Thyroid UK
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Insomnia help for a man

Hi can anyone help?I am a male and I had radio iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism last September (2016) but the treatment made me hypothyroid resulting me being put on Levothyroxine last December. This medication has given me unbearable insomnia. My dose has been increased by 25mg from a starting dose of 50mg every three or so months. I'm currently on 125mg. Despite telling my consultant about this extreme insomnia (even strong sleeping meds don't often work on me but if I don't take them I don't sleep at all) all I'm told is my thyroid is now normal. I'm at a loss and it is affecting my life hugely.

3 Replies

Shredder: post your most recent lab results with ranges (in brackets). Being told your thyroid is "normal" uh, that's not useful at all with thyroid disease - you have to be "optimal". So if your consultant doesn't use this basic terminology they likely don't have a clue what optimal even is. Normal levels only work for healthy patients without thyroid disease!

So your lab results need to list among other things THS, free T3, free T4, as well as ferritin, folate, D3 and B12. These last 4 nutrient levels are the canary in the coal mine with respect to the typical thyroid sufferers malabsorption problems. We almost always have them yet they often remain untreated - and we wonder why the Levo isnt helping us get better! Without these levels ALL being optimal our body will struggle to convert the T3 we need from our dosage - (even as it is upped and upped). And the side effects of these deficiencies? The list is HUGE! Depression, anxiety, insomnia, exhaustion, dizziness.. (I could go on but you get the drift).

Here's just one post found on the site regarding insomnia and why we can suffer from it:

And if you have the means get your cortisol levels check thru the following link which provides private lab testing info

And I take magnesium in the evening to combat sleeplessness - read the following on the importance of it in our toolkit


My situation is way different to yours - I simply (and slowly) became somewhat hypothyroid. Prior to diagnosis (and therefore, treatment), I had been sleeping relatively poorly. I'd most often fall asleep quite quickly, but then wake up between 30 and 90 minutes later. Then be unable to get back to sleep.

I started on 25, then 50, 75, 100 and now 112. Throughout I have taken mine at bed-time. And one of the first things that improved was my sleep.

This doesn't happen to everyone. Others have said their sleep worsened. But, assuming you don't already take it then, bed-time dosing just might be a slightly better option.


Definitely post your blood tests, as your dose may be very wrong and/or this might improve once you've raised it to the level you need.

But in terms of insomnia, a few things that have helped me:

- Get hold of plenty of audiobook, podcasts and recordings. This means there is something to do besides feel stressed out during the night.

-Try out all the sleep hygiene techniques you can find, as some of them work some of the time. I found it useful using my bedroom only to sleep, and also to spend an hour or 2 winding down, turning the light out at the same time every night.

- One reason for waking up can be low blood sugar which becomes a problem because tired adrenal glands can't provide the energy needed to stay asleep. So if you feel hungry in the night, eat something. I end up eating oatcakes and sometimes cheese. Recently found som claims cheese can help you sleep. I also often have a snack before bed. Some suggest orange juice with salt in it is a good miss to support the adrenals during the night.

- Mindfulness exercises during the day. I tried this for other reasons, but my sleep almost instantly improved, if I skip for even one day I now notice the difference (I now sleep all through most nights). I originally used the book 'Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world', it comes with a CD of recorder exercises, the mobile phone app Headspace is also a good start.

- Magnesium at bedtime. I had right, restless calves that wouldn't settle down, so I use a skin spray, and baths with Epsom Salts as a top up. You need a large quantity of Epsom salts and you can buy them in big bags online. There are also bedtime drinks containing it.

-Melatonin. This was one of the other big improvements for me, I started on 3mg, but eventually got onto 6mg, which is a fairly high dose. But this gives me a feeling of sleepiness, which otherwise I don't really get - if I don't take these I can stay up all night as if it was day. Sometimes can be used to impress friends ;)

- I've also tried assorted other sleep supplements that seem to help. Activecherry seems to be working for me, and I also take CBD oil on nights where I have extra trouble sleeping.


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