The Connection between Hypothyroidism Adrenal Burnout and Sleep Insomnia
7 Tips for Better Sleeping… Dr. Richard Hagmeyer Naperville Institute For Neuro-Metabolic Solutions. Naperville IL
Along with the symptoms of feeling cold, brittle hair and nails, depression, weight gain, an alarming number of men and woman are unable to find restful sleep.
Restful sleep is essential to good health. While you sleep, your brain is hard at work forming the pathways necessary for learning and creating memories and new insights.
Without enough quality sleep, you can’t focus you can’t con concentrate, you might be irritable and snappy with the husband, kids, or coworkers, you run around as if your in a fog. Life can be miserable!
Despite growing support for the idea that adequate sleep, like adequate nutrition and physical activity, is vital to our well-being, people are sleeping less. The nonstop “24/7” nature of the world today encourages longer or nighttime work hours and offers continual stimulation and entertainment. All of this nonstop activity puts stress on the adrenal glands and this can have a negative impact on thyroid function.
If you are serious about restoring function to your thyroid by implementing a Holistic- Functional Medicine Approach, then it is vital that you investigate the relationship between blood sugar control, adrenal gland function, Thyroid function and sleep disturbances. It’s best to work with a doctor who understands this vital connection and understands how these areas are interwoven.
Difficulty falling asleep is called sleep onset insomnia (SOI). It is important that cortisol is at its highest level in the morning and at its lowest level at night for normal sleep to occur, along with waking up refreshed and energized. When the cortisol balance is off, sleep patterns can be affected.
High cortisol levels are typical of people suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, especially in the early stages.
This happens when the adrenals are on over-drive, putting out excessive cortisol throughout the day in order to deal with the constant stress. Some of the excess cortisol even carries into the night and this will affect the ability to fall asleep, leading to SOI. At the same time, stress triggers the adrenal medulla, which then produces excessive amounts of adrenaline (a hormone responsible for the fight or flight response).
A high adrenaline level can independently disturb sleep patterns as the body is on full alert.
This state is can commonly be described as a feeling of Tired and Wired.
High cortisol and high adrenaline can occur simultaneously and this is common for those who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue.
- Avoid adrenal stimulators It is very important to avoid certain foods and chemicals in order to avoid excessive stress on the adrenal glands. Sugary foods, caffeine and decaffeinated drinks of all kinds are to be avoided. Nicotine, alcohol, allergic foods, Food you have known Sensitivities to, green tea, and chocolates are common offenders. Herbs and glandular products, unless approved by your health care professional, should also be avoided. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats such as deep fried foods and shortenings as they inhibit steroid hormone production.
- Turn off your computer, TV, loud music, excitatory video games, and other devices that may trigger an adrenaline/Cortisol rush after 6 p.m. That means no last minute emails or work in bed with laptop. Instead, Try reading books in a quiet environment during the evening.
- Limit the amount of light exposure into the room. Even a small amount of light can reduce melatonin output from our brains. Melatonin is an important sleep-regulating hormone.
- Be Consistent with the time you go to bed. This helps reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle and can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
- Experiment with taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Relaxing activities done with lowered lights can
- Obtain An ASI Test. An Adrenal Stress Index test will measure the levels of cortisol, which can affect your sleep. For example, someone who has high cortisol levels at night probably will have a difficult time falling asleep, and/or will wake up in the middle of the night. Low cortisol levels in the morning can make it difficult for people to wake up in the morning. So high cortisol levels at night and low cortisol levels in the morning can interfere with your sleep. And by obtaining an ASI test it can be determined whether or not your cortisol levels need to be regulated through a natural treatment protocol.
- Work with a doctor who looks at the big picture. Blood sugar imbalances, Adrenal fatigue/burnout, Hormone imbalance and Diet must all be implemented.
Avoid working with doctors who just diagnose you over the internet or over the phone without proper testing. Dont let a doctor or natural health care provider just tell you to take these supplements. The Best approach is to work with a doctor who will work with your diet as well.
Taking nutritional supplements and herbs (i.e. melatonin, valerian root, Passion Flower, GABA etc.) can help someone sleep better. However, taking these natural sleep remedies and herbs should only be on a temporary basis. It’s also important to understand that these natural sleep aids don’t correct the underlying cause.
I personally don’t believe in seeing anyone continuously taking supplements and/or herbs to help them sleep. If you eat well, exercise regularly, and do a good job of following our 7 Tips For Better Sleeping Naturally then you really shouldn’t have a problem obtaining deep restful sleep each night.
Getting back to the basic lifestyle factors, Blood sugar balance, optimal Adrenal and Thyroid function is the key. Many people believe they are eating well and doing all the right things, but the truth is that most people who think they eat well can do better, and most people believe that their thyroid is ok because their doctor/endocrinologist said so.
These Seven Tips I have just shared form the basis of my treatment program for people suffering with Sleep disturbances, Insomnia and Thyroid problems.
You Can learn more about the tests we use in our office to help people with Sleep, Blood sugar, Thyroid and Adrenal problems here
Schedule a Free 15 minute Phone Consultation with Dr Hagmeyer here.
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