Insomnia and hypothyroid?

I have severe insomnia at the moment, and have had it for months. It starts with me going to bed exhausted, lying there almost asleep for 15 minutes, before heart pounding and sweating until 1:30am! Then I wake up at 4am, 5am and 6am before I give up and get up.

But is this possible with hypothyroidism? Every post I read connected to hypothyroidism describes sleeping for 10+ hours, and not being able to wake up - the complete opposite!

14 Replies

I have exactly the same thing. I think it might be adrenaline being pumped out because my dose is too low and by the evening my levels are really low as I take my T4 in the morning. This is only a guess. I have had a blood test today so I will know if I need an increase in a few days.

Are you taking medication and could your dose be too low?

Hey Mouse, ah, not very nice for us is it! I'm not on any medication, and yes I agree its adrenal pumping. Soon as I lie down my heart races and I can hear it in my ears :(

I've never been the typical tired hypo either! Even when my TSH was 75, I was only occasionally tired. Recently, my sleep improved when my dose was lowered. (T4 dose, that is; T3 kept the same.) Sleep is still a problem for me, but I haven't been up for hours, or woken up hourly as you, since I've been on the new dose. The best I slept lately was when I tried the Adrenal Cocktail (Himalayan/Celtic salt, cream of tartar, and orange juice), but I didn't take it long (sleep improvement lessened, and I became worried about salt and blood pressure).

I would guess that your cortisol levels need increasing or decreasing or tweaking in some way. The wrong amount of cortisol and/or adrenaline at any time of day can keep you awake when you want to be asleep, and/or keep you asleep when you want to spring out of bed and start your day. You know... like people in adverts and other fictional TV programmes.... ;)

Have you ever done a saliva test for cortisol levels?

Mm. I agree! And no, I haven't done any tests, I don't have any money! I would like to tweak them but I don't really know how, and I don't want to take steroids as I'm only 23...I suppose it's inevitable if it doesn't sort itself out. Thanks for your reply :)

I've never taken steroids for my adrenals. After saliva testing I found my cortisol was too high, all day. I've been an insomniac since I was about 9 or 10.

Sadly, you can't say your cortisol is high or low based on symptoms alone. Both high and low have symptoms in common.

One thing we all need to do, irrespective of high or low levels of cortisol and/or adrenaline or thyroid status, is to reduce physiological and psychological stress as much as possible. Being low in vitamins and minerals will cause physiological stress. Not eating enough or not eating a good diet will cause it too. Not having a good sleeping routine will do it too. Anything which causes the body to work harder than it ought to will affect cortisol and adrenaline. Doing too much exercise or not enough exercise will cause the body stress too.

There was one thing I used to do that I have now stopped doing. I used to believe in a Holy Grail. I thought there was one thing I needed to do or needed to find that would make all my sleeping problems go away, I just hadn't found it yet.

But eventually I realised there wasn't one big thing. There was a whole series of small things which all added up to me being less insomniac than I used to be.

These links might help :


Oh my God me too!!! I spent my entire childhood awake all night long - my parents would take me to the doctor and he would just say "relax and take a bath..." so frustrating! It got a bit better in my teens (but then TOO much better...I'd sleep from 11pm till 2pm). Went on a stupid low carb diet and it all came back, now i'm in this mess :(

I also have insomnia since I was 19 or so. Have you ever done head MRI? In my case they found that I have "empty sella", squashed pituitary gland not properly visible on scans. Doctor usually have a habit of saying that this should not cause any problems but recently some researches showed that it could be connected with insomnia.

Wow, that's incredible. I've never heard of that. But since the pituitary is responsible for the entire endocrine system that could explain so much. Was there a treatment for your issue?

No, unfortunately treatment is still non existent.

How can any doctor say that having a non-functioning or damaged pituitary won't cause any problems? The hormones produced by the pituitary have lots of functions.

I've been to at least 5 or 6 doctors, all of them told me the same story (they were like parrots) - if the levels of the hormones produced by pituitary are more or less okay they don't care and they tell you it's completely harmless. In my case only TSH was elevated... You can see if you google "empty sella", most of the articles will tell the same, only when you pass who knows how many pages there are some articles that will tell you that it is not that 'harmless" as most doctors think.

It sounds quite scary rather than harmless!

Yes, I was thinking that same thing from the first time they told me that I have it 7 years ago, but for them it's just a "syndrome". Of course when it's not their gland or brain in question.

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