insomnia and soya

I have noticed that my chronic insomnia seems to strike when I have (mistakenly) eaten something containing soya or soya lecithin . soya has insidiously crept into so many foods today - for example, try finding a sliced loaf which DOESNT contain soya flour!!

What happens to me is Despite being physically exhausted , I feel wired and am unable to get to sleep sometimes awake all night.Sonetimes this happens 2 or 3 times a week.

has anyone else had similar experiences? Or perhaps I'm clutching at straws and it's neurological.


49 Replies

  • Daffers, do you realize you've eaten soy before you try to sleep or next day after you've been up all night?

    All these 'prepared foods' are a minefield of additives, preservatives, and adulterants. We need to read the label before we buy.

  • Both! I try my best to avoid it and most other chemicals, sulphites etc. but sometimes when I am up all night, and I go back over what Ive eaten, I can take a guess at the culprit!

  • Daffers, it's sugar too. Processed foods have lots of sugar and salt added which masks the cheap ingredients. And use soy oil, canola and who knows what else.

    If you eat fresh ingredients and cook it yourself, then you have the control. Just have to be organized and make a commitment. As my doctor said the other day when I told her how difficult it is to cook for one when a person has been cooking all their adult life for a family 'that's what freezers are for'. (OKay, okay, mostly eat for one, not cook for one. ;)) She's doing the same thing these days. SHE looks better for it. Must say, I'm having to be extremely disciplined about it all. Good food goes down too easy. And so much for the guy on the radio the other day who said that full flavoured food is too satisfying to overeat. Yeah, right, whatever.

  • So since your post above I have noticed sugar makes me feel bad. Well, sugary foods - so perhaps I can't digest it.

    It's not easy to be disciplined about food, I find -especially when feeling lethargic with hypo, can't be bothered etc. I am getting up in the night to get food - even tho have eaten properly most of the time. Getting fatter - rather a blow since lost weight On t3 only but got mega anxiety instead. So no more T3 but about to try NDT. You must miss cooking for family, how on earth do you bother just for one.!

  • Daffers, I used to do a lot of hiking (not your couple of hours but days). I noticed that stuff like trail mix actually depleted my energy. I don't understand how people eat that garbage. Anyway, fatty stuff mixed with sugar and protein was what made for energy.

    How do I bother for cooking for just me? I am self disciplined, that's all. I know that I need proper food to function well. I don't miss cooking for everyone. I just have trouble gauging how much to cook. Or more like how to stop eating. It's really difficult to cook for one person efficiently. But as my doctor said 'that's what freezers are for'. She's single now as well and her kids have left home.

    Good thing I got home. The Lord Thunderings just started. Next the downpour. It's like the tropics out there and i know the tropics. I took the bus today. Signaled too early for my stop and the driver appeared to be a little pissy about it. I told him 'I'm a route 88B virgin'. That got a laugh out of him and then he got very helpful. (I'm such an innocent transit passenger. The last time I took transit to work was 1981 in Trinidad. I was thinking about that this morning while having missed my bus and waiting, waiting for the next one which was supposed to be 7 minutes and was actually 20. Gahhhh.)

    All the bus vibrations actually helped my agonizingly painful back to ease up. I thought, 'hey stupid, if you would have been taking the bus for all these years, your back might have benefited from vibration therapy'.

  • Hello Daffers123,

    There is much divided opinion on whether soy directly affects the thyroid glands function or not. However most say that this is true in people suffering hypothyroidism with an iodine deficiency?

    Dr Hyman of the link below says

    YES to whole, real soy. The Okinawans are the world’s longest-lived people, probably in part because of their diet. For more than five millennia, they’ve eaten whole, organic and fermented soy foods like miso, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and edamame (young soybeans in the pod). One to two servings a day of any of these foods are fine.

    Say NO to processed soy. That includes soy protein isolate and concentrates, genetically engineered soy foods (typically made from Monsanto’s Roundup soybeans), soy supplements, and soy junk foods like soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy oil, and soy burgers. They don’t have the thousands of years of traditional use that whole soy foods do, are processed, and contain unhealthy fats and other compounds. I have real concerns about these types of soy.

    My nutritionist said soya lecithin was fine anyway because it had some process performed that meant the dubious bits likely to stimulate the thyroid gland had already been removed.

    I would say go with what your body tells you. We are all different.


