Thyroid and Sleep: What’s the Connection?

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Your thyroid is that butterfly shaped gland in your neck that produces hormones that regulate metabolism and energy. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include extreme fatigue, depression, weight gain and sleep problems. I was diagnosed with it in my late 20s when I stopped sleeping well and my energy levels dropped. For me, a combination of natural supplements, diet and prescription worked best.

The American Thyroid Association estimates that as many as 60 million Americans are unaware that they have some sort of thyroid issue. There is a connection between thyroid and sleep. If you suffer from insomnia or irregular sleep patterns, then you may want to have some blood work done. This may be the first step in getting a good night’s sleep.

So how do you fix it?

There are many solutions and finding the one that works for you is very personal. Here are some options. 

· Synthetic thyroxine. Thyroxine (T4) is the major hormone produced by the thyroid gland and pure synthetic T4, taken once daily by mouth, has been the go-to solution for years. For some this works well.

· Desiccated animal thyroid. Desiccated (dried and powdered) animal thyroid, now mainly obtained from pigs, was the most common form of thyroid therapy 40 years ago, before T4 was able to be synthesized in a pure form. Some people find that this version is better tolerated. It is the medication recommended by Dr. Joseph Mercola. It is also available as a compound.

· Iodine. Iodine is the key to a healthy thyroid and efficient metabolism, and even comprises a large part of the thyroid hormone molecule itself. Consuming sea vegetables like kelp can help increase your iodine levels.

· Support your adrenals. Adrenal health plays a huge role in thyroid function and vice versa. If your adrenals have been overworked because of ongoing stress, it may time to start supporting the adrenal glands.

Before you start taking iodine or adrenal support products, I would strongly recommend seeing a natural health care practitioner who can help you determine what solution is best for you based on a health history questionnaire and comprehensive laboratory tests.

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