Sleep problems and hypo?

Do any of you lovely ladies suffer from sleep problems despite your exhaustion?  No matter how exhausted I am I just cannot sleep till 4 or 5 in the morning. Once I'm asleep it's fine and I sleep really well although I often wake up tired (no matter how many hours I've slept).   Does anyone else have this? Or know if it's hypo related?  Thanks 

36 Replies

  • It is very common when first on thyroid hormones until you get to an optimum which suits you (that means no clinical symptoms and you feel well).

    If you are still on 50mcg of levo that's quite a small dose. Maybe too small for you.

  • Thanks Shaw's. It's actually been a longer time problem. I used to be 2 weeks on sleep and 2 weeks at 4 am and was convinced it was somehow connected to my menstruak cycle as could skleep the week f my period and the week after that and then 2 weeks at 4 am which was bad enough. But as my exhaustion and fatigue kicked in so did the increase eto permanent 4 am sleeps. I'm 49 so almost certainly peri but was told my hormone levels were normal (whatever that means). Thx.  X

  • Sorry didn't spell check before I posted. Hope it makes sense anyway 😁

  • Always get a print-out from now on of your results, with the ranges.

    If you've not had a test recently, ask for one and it should be the very earliest and don't eat but you can drink water. Also leave 24 hours between your last dose of levo and the test (put your levo somewhere else the day before so you aren't on automatic pilot on the morning of the test. Take levo after.

  • Been there, done that Olsbird. The only reason I came up with was that I was undermedicated. I used get up and make a hot milky drink, stay downstairs then go back to bed when I'd finished my drink. That usually worked for me. Fortunately since my dose increase I don't have that problem any more. Good luck.

  • My sleep is absolutely dire. I take at least 2+ hours to fall asleep. I can't switch my brain off, my mind is 'thinking' all the time, going through the day's happenings or tomorrow's, or just gobbledegook. I've tried listening to sleep CDs but end up listening to the music and working out the pattern of the tunes. I've tried all sorts, no matter how tired I am it's always the same, and every morning I wake up as tired as I went to bed 😢.

    I am currently trying 5HTP, two about half an hour before I go to bed. It makes me physically relaxed but doesn't calm my mind, thoughts still fill my head.

    Not sure if it's thyroid related but I do know it's classed as a form of stress and probably contributes to my high cortisol/low adrenal reserve.

  • When I had sleeping problems, listening to music or those awful supposed to relax a person CDs were useless.  Eventually I ended up just leaving the radio on very low.  The station is not mostly talking!  To me it's like bedtime story time.  I think the human voice can be more relaxing than music because the voice in your head is superceded by whatever talking is happening.  

    Last night I was watching a documentary on YouTube going crosseyed already.  I put the Chromebook, open, beside me, rolled over, and wanted to just listen......................ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.   I don't think I was awake to the end.  

    There's been so many times I've wanted to watch a YouTube video and listen to the end but got sleepy, put the laptop or Chromebook down with the program on and conked out despite my best intentions.  

  • Hi susie, been there myself, is this it your totally worn out n tired whilst awake, yet when you put your head on the pillow, your betain comes alive, n cannot get to sleep? If so for me my levels weren't high enough IE as there weren't enough energy to run both the brain and body at the same time, if your like me I bet your levels are just in range, and not where they ought to be. Your FT4 needs to be about 60% of the range, and FT3 about 75-80% of the range. Plus have you been tested for the accompanying nutrients needed for thyroid processe from hypothalamus to the cells... Low B12 seems to be very common, low D3, too. 

  • My serum FT4 is always high, sometimes at the top of the range, sometimes over. FT3 is always within range but not in the top quarter, TSH always suppressed. Dr says over medicated but I have no symptoms of over medication. Urine test shows 1/4 into range FT4 and mid-range FT3. Avoiding GP like the plague for thyroid issues and adjusting meds myself. I lowered Levo and added a small amount of T3.

    B12 is in the 900s, Vit D is 150 (it was 200 so I reduced supplementing to 5 days a week instead of daily), folate is at the top of range, struggling to raise ferritin, last test it was 54.

