How thyroid issues affect sleep

How thyroid issues affect sleep


The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped endocrine gland present in the front of the neck. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are important for many body functions. The thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland present at the base of the brain. It maintains thyroid hormone levels in the blood.  Thyroid and pituitary together produce Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH). TSH produces T3 and T4 hormones. Thyroid function influences every system and organ of the body.

Thyroid issues:

Low production of the thyroid hormone, under-active thyroid gland, or low levels of thyroid hormones in the body, is referred as hypothyroidism and it leads to slow working of the body. Too much production of the thyroid hormone, overactive thyroid gland, or high levels of thyroid hormones in the body, is referred to as hyperthyroidism. It leads to the body working too fast. Other thyroid issues include enlarged thyroid gland and formation of a lump in the thyroid gland.

Thyroid issues and sleep:

Sleep is a complex process of the body and is controlled by different factors including thyroid hormone. Proper sleep is important for good health. Good sleep maintains the proper functioning of the brain, regulates emotions, heals blood vessels and heart, and regulates appetite by maintaining a healthy balance of hormones in the body. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism both affect sleep. T3 and t4 hormones have significant effects on the rate of metabolism in the body. Generally, these hormones control how fast and slow the body organs are working and determine the amount of energy produced by the body.

Thyroid hormone is involved in many processes of the body, so when they are very low the patient can have both night and daytime symptoms, including poor sleep at night and fatigue throughout the day. It also increases the risk of sleep disorders. Many patients with thyroid issues have sleep apnea. Thyroid issues prevent the most important and deepest sleep of the patient.

Thyroid problems are associated with following symptoms which significantly affect the sleep:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic sleepiness in daytime
  • Inappropriate sleep times
  • Cravings to sleep
  • Oversleeping
  • Tiredness

Hyperthyroidism and sleep:

When there is excessive production of the thyroid, it makes the body hyperactive. In an overactive thyroid, the patient is unable to get relaxed or sleep even at night. Patients can’t fall asleep easily, it takes too long, and then sleep feels unable to maintain. Overactive thyroid increases the energy levels of the body and can lead to sleepwalking, which can be dangerous. In hyperthyroidism, blood pressure, pulse rate and general metabolism rate increases. An overactive thyroid makes it hard to sleep, causes night sweats, leads to nighttime arousal and over stimulates the nervous system of the body.

Hypothyroidism and Sleep: lesser production of thyroid hormone makes the body under-active. Inactive body causes fatigue, tiredness and makes the patient sleep anywhere. It significantly affects the sleep patterns at night because of the patient experiencing daytime sleepiness. Patients mostly feel sleepy and cold. In this condition, patients are at high risk of developing sleep apnea. It can cause sleeping problems or sleep maintenance insomnia. It is more common in women.