How to End Insomnia and Wake Up Refreshed
By Tom Brimeyer |August 6th, 2015 | Hypothyroidism | 25 Comments
Waking up and actually feeling refreshed.
Feeling like you’re ready to start your day.
But for many hypothyroidism sufferers, the reality is more like this…
And more and more research is coming to light today showing just how important sleep is…
Including a more recent study showing how irregular sleep patterns have been linked to higher rates of cancer.
Sleep issues are one of the top complaints I hear from my clients.
In fact, 36% of my clients claimed insomnia as one of their primary thyroid symptoms. That’s more than 1 out of every 3!
Yet many of my clients have seen drastic improvements not only in their ability to sleep better and longer, but also in their quality of sleep.
I’ll show you how you can too in just a moment.
You see, like many thyroid symptoms, insomnia is a bit of a Catch-22.
Your hypothyroidism disrupts your ability to sleep, yet you need good quality sleep in order to overcome your thyroid issues.
So, what’s the solution?
If your bath water is scolding hot, do you just give up and throw in the towel?
Of course not…
You simply compensate by adding cold water until the water temperature becomes just right.
And like many thyroid symptoms, we fix sleep issues in much the same way.
With my clients, we pinpoint exactly what imbalances exist that are causing their sleep issues and then compensate for those imbalances.
Today, I’m going to show you 3 simple ways to compensate for your hypothyroidism and have you sleeping better, longer, and waking up feeling much more refreshed.
How to Stop Waking Up and Get Back To Sleep Faster
Night waking and not being able to get back to sleep can be stressful in itself.
But you might not realize that it’s the stress caused by your thyroid issues that are keeping you awake in the first place.
If you woke up to the sound of breaking glass in your home could you just roll over and go back to sleep?
Most definitely not!
Odds are you might think someone was trying to break in.
If you got out of bed to find that it was only your cat that knocked a glass off the table, would you then be able to go right back to sleep?
Not by a long shot!
When you are under stress and adrenaline is pumping through your veins, the last thing your body wants to do is sleep.
And when you become hypothyroid, the same exact response occurs inside your body every night… but it’s not caused by broken glass or any other disturbance.
Your ability to sleep and stay asleep depends largely on the health of your liver.
In a previous article on How to Heal Your Thyroid By Healing Your Liver, I covered the importance of liver health in overcoming hypothyroidism.
I showed how when you become hypothyroid, your liver loses the ability to produce and store glycogen.
Glycogen is a form of sugar your body relies on, especially at night when you don’t eat for a long period of time, to prevent your blood sugar from crashing.
And because you don’t store glycogen and don’t eat anything while you sleep, this makes you prone to low blood sugar when sleeping.
This drop in blood sugar triggers the activation of your stress response, where we oftentimes see surges of adrenaline.
And it’s these surges of adrenaline that wake you up and prevent you from going back to sleep.
Adrenaline also naturally rises at night, oftentimes peaking at 2am or 3am in the morning.
This natural rise in adrenaline coupled with the low blood sugar can induce a very dramatic adrenaline spike with some pretty intense and scary reactions.
I’ve had many clients report waking up almost jumping out of bed, breathing heavily, and with heart palpitations… as if they were having a panic attack.
Think you’re going to roll over and get right back to sleep after that?
Drop Your Adrenaline with Salted Orange Juice
This one simple little trick I learned from Dr. Raymond Peat has made one of the biggest differences in helping my clients improve their sleep.
Research shows (contrary to popular belief), both sugar and salt help to suppress and regulate your body’s stress response.
A new perspective on glucocorticoid feedback: relation to stress, carbohydrate feeding and feeling better.
“Much of what has precipitated this view comes from a very surprising finding in our laboratory; sucrose ingestion normalizes feeding, energy balance and central corticotropin releasing factor expression in adrenalectomized (ADX) rats.”
Effect of dietary salt restriction on urinary serotonin and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid excretion in man.
RESULTS: During the low-salt diet, 24-h urinary excretion of serotonin increased by 42%, accompanied by a 52% rise in the excretion of 5-HIAA. Salt restriction also increased noradrenaline excretion by 77% and VMA excretion by 40%.
This combination of sugar and salt can be used therapeutically to help prevent the rise of adrenaline at night and to suppress adrenaline if or when it does rise.
In other words, it can help you sleep better and longer, and if you do wake in the middle of the night it can help you to get back to sleep faster and easier.
Before going to bed, simply mix 1/8 tsp. (0.6 ml) of salt into 3 to 4 ounces (90 to 120 ml) of orange juice.
Sip on just one ounce (30 ml) before going to sleep and keep the rest within arm’s reach by your bedside.
If you find yourself waking in the middle of night, don’t get out of bed. Just reach for and sip another ounce (30 ml) of the salted orange to help you get back to sleep.
(NOTE: Want to learn more about how to use salted orange juice to boost your thyroid? Use this super simple 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol. You can find it here.)
Addressing your high nighttime adrenaline is always a step in the right direction, but for some it’s still not enough.
Maybe your problem is not so much insomnia.
Maybe your problem has more to do with sleep quality and never waking up feeling rested.