    Sex hormones are right at bottom of range, cortisol high but in range, DHEA - one sample bottom of range, second sample under range. All being dealt with by a private specialist, herbal adrenal support, 5HTP, usual vits and mins.

    I've been hypo 40+ years and can't remember a time when I've got off to sleep easily or experienced refreshing sleep.

  • Susie, ok did you have a head injury or were you a difficult birth? Reason for asking is you might be hypopituitary, being hypopituitary effects more than thyroid hormones, it can effect em all. If confirmed then they usually have to give you the deficient hormones for life by what I've learnt! Your cortisol being high, is that morning cortisol or all day? If so that might be part of you not being able to get to sleep, high nightime cortisol, things effecting your adrenals could be long term stress, low zinc, low copper, as you've guessed your B12 is high, if the top end of the range is 800 Ish. These are the things I'd look at, start with the pituitary stuff first... Hope that helps 

  • No, RRG, no head injury. Normal birth at home (as was the norm in the 1940s). Cortisol is high in range for sample 1, top limit for sample 2, high in range for sample 3, and about mid range prior to sleep - 1.66 (0.83-3.86). Specialist says long term sleep problems playing a part in the 'stress' as there is nothing else causing this.

    From what I read B12 is best around 900-1000 and our range in UK is considered low, starts at less than 200, Japan's starts at 500.

    GP isn't interested, is a TSH only person and just keeps saying over medicated, with no interest in looking further, and I refuse to go back to the Endo who was a bully and treated me like a naughty two year old.

  • Ok then based on that, if your TSH and FT4 are really high, yet your FT3 is mid range, it says to me you could have a receptor problem, a high RT3 could/should reveal this, you could supplement with Boron @6-12 mg a day for a few months then drop to 6mg a day Boron opens up the sex hormone receptor sites also MACA is good for sex hormones. As for sleep/anxiety try magnesium oil massaged in, or Epsom salts baths or foot soaks, a relaxer most people are deficient in this one mineral an estimation of 75% of the population (global) zinc taken at night helps to lower cortisol. And to try and settle the mind when you go to bed as you breath in then out, count one in and two out, just focus on that exercise mentally. Hope that helps you... 

  • TSH is suppressed not high, it's just the serum FT4 that is high, urine FT4 shows 1/4 way into range and FT3 half way into range.

    I would have thought my private hormone specialist would have suggested Boron and/or MACA but I will run this past her at my next consultation. She has advised adrenal support in the form of Adreset by Nutri to help raise DHEA plus bioidentical progesterone cream to give a better balance of sex hormones and to help support adrenal and thyroid function.

    I use magnesium citrate powder, as a drink, gives approx 400mg magnesium, about half an hour to an hour before bedtime, as well as 2 x 5HTP.

    Not sure I should take any extra zinc, there is already 10mg in the Multi she has advised which I take in the morning.

    Thank you for all your suggestions.

  • sorry about the first bit! Ok when do you take your thyroid meds, in the morning or night? 

  • I take 150mcg Levo sometime between 3am and 6am, whenever I get up for the bathroom. I take 6.25mcg T3 about 8am ish and another 6.25 around 1.30-2.30pm ish. Those are the best times I've found to keep them away from supplements and food.

  • Have you tried taking your Levo about 9-10pm so your ready for bed about midnight to 1am I've slept better since taking it then along with magnesium oil too. I found raking it in the morning I was tired all day and woke up about 10pm n wasn't tired at bedtime or 4hrs after. 

  • I used to take it as soon as I got up, then tried taking it at bedtime. Never found any difference. I changed from taking it at bedtime because I'd usually have a bit of a snack during the evening so not always two hours after food at bedtime, hence now taking it when I wake up for the bathroom in the early hours. The timing is better for me.

  • I've found that the two hour gap makes no difference tried it with or without the gap morning and night n don't make a difference on the absorption just better sleep at night. Remember these rules are made up by people that don't have thyroid problems, just like the range of TSH being so large is most people agree that a lot of people near the top of the TSH IE close to 4.5-5 are undiagnosed subclinical hypothyroid and so are untreated until it gets lots worse. Let's say the top end of the range is 5.0 and not treated what magically happens at 5.1that says your healthy @5 and I'll @5.1 very little just like water getting hotter before it boils, it doesn't have to boil to burn you, it's only the burn degree that changes IE is it soap on it, or a trip to the hospital... 

