Insomnia is a classic symptom of an overactive stress response and adrenal fatigue. Research has shown that a dysfunctional HPA axis and irregular cortisol production can interrupt sleep patterns. It is well known that adequate rest is essential to repairing your thyroid and easing adrenal dysfunction. However, you may be experiencing sleep disruption if your cortisol levels are spiking, causing you to wake up with a rapid heartbeat and a lot of nervous energy. The good news is there are plenty of ways to encourage a better night’s rest and support your thyroid and adrenal health.
Here are 14 ways to improve your sleep and support your thyroid
- Stick to a sleep schedule.
Your body does best when it knows what to do. When your body gets into a rhythm, it can recognize when it is time to produce hormones to sleep and when to wake up. Your body works on a rhythm that links the hormones needed to sleep and wake.
Train your body to produce those hormones at the same time each day.
- Remove blue light from your bedroom.
Create a sanctuary for rest in your bedroom. Your bed should be designated for sleep, not for binge-watching your favorite tv shows. TV and telephone screens create blue light that prevents the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Limit caffeine intake.
Did you know that your midday energy-boosting beverage could be causing your insomnia? Caffeine is beloved by all who need a quick pick-me-up, but it also causes the release of cortisol hormones, which is not so great for good sleeping habits. Ideally, you should avoid caffeine altogether, but if you can’t live without it, limit your consumption and make your cutoff time before noon. Doing so will allow your body ample time to calm down.
- Avoid alcohol.
Many swear by a glass of wine and the like before bed to get them to sleep, but the struggle to stay asleep is their bigger issue.
Alcohol does initially help you relax and drift off to sleep, but it causes elevated blood sugar levels. Once blood sugar levels balance out, cortisol rears its nervous head causing anxiety, wakefulness, and night sweats.
- Get regular exposure to sunlight.
You can improve your sleep behavior by adding a little sunshine to your day. Basking in the sun for at least 20 minutes a day can increase melatonin production at night.
- Do not eat within 3 hours of going to bed.
Eating before bed can cause wakefulness and diverts your body’s resources to digestion instead of restoration.
- Exercise before dinner.
Exercise is excellent when you want energy and endorphins, but not so great when you want to sleep. Make sure you hit the gym before dinner time to give your body time to slow down and get ready for rest.
- Keep a journal next to your bed.
Keep your mind from racing all night by writing down your concerns and to-dos before bed. Having a journal handy can help you release your anxiety and relax your mind before bed.
- Organize your sleep space.
Is your clutter creating unnecessary chaos in your bedroom? Create a more calming environment by keeping your bedroom in order. This will make for a more cozy and relaxing area to rest more peacefully.
- Practice mindfulness.
Meditation, yoga, and even gentle stretching can help you relax and calm your mind, making falling asleep much easier.
- Take supplement support.
Taking 200 to 400 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate before bed will help calm the nervous system and relax muscles. These supplements also support regular bowel movements.
- Try melatonin.
1-3 mg of melatonin before bed can support a healthy sleep rhythm and help you get to sleep and stay asleep longer.
- Cut out the lights.
Light sources whether it be your clock, lamp, or street lights, could be causing you to stay awake. Invest in an eye mask and install blackout shades to keep light from disrupting.
- Take a hot bath.
Increasing your body temperature with a hot bath will encourage better sleep. If you want an extra boost of sleep support, try adding magnesium-rich Epsom salts for even better restfulness. Magnesium is absorbed through the skin and helps relax your muscles and encourages sleep.