  • Thanks Flower, very interesting. will read the Dr Hyman stuff with interest

  • Thanks for that! I am seeing a doctor who is trained in Functional Medicine right now.

  • I have the same with chocolate/cheese. Keeps me awake all night. Just simply cannot sleep at all. So I think any food you cannot tolerate can keep you awake.

  • Most chocolate has soy added.

  • But what is added is soy lecithin and some suggest that this is so highly purified that what may apply in general to soy (e.g. the beans, the oil, the various other extracts and isolates) does not apply.

    A few manufacturers of some niche products are now using non-soy lecithin - possibly in response to the anti-soy feeling, but possibly for other reasons.

  • The missing Grey Goose would not be convinced!

  • I don't know that I am convinced, but it is an argument/discussion point. Would be good to be more sure.

    Mind, some are questioning the use of emulsifiers at all because of the effect they can have on absorption...

    (Don't think Grey Goose is entirely missing - check her profile.)

  • Showing my tech ignorance again . I know a profile shows if clicking name above a post but how do you find someone without a recent post?

  • Go here:

    Type in name...

  • Thanks

  • Grey Goose has been pretty much driven off the forum. I myself do very little on here myself now.

  • Why ? Whatever happened ? I thought Grey was great, she was very helpful with advice she gave me over time


  • Maybe you could PM her and she will tell you what happened.

  • Driven off? I can understand fatigue over repeating the same advice and being swamped by the number of posts.Must admit I no longer read them all , there are just too many and time is short.

  • yes, driven off.

  • yes I will PM her right away. I miss her input which was always helpful

  • I cant tolerate the soy lecithin either, have found that out through trial and error, but wasn't sure whether it was soy or lecithin which I had to avoid!

    From what you say I might be ok with sunflower (or other) lecithin, whatever lecithin is - presume its something which enables the choc to be runny ie to cover biscuits etc ?

    Thanks for info

  • I understand an allergy to soy was connected to the amount of protein concentration it contained.

    As soy lecithin ....(which is added to food in very small proportions anyway) ...only contains about 35%.... ( but this varies depending on manufacturer).... it becomes acceptable to a lot of people who are otherwise intolerant to soy.

    I was always against soy as suspected it stimulated the thyroid...(not good in Hashi sufferers)... but the latest evidence (medical papers) that I have read...seem to indicate it is ok.

    I still avoid it but have a little soy lecithin which is quite difficult to eradicate from your diet altogether.


  • True too but I am highly sensitive to dairy in any form.

  • Yes - the only one I currently know doesn't is Cadburys Dairy Milk. Green & Blacks, Bournville, Thorntons, Chocolate biscuits, chos fingers - they all have soy or soya lecithin!

    Should keep us thin anyway!!

  • Some of the products branded Cadbury's Dairy Milk contain soya - for example, mint puddles - so lots of care and attention required.

  • Why am I not surprised!! Thanks for warning. Looks like will have to read every label

  • But did you have these problems before thyroid issues ?

    Mine all seemed to start during menopause and after I had been on Levo for 7 years, and became overmedicated- no-one noticed. Worst symptoms were of UTI which wouldn't go away, but tests showed clear. had lots of anti biotics till idiot GP tested my blood/thyroid (at my request as hair falling out) Ever since then I have had digestive troubles and intolerances.

  • Hi Justina

    I was very interested in your post re food keeping you awake. This is exactly what happens to me, and I try and try to eliminate things to avoid the insomnia. Its a weird sort of insomnia too - and I now recognise it. Does it cause your heart to speed up ? Half the time I think its in my imagination so am really glad its not just me

    Best wishes


  • Dairy speeds up my heart rate.

    So does certain fillers in multivitamin. Last summer I started to take cheap complex B and I could have my heart racing for hours as it also kept me awake.

    I switched to spray and that fixed it. Corn was the culprit I assume as I seem to be intolerant to that.

    Then again I seem to have weird reactions to many food and never sure what it is gonna be. Sometimes nausea, dizziness, aching all over body, physical anxiousness, sneezing , coughing, rash etc.

    Now I consume dairy once or twice a month and that I can now tolerate without getting insomnia.

    So from my experience I can say it is trial and error.

    My list of food to avoid is : dairy, rice, corn, gluten, tomato, strawberry, coffee, banana, sugar, alcohol, soy and maybe some more but cannot remember all now :P

  • Justina,

    Many find taking B vits before 1pm to be beneficial as they are known to perhaps create sleep disturbances if taken later in the day.