  • Google the ingredients of  Allergy Research Group 'Zen', and Natural Factors 'Serenity Formula', one helps brain chemistry, the other helps adrenal stress.  I find them very effective in calming and switching off the 'monkey chatter' and in life generally .  I suffer no side effects but find sleep a lot easier and more prolonged.  At its worst (before I found a helpful Nutritionist) I kept a mug of Valerian Tea at the bedside and at every waking would take some sips and go back again.  I also kept low-volume Radio 4 and World Service on - so I deliberately couldn't hear the words and have my attention grabbed, and soothing voices helped - I then moved to iPod downloads selected for the soothing voices, and content as boring as possible:-)  Viewing the light from tablets at bedtime wakes up parts of the brain its best not to waken, so best avoided.  Melatonin might be worth a look as well.  Good luck, insomnia's hellish.

  • Thanks leabrook. Even the dog gets fed up with me tossing and turning and gives up my bed for his own to be less disturbed!  I have a dr appt on weds and hopefully I will get a higher dose then. Fingers crossed 😅

  • I've tried hot milky drinks, warm baths, no caffeine, herbal sleep tablets, perfume thingy you stick under your pillow,  friend even bought me some witches stones from a shop in filey that were sworn to make you sleep, and nothing works. Like you my brain is wired - until 4 am. I travel a lot for work and so many days I've got up to go to lhr before I've even slept. 😬

  • Interested in the witches stones.  Would you mind telling me the name of the shop where purchased? - Thanks

  • Hi, my doctor recommended something that has really helped me to turn off my brain at night. I still sometimes have issues, but no longer that crazy- can't turn my brain off- feeling. Try "journaling". About an hour or two before you go to bed, right down all the things you are thinking you need to do the next day, basically all the things that pop up in your mind when you are trying to get to sleep. I found this really helps, when I lay down to go to sleep and things start popping into my head, I just tell myself its already been dealt with, its on the list. You would be amazed at how that will settle your mind. Hope it helps!

  • I do, my sleep cycle is awful, it seems to be on a rota moving 2 hours forward at a time. I get into a good cycle for a while and then the insomnia kicks in again and messes it all up. I hear that some people have a lot of success with Melatonin and 5htp and also taking Magnesium late is supposed to help. Sometimes I have a Sominex which is available over the counter at the pharmacist and is very cheap and it works really well for me but I do feel groggy the next morning, which isn't great when hypo and already feel enough like a slug :/  but you have my sympathy, I have struggled for years. There are lots of posts on here about Melatonin and 5HTP if you put in search box  


    I have just posted an article this morning about adrenals - could possibly be helpful ....

  • Hi there I've been on Levo 2 years . I find watching tv makes me more awake and unable to sleep .. I've cut out gluten now along with caffeine and lowered my sugar intake . I drink two cups of organic camomile tea two hours before bed . Then listen to relaxation CDs . It works for me .. 

    I take b 12 ,selenium and magnesium supplements . I feel much better it takes a few weeks to kick in . I eat loads of beetroot and salads baked potatoes , and tuna.

  • Yes, I am totally sleep deprived. I went to bed at 1.25 am and I've been up since 3.30am only now do I feel I can sleep again. Insomnia is a really tough nut to crack. Even if I get sleep I feel much more tired on waking than in i do in the early hours. I often take gabapentin just to get a few more hours sleep. The problem with that is the more you take the worse the insomnia is when you stop this drug, so it's very hard not to take at least a low dose every night ( I use it for pain) I read recently that gabapentin can have a detrimental effect on adrenals, which is worrying as my function is really bad. I've been taking gabapentin since 2006. The worse your adrenals are the worse the insomnia.

  • I had sleep problems the whole time I took only T4. After about 15 years of this, I started to add T3, 6 months ago. My sleep problems virtually disappeared immediately. I have an occasional bad night, but I am still trying to get my dosages just right. In any case, an occasional bad night is perfectly normal!

