at the lowest levels right before going to bed.  The high cortisol levels will help to give them the energy they need to get through the day, while the low cortisol levels will help them to fall and stay asleep.

In order to maintain these “normal” cortisol levels, one of the things you need to do is to get a minimum of seven to eight hours sleep each night.  There are of course other factors which can affect the cortisol levels, such as eating refined foods and sugars frequently, as well as not doing a good job of managing the stress in your life.  But getting sufficient sleep each night is essential to maintaining your health.  Although some people are able to get by with only five or six hours sleep on a regular basis, most people can’t.  And sooner or later, the lack of sleep is likely to catch up with you.

So how can this lead to a thyroid condition?  Well, if you constantly get only five or six hours of sleep each night (or less than this), then over time this will weaken your adrenal glands.  By forcing yourself to stay up late every single night, not only will you be tired upon waking up, but you might decide to drink coffee or another stimulant during the day to keep you awake and alert.  Doing this will only further weaken the adrenal glands over time, and potentially could lead to severe adrenal fatigue.

As I have mentioned in past articles and posts, weak adrenal glands can lead to a thyroid condition in the following manner: having compromised adrenal glands will put the body in a state of catabolism.  This means the body is breaking down, and in order to slow down this process the body will attempt to slow down the metabolism, which of course is accomplished through the thyroid gland.  So frequently a personal with weak adrenal glands will develop hypothyroidism.  And since weak adrenal glands also affect immunity, this can and does frequently lead to an autoimmune thyroid condition, in this case Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Weak adrenals can also affect those with a hyperthyroid condition as well.  When I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, my Adrenal Stress Index test indicated that I had problems with my adrenal glands.  Although I didn’t feel fatigued, I did have low cortisol levels in the morning, and I’m pretty sure that I was in an early stage of adrenal fatigue.  So does this mean that weak adrenal glands caused my Graves’ Disease condition?  I can’t say for sure, as while the weak adrenal glands may have affected my immune system, which in turn contributed to the development of my autoimmune condition, whether or not it ultimately impacted my thyroid health is unknown, although there is a good chance this at least contributed to the condition.

I can tell you that whether you have a hypothyroid condition or a hyperthyroid condition, without correcting the adrenal gland problem it will be just about impossible to achieve optimal health.  And if you constantly neglect your sleep, it won’t be possible to restore your adrenal health back to normal.  So while you might need to modify other lifestyle factors as well (the way you eat, handle stress, etc.) in order to correct an existing adrenal problem, you really do need to make sure you get a sufficient amount of sleep each night if you want to fully recover.

In summary, not getting sufficient sleep each night can lead to problems with the adrenal glands.  This in turn can lead to the development of a thyroid condition.  So for anyone looking to restore their health through a natural treatment protocol, it is essential to correct the adrenal problem.  This will make it much easier to correct any immune system issues, as well as the malfunctioning thyroid gland itself.


 

12 Comments

  1. trevor says:

    as usual, great infomation Eric, thanks for your advice, Trevor

    • Dr. Eric says:

      You’re very welcome Trevor! I’m glad you continue to find the information to be valuable.

  2. Maggie says:

    My husband is a shift worker, working 12 hour day and night shifts.He has a 1 1/2 hour drive both ways for work as well. He has recently been diagnosed with Graves Disease. He still works these shifts and finds it hard to “switch off” to get enough sleep. I have just found your site and am looking forward to delving into it more deeply. Can you recommend ways for him to combat the effects of this lifestyle, apart from giving up his job? :)

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Maggie,

      I have found that it’s almost impossible for people who work rotating shifts to fully recover. So if he works 12 hours during the day sometimes, and then 12 hours during the night at other times, it will be extremely difficult for him to function, because over the long term this causes problems with the adrenal glands. So he can take certain herbs to help him sleep better (i.e. valerian root), along with other herbs to help him stay awake and focus when he is at work, but this of course is just managing the symptoms, and over time will lead to further problems with his adrenals.

  3. Laura says:

    Hi, I am 22 years old and have been a chronic insomniac since early childhood. It did not cause any problems for most of my life, but these past few months it got particularly bad. I am in my last year of college and took on a part time job this semester. This has caused a lot of stress and has often forced me to sleep quite late studying. I’ve been sleeping 4-6 hours for 3 months straight with an occasional 8 hours once or twice a week. My immune system has evidently taken a pretty hard blow and I’ve been getting sick all the time. Recently I did a general checkup and my doctor noticed that my resting heartbeat was extremely high (110 bpm!). This is something I’ve noticed on occasion since last month but had passed it off as temporary anxiety. Now I think it might be thyroid problems caused by my lack of sleep. I wanted to know if this can be cured simply through correcting my sleeping habits or would medication be required? And if medical treatment is needed, how long might I need to take it for

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Laura,

      You might be able to correct this problem by sleeping more, but it sounds like there’s more to it than just getting more sleep. Medication might be required, but of course doesn’t actually cure a thyroid condition (assuming this is the case), which is why I recommend for people to consult with a competent holistic doctor.

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