Morning fatigue is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Someone with hypothyroidism may wake up feeling tired and sluggish. Starting the day may be a real challenge for those with hypothyroidism.
Fatigue may also occur in cases of hyperthyroidism, but it is due to a higher than normal metabolism rate. Thus, someone with hyperthyroidism may not feel fatigued in the early hours. They are more likely to feel weak or tired as the day progresses.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to lifestyle. According to Dr. Beatriz Olson, MD, Integrative Clinical Endocrinologist, “You can modulate your energy level by making adjustments to your lifestyle.”
A daily routine for thyroid patients can make great difference in your energy levels. Introducing the suggested changes to your daily routine can help irrespective of the nature of your thyroid dysfunction.
Here’s what you can do to boost your health even if you have thyroid dysfunction –
Begin Your Day Early
Waking up early can be a pain, especially if you have chronic fatigue. You may feel morning fatigue because of your irregular sleeping hours. Falling asleep at 11 pm and waking up at 7 am is perfect. However, going to sleep at 2 am and waking up at 6 am will make you tired, groggy and irritable.
Waking up too late can cause you to feel less sleepy around bedtime. You may have already experienced morning fatigue a couple of times, especially after a weekend of partying.
Health professionals recommend setting a particular bedtime and wake-up time for every adult. Following a set sleeping pattern helps your body rest and rejuvenate. Sleeping helps our bodies remove the excess toxins that interfere with endocrine functions. People with thyroid issues especially benefit from regular and fixed resting times.
Our body takes around 6 to 8 hours to replenish its energy reserves. Thus the quality and duration of sleep will impact your thyroid function and the symptoms you experience due to thyroid dysfunction.
Take Your Medication Early and Regularly
Our experts insist you take your thyroid medication as early as possible at least an hour before breakfast. Taking thyroid medicine(s) on an empty stomach helps in the proper absorption of the medication.
Several foods and common medications interact with thyroid medicines and increase morning fatigue. It is of utmost importance that you tell your endocrinologist or physician about all the medicines you take before beginning your thyroid medication.
The pH level in your stomach can also influence how much of the synthetic thyroid hormone or other medicines are absorbed. Avoid caffeine, fried food, and sugary foods immediately after taking the medication.
You can set another alarm or daily reminder for taking the thyroid meds. If you have a hectic morning routine where you have to rush through shower, food prepping, getting dressed, and leaving for work, it’s best to be consistent. Even if you cannot maintain an hour’s gap between the meds and food, try to take the medication at a fixed time.
Begin Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" – now we know this isn't a fact. Yet, we must have a hearty breakfast that gives us the first energy boost of the day. A morning meal may not be necessary. You may want to go for a healthy smoothie or freshly squeezed juice. And that's great!
Try avoiding simple carbs (sugar, sodas, and energy drinks) and gluten (wheat) in the morning when looking for long-term thyroid fatigue solutions. Our bodies process simple carbs easily, releasing a huge but short-lived burst of energy. Gluten may irritate your digestive system. Research shows that GI tract flare-ups and allergic reactions can affect autoimmune thyroid dysfunction symptoms.
You need a source of energy that sustains you for a long time. You can pair gluten-free proteins like almond butter or cashew butter with whole grains or muesli during breakfast. Mixing whole grains with high-protein butters and milk gives your body a long-term source of energy. It is especially helpful if you deal with morning fatigue frequently.
Choose a Hearty Lunch
Do not overeat. If you stuff yourself during lunch, you will feel lethargic. Instead of gaining energy from the food, you will force your body to expend resources to digest the heavy load. Your lunch should be a measured mix of proteins, fibers, good carbs, and fat.
For example, you can opt for a chicken salad with a light, homemade dressing. Or an egg-avocado sandwich. Adding an apple and Greek yogurt to your salad or sandwich isn't a bad idea either. You can drink black or green tea 20 to 30 minutes after lunch.
Consider adding chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame, and flax seeds to your lunch everyday. They are rich in minerals, essential amino acids, and fatty acids but low in unwanted carbohydrates.
Unless you have other metabolic disorders or comorbidities, a low-carb diet can be one of the best thyroid fatigue solutions your body needs. Talk to your doctor and consult a nutritionist to chalk out a diet chart that works best for your thyroid condition, metabolic rate, and current BMI.
Don't Become Dependent On Caffeine
We know how desirable a cup of coffee can seem on a Monday morning. However, you need to control your caffeine intake. That also includes the late-afternoon energy drink you use as a thyroid fatigue solution.