    So I firmly believe that sleep problems are likely to be caused if you are under-medicated, or your thyroid hormones are not properly balanced. (I always had low, or below range, FT3 while on T4 only, but it is now higher.)

  • Hello,

    I've suffered with sleep problems since my teenage years and I do believe  Hashi's is the cause of it.  I now take Amitryptyline 10mg at night  and it makes such a difference, especially as I work full time and need to be alert during the day.   I know taking meds for sleep isn't everyone's cup of tea but I had literally tried everything and nothing worked.

  • I have terrible sleep problems but different to yours.  I fall asleep around 10.30 very easily.. then I wake up at 12.00.. then again at 1.30.. after that.. forget it.   I can never sleep after 3am.. get up and have breakfast at 4.30am (cos I'm so bored), then around 11am I'm exhausted and go to bed for another 20-30minutes.   GREAT FUN!  I know it's hypo related and have tried everything in desperation. Melatonin worked for few weeks but nothing works now. I am a zombie most of the day and my memory is almost non existent.

    hope u find a solution cos I sure as hell can't.

  • Hi Olsbird.

    Something that helps me - I used it last night.  When I get in bed and my mind is over active, I have a pad and pen by the bed-side, whatever the thought going round, (usually something I want to remember to do tomorrow) I put the light on and write it on the pad; turn the light off and try to sleep again.  The first thought will have disappeared and soon another will be there racing around my mind.  Put the light on write it on the pad and it too will disappear from your mind.  I had a list about 6 things and then fell asleep....

    Mind you that didn't help when I woke at 5am and couldn't go back.  This seems to be the time I worry about family matters, rather than 'to do' things.  Two hours later, a cup of tea, a book chapter read, it was getting light and I go back to sleep and wake at 10 ish..

    Good thing I'm retired and my husband sleeps through the lot...

    I also notice problems going off to sleep when I don't turn my computer off early enough. I seem to need an hour or more  between computer and sleep!

  • I am absolutely sure that sleep issues are thyroid related. For a couple of years before diagnosis....and then while on t4 only...I woke up at 3/4am every day and really struggled to get back to sleep. I used to take zopiclone a couple of times a week so that I could get through the days. On t3 only I've been feeling myself again and sleep has been normal.....until about a week ago when I became incredibly tired during the day again...could sleep for 12 hours at night and wake up still tired. 

    Somehow I know it's all thyroid related. Whether we don't sleep when we are under medicated? Of something like that. What does your doctor say? I'm going to see mine this week and will ask about sleep. I'll post if tells me anything useful. 

  • I found out that estrogen dominance or inbalance of hormones can cause insomnia hence i had alway blamed it on being hypo . Dr gave me bio identical progesterone and low dose estrogen creams that bypass the liver and i  could tell the difference in one week....if i take just progesterone....i have insomnia.....hence i tried that.....just a thought.

  • I have had sleep patterns for as many years as I can recall - I fall asleep at 4, I wake up at 4, I sleep for 4 hours (I preferred the phase when I slept for 5½ hours but 4 hours is better than when it is 1½!) and so it goes on.  One night a month for years I haven't slept a wink, that doesn't make for a good day :(

    Have you looked at changing your night time lighting and getting rid of blue light (you can get special glasses to cut down artificial light).  Install f.lux on your computer if you use it in the evening.  Have you tried cooling your head down, that slows brain patterns and makes it easier to 'go over'.  Bananas contain tryptophan if that's any help.

    don't know if there is anything in here that might help :

  • You may find help in the mix of 5 tsps of raw honey to 1 tsp of Himalayan salt applied under the tongue just before sleep - look at this link:>Health>Medicine.  I started taking it to overcome the symptoms you so clearly describe and found it had such a good effect on my adrenals that my Levothyroxine dose has just been reduced from 100 mcg to 75 mcg after some l o n g years of being on the higher dose!

  • Thanks all. I will try some of these suggestions and see what the doctor says. Re the witches stones they were a present  from a friend who was probably sick of hearing me moan but I will ask her where she got them from. I'm not hopeful she will remember as it was a coupl of years.ago when she was on holiday there. X

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