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Can Thyroid Problems Cause Insomnia? | Snooze University

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Thyroid hormone is involved in almost everything in the body.

It’s not too surprising that having too much or too little can cause sleep issues.

In this post, I’ll quickly walk you through the current research linking both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism to insomnia.

Can Hypothyroidism Cause Insomnia?

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.

Considering that thyroid hormone is needed for the function of many cells in your body, a lack of it can cause the following symptoms (1):

  • Tiredness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Depression

And that last one is a big one. Around 60% of people with hypothyroidism develop some level of insomnia (2).

Depression and insomnia have a deep link.

Depression often causes insomnia, while insomnia is often depression.

SummaryWhile hypothyroidism doesn’t usually cause insomnia directly, it often results in depressive symptoms, which then can cause sleep issues.

Can Hyperthyroidism Cause Insomnia?

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism - where too much thyroid hormone is produced - is linked directly to sleep issues.

Excess thyroid speeds up metabolic rate, protein synthesis, and affects bone growth (among other things).

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include (3):

  • Sweating
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain

It has some features that overlap with depression, which is why hyperthyroidism is often misdiagnosed as depression early on (4).

SummaryOne possible side effect of hyperthyroidism is insomnia. The higher metabolic rate that it causes - giving excess energy - seems to be a likely cause of sleep issues, along with anxiety.

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Sleep Trouble?

While not a lot of research has been done on thyroid problems in combination with sleep issues, there is some.

Both hypo- and hyperthyroidism can lead to insomnia for certain people.

It’s more likely to be a direct result of hyperthyroidism, when energy and stress levels are higher.

There is a risk of depression for people with either sort of thyroid problem, and depression is a significant risk factor for insomnia.

What Can You Do If Thyroid Issues Are Affecting Your Sleep

If you have thyroid issues, chances are you’re already on a treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.

The only thing you can really do is to tell your doctor about your sleep issues, and he/she may be able to prescribe an alternate form of treatment that you may respond to better.

Thyroid issues are not something that you should be experimenting with on your own in any situation, stick to advice given by a licensed medical professional.

References

  1. Do Traditional Symptoms of Hypothyroidism Correlate with Biochemical Disease?
  2. Prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among patients with hypothyroidism
  3. Subclinical hyperthyroidism
  4. Depression and Anxiety in Hyperthyroidism

Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualitified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.