Both over-active (hyperthyroidism) and under-active (hypothyroidism) thyroid conditions frequently cause chronic sleep problems, not to mention plenty of other serious health issues. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, and have a widespread influence over the body’s systems, from brain function to appetite to mood and energy, as well as sleep. Insomnia is a hallmark symptom of hyperthyroidism—an over-active thyroid can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include racing heartbeat, hand tremors, increased sweating, muscle weakness, anxiety and irritability. According to Oxford Academic, hypothyroidism can also cause sleep difficulties, including more frequent awakenings. Fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating, dry skin, and feeling cold are other symptoms of hypothyroidism. A simple blood test can determine your thyroid levels, so speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing disrupted sleep and other thyroid-related symptoms, such as thinning hair and excessive sweating. Learn about some surprising things that could be wrecking your sleep.
Stress can be acute, a reaction to unexpected, difficult life events, such as the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job—and it’s also a common source of sleeping problems. A survey by the American Psychological Foundation found 43 percent of adults said stress kept them awake during the past month. Stress can be chronic, as well—a response to daily life, and the pressures of work, family, relationships, and finances. Both types of stress can lead to insomnia. Stress and sleep influence one another: Stress creates sleeplessness, and poor sleep makes us more prone to stress. Stress reverberates throughout the body, and may cause muscle tension and pain, upset stomach, appetite changes, and fatigue. Stress also causes mood swings, irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and racing thoughts. If you experience trouble sleeping and other stress-related symptoms several times a week for more than a month, see your doctor.
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, is an under-diagnosed sleep disorder that causes uncomfortable tingling, crawling, or pulling sensations in the legs. People with RLS feel a powerful need to move their legs, to relieve these irritating sensations. The symptoms of RLS are typically worse at night. As a result, people with RLS can’t fall asleep and stay asleep easily. Research indicates sleeping problems affect more than two-thirds of people with RLS. Chronic poor sleep linked to RLS causes fatigue and makes it difficult to function at your best. RLS leg sensations tend to flare during periods of sitting or lying down, making it difficult to relax during the day or night. Do you experience uncomfortable leg sensations along with trouble sleeping? Talk with your physician about your symptoms. Plus, here are some habits you think are harmless that could be causing your insomnia.