  • I have no issues with current B I am taking. I can take full dose b12 just before sleeping and I am fine.

    But the cheap brand I had to take before bedtime as it made my heart racing so fast 12 hours after taking that I could not sleep. So I figured it was the fillers as current one is fine whatever is the time.

  • Great.

    Marz says she takes hers at bedtime too!


  • I get physical anxiety too -seemingly for no reason.So it could be food related ! Your list of food to avoid is much same as mine - haven't thought if corn but maybe that's bad for me too. So interested in the anxiety though. I get sharp joint pain in hips and arms and some muscle ache sometimes.......but the wired and tired feeling at night is just AWFUL

  • My partner is allergic (not just intolerant) to soya and cannot even tolerate soy lecithin.

  • Could it be adrenals disrupting sleep ?

  • Hi Marz

    Sorry for late reply, been moving house. Was interested in your suggestion re adrenals as have just had saliva test for same. Results are

    Cortisol sample 1. 34.49. H (7.45-32.56)

    Sample 2 6.07 2.76-11.31

    Sample 3 3.59. 1.38-7.45

    sample 4. 2.48

    Sum of cortisol. 46.6

    DHEA. Mean 0.27

    DHEA cortisol ratio. 0.013 L. 0.015-0.150

    I have been wondering about my adrenals for some time - do you have a comment on my results please ?

    read your link to low DHEA (Suzy Cohen) - very interesting. Do you take it ?

    Have been hypo for 10 years but past 3 have become unstable on Levo. not sure if I should change to NDT



  • Am afraid I do not know a great deal about adrenals - except that if it is out of synch at night time - if can disrupt the sleep pattern. It needs to be higher in the morning on waking and low at night to allow you to go to sleep. There wasn't a range for your 4th result .

    I had mine done here in Crete - different measurements - and they were slightly raised. Could be due to inflammation I was told - as I have a poorly back and Crohns plus Hashimotos !

    I do not take anything for the adrenals - except VitC in high doses. I am also T3 only. Oh yes and I do sleep well - I was once a poor sleeper - awake for hours on end. That now happens rarely..... Have you tried taking your B12 at night - if you take it that is ?

  • Marz,

    in many people Vit B can make the brain more active so advised to take before 1pm.

    Do you take yours before bed?


  • Often :-)

  • Perhaps I should try it sleep is so bad atm.

    I lie on my mat and fall asleep.....I lie on my bed and wake up!!!


  • is there a particular Vit B ? is it methylcobalami n or something like that ?

  • Jarrow Methylcobalamin - 1000mcg or 5000mcg. You can't overdose as you just excrete it !

  • thanks Mark. hope all well in Crete. very rainy here today. how was your Hashis diagnosed?

  • ...with a blood test. Very high TPO and Tg anti-bodies :-(

  • Thanks Mars. Will get antibodies added to my current test

  • Hello Andrea,

    Was this a Genova test...the ranges look different?

    Your adrenal results look ok. ..all within range apart from sample one which is high (and you have just

    This first result shows post waking and PEAK adrenal gland function anyway so although higher than range...not way off.

    Sample three is good as when most people flag if have AF. This shows your adrenals great capability of regulating blood sugars (long time since lunch!) and general adrenal health.

    Your results show a normal circadian rhythm.

    If you wanted to supplement I would suggest lots of Vit C with bioflavonoids that help absorbtion and good B Complex. I wouldn't supplement DHEA without a practitioner as it is such a careful balance to achieve the correct cortisol: DHEA ratio and involves many other hormones.

    If you wanted supplements tailored specially to adrenal health, I use Dr Wilsons Super Adrenal Sress Formula. They are expensive but remember you are only buying one tablet and not the twenty or so separate vits/nutrients that each pill contains.

    Some memhere supplement with adrenal glandulars.....I can't tolerate these even though I have tried several brands and types. if you went down this road...go slowly as they can be powerful.

    Hope you are settling in your new home well,


  • Hi Flower

    Thanjs for your comments. in so pleased to have help with the Genova results . Also I can't take adrenal glandular s either and lots of things - fillers and chemicals -make my heart race like Justin says.

    I will get going with the Vit C and also Dr Wilson -have got his book must re read it.

    yes agree re DHEA and am going to Marion Gluck in 10 days so hope they can decipher hormones .

    thanks for your help


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