Maintaining a regular sleeping habit, eating a healthy breakfast, and taking your thyroid medication daily should help combat thyroid-related fatigue. Begin exercising regularly as well to energize yourself. You should feel the need to consume coffee and energy drinks lessen over the next few days.
If you absolutely need caffeine, choose natural sources like tea or coffee. Do not indulge in energy drinks and sodas. When consuming a carbonated beverage, be sure to check the label for any mention of caffeine content.
Do you face trouble falling asleep every night? Then you may want to refrain from drinking tea and coffee after 4 pm. You can opt for green tea. Green tea has a higher percentage of antioxidants and a lower percentage of caffeine. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits. It can soothe your digestive system and sore muscles and help you fall asleep on time.
Exercise Is a Must
Exercising is necessary for any type of thyroid disorder. It can help balance your energy levels, whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Exercising can help you with irritability and anxiety issues as well. Most importantly, regular exercising can help you with other symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as depression, fatigue, and constipation.
Those with Hashimoto’s disease can benefit from exercise too. The best exercise routine for Hashimoto's disease includes low to moderate-intensity training. Since you can experience muscle pain, weight gain, and increased fatigue, it is best to begin with low-intensity aerobics.
You can consult your doctor or a physical therapist for the best exercise routine for Hashimoto's thyroiditis. However, make sure it's interesting and a mix of several activities to keep you going for the week. The key to best results is listening to your body, not over-straining yourself, and sticking to low-intensity exercises in the beginning.
Some of the best exercise routines for Hashimoto's disease include walking, light yoga, Tai Chi, and water aerobics. You can opt for walking and strength training three days a week, yoga in the mornings, water aerobics, or Tai Chi lessons on the weekends. Your exercise routine should never be boring.
Pay Attention to Your Mind
Thyroid dysfunction affects your mind as well as your body. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are often confused with a major depressive episode (MDE). Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause you to feel low, tired, and even depressed.
Hyperthyroidism may cause irritability, restlessness, fatigue, and lack of concentration. Without proper treatment, these episodes may progress into mania and depression.
Mental health management is a significant component of the well-being of a person with thyroid dysfunction. You may want to invest 5 to 10-minutes per day for meditation. If you have never meditated before, you can try a guided meditation session.
However, if you already have severe anxiety, you may want to speak to a psychologist before engaging in mindfulness and meditation practices.
Some people find it helpful to meditate for a couple of minutes before bed. You can light your favorite incense, spray some lavender oil and listen to calming music if you want to meditate before bed. Make meditation a regular part of your thyroid fatigue solutions.
Have a Light Dinner
We cannot stress it enough – never stuff yourself and always avoid unnecessary carbohydrates. Even if you eat 2 hours before bedtime, you will not get enough exercise to burn those extra calories. So, eat lightly and prioritize fibers and proteins low in calorific values.
Eating lightly at night will also help you manage your weight. Weight gain is a common issue for people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. Managing your food intake can significantly impact your BMR and BMI.
Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol drains the body of necessary micronutrients, minerals, and water. The disbalance can impact your overall health including your thyroid metabolism. If you have thyroid disorders it’s smart to avoid alcohol altogether. Even a beer can impact how you sleep at night.
Contrary to popular belief, a nightcap does not help with sleep quality. If you have anxiety, irritability, and fatigue, abstaining from alcohol consumption altogether is a good idea.
Have a Pre-Bedtime Routine
Apart from meditating, you can follow proper sleep hygiene to improve the quality of rest you get at night. Keep your mobile phone or tablet aside at least 30-minutes before you go to bed. Screens emit blue light that depletes a necessary neurohormone – melatonin. It can result in poor quality sleep and morning fatigue.
Instead, read a book, make art, or take a hot bath. Each of these activities is meditative and does not interfere with melatonin levels. These are all integral parts of the daily routine for thyroid patients.
Have a fixed bedtime that depends on your morning routine. For example, if you have to be up and about by 7 am, you may choose to turn in by 10:30 pm. The hours of sleep necessary are not constant. Say you need 8 hours of solid sleep, but your friend needs only 5 hours. So, adjust your bedtime accordingly.
Will A Daily Routine For Thyroid Patients Work For Me?
Follow this daily routine for thyroid patients for at least a month to feel a noticeable difference. If your fatigue, irritability, or depression worsens despite following the suggestions, you should speak to your endocrinologist. Sometimes, unnatural thyroid levels are just a symptom.
A full-body checkup is necessary to find the root cause of the hormonal fluctuations. You may need to consult a functional medicine doctor to find a routine that suits your unique needs. Only functional medicine can give you the proper reason behind your thyroid problems and individualized treatment plans.