The good thing about using hormone replacement therapy is the fact that the symptoms such as tiredness and fatigue often decrease, or even go away. Most doctors think that the therapy should be monitored and adjusted a few times when you first start using drugs for underactive thyroid. Good levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone are somewhere between one to three milliunits per liter (mU/L), but to get to these numbers, a person can wait even for a few months.
To overcome exhaustion, you'll need to adjust the amount of the thyroid-stimulating medication, improve sleep, or — if the problem persists — try to find some other possible cause for your tiredness.
1. Take your medications as recommended
Hormone replacement therapy is proven to do wonders for people with tiredness caused by hypothyroidism, and not just those with mild symptoms, but also for people with acute hypothyroidism accompanied by very bad symptoms.
The American Thyroid Association recommends early morning, soon after waking up as the best time to take your prescriptions. If you have another therapy besides the one for underactive thyroid, or you take dietary supplements, make sure to mention it to your physician.
2. Improve your sleeping habits
Poor sleep is a common problem in people with hypothyroidism, but you can do a lot to improve your sleeping habits. We all need eight hours of good night sleep. Sleeping seven to nine hours is recommended to battle hypothyroidism-caused fatigue that strikes most people with underactive thyroid sometime during the day.
To improve the quality of your sleep you can try:
- Sleeping in a room that's a few degrees cooler than you're used to
- Go to bed around the same time every night
- Try not to nap during the day
- Turn off the lights before going to bed
- No electronics in bed, including TV and smart phone
- Try to minimize overall caffeine and alcohol intake, but especially close to bedtime
- Try exercising earlier in the day
If it seems like you've tried everything and you still feel drained throughout the day, it's possible that you have some underlying condition such as sleep apnea that might be causing this exhaustion. Speak to your physician about this; it's possible to get professional sleep evaluation and finally get some refreshing night hours.
3. Mind your diet
If you choose nutritious foods rich in vitamins and minerals, there are big chances that you will feel less tired throughout the day. Although there is no diet clearly defined for people with underactive thyroid, nutritious diet — with plenty of fruits and veggies, as well as protein and healthy fats — aids to your overall health.
What's important to underline is that certain drugs, foods, and even nutritional supplements can affect how your body absorbs replacement therapy. It would be smart to talk to your physician before you decide to begin the therapy. To prevent malabsorption, make sure to have your thyroid hormone replacement drugs as soon as you wake up.
You can also try eating smaller portions throughout the day. If you go to bed with a full stomach, it might be hard to fall asleep; and even if you manage to do so, it will never be a good quality sleep so the chances are high that you'll feel drained in the morning and exhausted throughout the day.
4. Don't go overboard with sugar
One of the crucial things to maintain your thyroid hormones in check is to keep the blood sugar in check as well. Artificial sweeteners and carbs with high glycemic index (GI) tend to spike up the levels of glucose in the blood. Moving extra glucose to the cells where it serves as a source of energy is a lot of work for the pancreas: it has to produce much more insulin than usual. If this happens too often, the cells stop reacting to insulin. Pancreas then reacts by producing even more insulin, which is a real vicious cycle.
Research has found that frequent fluctuations in blood sugar levels can lead to inflammations and worsening of the hypothyroidism symptoms. Insulin is proven to decrease the levels of the thyroid hormone, so be careful when consuming added sugars and carbohydrates with a high GI.
5.Consume Enough Vitamin B12
If you often feel drained during the day, it is possible that you're deficient in Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin. It's an important vitamin that has some crucial tasks in the body like providing energy, as well as DNA replication. Deficiency in this nutrient has been linked to auto-immune conditions including Hashimoto's disease.
Deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to many diseases mostly because the body becomes vulnerable and doesn't have enough strength to fight off disease. The symptoms can include:
- Muscle tension
- Tingling in the extremities
- Difficulties concentrating
- Overall lack of interest and enthusiasm
It's recommended that the amount of Vitamin B12 in the body should be somewhere between 200 and 900 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL), but most experts suggest that anything lower than 350 pg/mL can be linked to various neurological issues. Regardless of the amount of Cobalamin that you have in your body, it's still good to take a supplement. Some good food sources of this vitamin include fish, red meat, and dairy products.
6. Try exercising a few times a week
It might feel counter-intuitive to exercise when you feel drained and tired, but it's proven that workout can boost your energy levels and help you sleep well during the night. It doesn't have to be a tough gym session or an hour of running — even a mild to moderate intensity workout that lasts 20 to 30 minutes can do a lot for your mood and energy. Walking somewhere instead of using your car also counts as a low-impact cardio workout.
Try exercising at least five days a week and do it during the day because late-night workouts can mess with your sleep.