If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism you may be frequently waking up around 3 a.m. and then you may be unable to go back to sleep. While primary and secondary insomnia may have complex causes, often low blood sugar is the problem and this can be fixed by making changes in your food choices and using targeted nutritional support to help stabilize these blood sugar instabilities. Uncovering why you have low blood sugar in the first place should be a number one priority when you suffer with Insomnia. Keeping your blood sugar in balance will not only help with insomnia, but it is also a critical component to supporting and managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Waking up at 3 a.m.
Sleep is extremely important for brain health as the brain converts short term memory into long term memory and helps with repair and regeneration in the body. The brain requires energy at all times, but when you are asleep you are in a fasting state. As the brain continues to function, the body releases cortisol which helps release or create glucose so that the brain gets the required energy to continue its work.
In any case those who have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar sometimes experience difficulty in producing cortisol during the day and night. Often their blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and they go through highs and lows. Even during the day, if they don’t eat at regular intervals, they may get lightheaded, irritable, shaky and feel spaced out. These are all signs that the brain is not getting fueled with the glucose it needs.
During the early morning waking period, the blood sugar drops so low and the adrenal glands simply do not produce enough cortisol. The body then releases stress hormones that raise the blood sugar levels. The side effects of these is that the person wakes up in panic and then cannot go back to sleep.
For those who have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism the sugar and hormonal imbalances can further aggravate the autoimmune factor, including the thyroid condition.
Learn more about Blood Sugar and Cortisol Levels
What you can do to rectify this middle of the sleep wakefulness situation
If you are one of those who consistently get up some hours after going to sleep and then can’t go back to sleep, you should eat something light at that time. This may be a boiled egg or some meat. Protein with a little fat will help stabilize blood sugar levels and enable you to go back to sleep. Avoid quick fixes like something sweet or starchy because this will lead to a sugar spike, which will be followed by a crash.
What you can do during the day so that you simply don’t wake up in the middle of the night
While getting up and snacking may be temporary solution, what you need is something more permanent so that you don’t get up in the first place. You may have a chronic blood sugar condition with symptoms like:
- A craving for sugar
- A Dependency on caffeine
- Frequent irritability
- Morning nausea
- Lack of appetite
- Constant fatigue that you think will be helped by food
- Sugar lows in the afternoon
- Dizziness or brain fog when you miss a meal or don’t eat on time
If you keep your sugar levels in balance even during the day, you will get through your day better, be able to sleep through the night and manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism as well. For this you need to follow certain dietary guidelines:
- Whether you feel hungry or not, eat breakfast. A low carbohydrate breakfast will keep your sugar levels in balance.
- Eat at regular intervals to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Don’t eat sweet and starchy foods and have foods with a low glycemic index. When you eat too many refined and starchy foods, simple carbohydrates and sweets, your sugar levels spike and crash.
- Eat sufficient protein and include healthy fats in your diet to provide better nutrition and sustain energy and health.
Certain nutritional compounds can support your blood sugar levels and hormone functions so that you can sleep better, manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Remember to address the “BIG PICTURE”- Correcting any Blood sugar problems, Anemia, Hormone imbalances, Neurotransmitter imbalances, Food sensitivities, Adrenal problems and any problem related to gastrointestinal distress.