How to Stop Hibernating and Start Sleeping Deeply
Are you sleeping or are you hibernating?
Unfortunately for most hypothyroidism sufferers, it’s the latter of the two.
And this is why you might feel tired no matter how much sleep you get.
Hypothyroidism affects sleep in ways other than just keeping you awake.
It affects your ability to achieve deep restful sleep too.
We’ve all heard of hibernation.
In order for many animals to survive the harsh winter months, they go into a state of hibernation in order to lower their metabolism, conserve energy, and survive the cold.
But hibernation is not a form of restful sleep.
As Dr. Raymond Peat points out…
“Torpor [hibernation] is the opposite of restful sleep, and with aging, depression, hypothyroidism, and a variety of brain syndromes, sleep tends toward the hypothermic torpor.”
In other words, hypothyroidism is known to promote a hibernation-like state of sleep that prevents you from reaching the deep sleep state that you need to wake up feeling refreshed.
Instead you wake up feeling like you never went to sleep in the first place.
And it has everything to do with your metabolism.
When you become hypothyroid, your otherwise healthy oxidative metabolism becomes impaired preventing your body from producing the essential nutrient carbon dioxide.
And when your carbon dioxide level falls, your serotonin production rises.
(Side Note: Serotonin is not the happy neurotransmitter many would have you believe but that’s a topic for another day).
And it’s this rise in serotonin that decreases energy production, lowers body temperature, and promotes torpor, or this hibernation-like state of sleep.
Simply put… without deep regenerative sleep, your chances of improving your thyroid health are slim to none.
So what can you do?
Suppress Serotonin and Hibernation with Bag Breathing
If this restless state of sleep occurs because of a lack of carbon dioxide, then an easy way to improve deep restful sleep is to increase your carbon dioxide retention.
There are a number of ways to do this, but I find the most effective and simple way is to use bag breathing.
By breathing in and out of a paper bag you are effectively breathing back in a higher concentration of carbon dioxide.
Doing this on and off for a few minutes is typically enough to build up enough carbon dioxide to have a temporary therapeutic effect.
(IMPORTANT: Do NOT continue past the point of discomfort. Yes, you still need oxygen.)
But this is not a permanent solution. Over time, your levels will decline again.
So, this can also be done multiple times a day but should be used prior to bed to help improve sleep quality.
It can also be used to improve some causes of sleep apnea.
These two quick fixes alone have proven to be extremely effective.
But there’s still one more I would like to share with you which can provide even greater results.
How to Sleep Soundly When Your Cells Are Just Too Tired
You might think that more tired you become, the better you should sleep.
And from a logical standpoint that makes perfect sense.
But since when has anything regarding hypothyroidism made perfect sense?
Well, actually it does when you think about it.
When you’re hypothyroid and you can’t get thyroid hormone (T3) to your cells, then your cells can’t properly energize and produce the energy they need to function efficiently.
(Note: I’ve covered a number of reasons why you can’t get thyroid hormone to your cells in detail in this previous article on How We Overcome Hypothyroidism When All Else Fails.)
And when you cells can’t properly energize, they actually have a difficult time relaxing.
When your cells can’t relax, it impairs your ability to relax and sleep.
But most people who use thyroid hormone (T3) are not taking advantage of its full potential.
And using it the right way can oftentimes make all the difference.
Relax Your Cells with Thyroid Hormone
Most hypothyroidism sufferers who use T3, use it during the day.
But what about nighttime?
T3 has a relatively short half-life, meaning that when you take it, it only remains active in your body for a short period of time.
Oftentimes by nighttime, any T3 you’ve taken earlier in the day is no longer active and your cells become weakened and agitated.
Using T3 properly and even in small amounts before bed can help to restore energy production allowing your cells to relax and you to sleep.
Plus, thyroid hormone is known to suppress the stress response (including adrenaline) as well as stimulate oxidative metabolism to increase carbon dioxide concentration in your body.
So, its therapeutic effects on sleep are far reaching.
(Warning: It’s important that this is done properly. Some people respond negatively to T3 due to certain nutritional deficiencies and in this case, T3 can make you more sensitive to the effects of adrenaline, which will have the opposite effect on your sleep. So, if you are unsure of how you will respond, then it’s best to experiment with this on a night you can afford to miss some sleep if you’re among the small percentage of those who do.)
So there you have it…
Three simple ways to start sleeping better, longer, and wake up feeling refreshed.
But more importantly, these are three ways to help you compensate for your thyroid related sleep issues so that you can actually create the balance needed for your body and thyroid to heal.
Don’t let your sleep issues get in your way.
Starting using these three simple tips today and see just how big of a difference they can make in your life.
The Super Simple Way to Start Your Day Right Feeling Calm, Clear, and Full of Energy!
About the Author: Tom Brimeyer
Tom Brimeyer is the founder of Forefront Health and the creator of the popular Hypothyroidism Revolution program series. Specializing in thyroid and metabolism disorders, Tom’s work has impacted over 50,000 people spanning more than 60 countries. Tom is also a highly sought after practitioner who runs a successful health consulting practice where he continues to help clients across the globe to take back control of their lives from their devastating health conditions.