How sleep and stress can effect your thyroid

How sleep and stress can effect your thyroid

Sleep and stress have a large influence on your thyroid and it’s ability to produce hormones – Read more to find out why and how. 

Sleep is when your body restores itself: tissue rebuilds, accumulated toxins are eliminated, and your brain consolidates your day and turns them into knowledge.

We miss out of these restorative benefits when we live with a sleep debt, which a large majority of us do. Our sleep debt and poor sleep messes up your cortisol rhythm and affects everything: your weight, food choices, personal choices, mood, hormones, immunity, mental clarity, memory, cognitive function, sex drive and even our pain levels.

Ever wondered why I am so passionate about sleep? We’ll those things above are one reason but another is that:

Women who sleep less than five hours each night weight more, even when they consume less calories, than women who sleep for at least seven hours.

Why is this?

When you are sleep-deprived, ghrelin, your ‘hunger hormone’ increases, while the hormone that tells your brain you’re full, leptin, gets suppressed- so you end up being unable to control ‘fatigue eating’ which can often be confused for cravings.

And while cortisol is our stress hormone, melatonin is known as our sleep hormone. Both of these work together in what is called a feedback loop, when one drops the other increases and vis versa.

However, melatonin is also vital for detoxification that occurs while we are asleep, therefore if our sleep is disrupted than so is this process preventing the elimination of toxins, hormones especially estrogen. This is turn increases our likelihood of brain fog, memory and focus problems, PMS, breast pain, mood swings and other hormonal problems.

So make sure you are getting 7-9 hours a night of restorative sleep as without it you will be unknowingly causing changes in these hormones, which long term can play havoc with your mood’s, energy and mental clarity, but also your thyroid health.

How will this affect your thyroid?

Due to the changes in cortisol levels the body will perceive this as an increase in stress – triggering the thyroid to want to cut back on the production and use of active thyroid hormone (free T3) which also puts what does get made into an inactive form (reverse T3) for storage, essentially suppressing the thyroid.

Another is that stress uses up a lot of important nutrients which essentially can deprive the thyroid from its required nutrients decreasing its ability to produce hormones and function effectively.

Stress also prevents the conversion of T4 to T3 and decreases its ability to enter our cells, as stress decreases the thyroid hormone receptor cell sensitivity.


Make sure you focus on how much sleep you are getting as we often become complacent and don’t realize how much of a benefit it has for our mind and body.

Also keep your eyes open for my sleep hygiene tips coming up in the next few days on my Facebook page, on how you can support and increase how much sleep you are getting.


If your stress, sleep and thyroid concerns you and needing that bit of extra support, book an appointment for specific individualized treatment to suit your symptoms and concerns. 

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