How to End Insomnia and Wake Up Refreshed with Hypothyroidism

By |2020-10-07T08:40:57-07:00October 7th, 2020|Hypothyroidism|66 Comments
  • hypothyroidism and insomnia


Waking up and actually feeling refreshed.

Feeling like you’re ready to start your day.

But for many hypothyroidism sufferers, the reality is more like this…


And more and more research is coming to light today showing just how important sleep is…

Including a more recent study showing how irregular sleep patterns have been linked to higher rates of cancer.

Sleep issues are one of the top complaints I hear from my clients.

In fact, 36% of my clients claimed insomnia as one of their primary thyroid symptoms. That’s more than 1 out of every 3!

Yet many of my clients have seen drastic improvements not only in their ability to sleep better and longer, but also in their quality of sleep.

I’ll show you how you can too in just a moment.

You see, like many thyroid symptoms, insomnia is a bit of a Catch-22.

Your hypothyroidism disrupts your ability to sleep, yet you need good quality sleep in order to overcome your thyroid issues.

So, what’s the solution?

It’s simple…

If your bath water is too hot to bathe in, do you just give up and throw in the towel?

Of course not…

You simply compensate by adding cold water until the water temperature becomes just right.

And like many thyroid symptoms, we fix sleep issues in much the same way.

With my clients, we pinpoint exactly what imbalances exist that are causing their sleep issues and then compensate for those imbalances.

Today, I’m going to show you 7 simple ways to compensate for your hypothyroidism and have you sleeping better, longer, and waking up feeling much more refreshed.

How to Stop Waking Up and Get Back To Sleep Faster

Night waking and not being able to get back to sleep can be stressful in itself.

But you might not realize that it’s the stress caused by your thyroid issues that are keeping you awake in the first place.

Imagine this…

If you woke up to the sound of breaking glass in your home could you just roll over and go back to sleep?

Most definitely not!

Odds are you might think someone was trying to break in.

If you got out of bed to find that it was only your cat that knocked a glass off the table, would you then be able to go right back to sleep?

Not by a long shot!

When you are under stress and adrenaline is pumping through your veins, the last thing your body wants to do is sleep.

And when you become hypothyroid, the same exact response occurs inside your body every night… but it’s not caused by broken glass or any other disturbance.

Your ability to sleep and stay asleep depends largely on the health of your liver.

In a previous article on How to Heal Your Thyroid By Healing Your Liver, I covered the importance of liver health in overcoming hypothyroidism.

I showed how when you become hypothyroid, your liver loses the ability to produce and store glycogen.

Glycogen is a form of sugar your body relies on, especially at night when you don’t eat for a long period of time, to prevent your blood sugar from crashing.

And because you don’t store glycogen and don’t eat anything while you sleep, this makes you prone to low blood sugar when sleeping.

This drop in blood sugar triggers the activation of your stress response, where we oftentimes see surges of adrenaline.

And it’s these surges of adrenaline that wake you up and prevent you from going back to sleep.

Adrenaline also naturally rises at night, oftentimes peaking at 2am or 3am in the morning.

This natural rise in adrenaline coupled with the low blood sugar can induce a very dramatic adrenaline spike with some pretty intense and scary reactions.


I’ve had many clients report waking up almost jumping out of bed, breathing heavily, and with heart palpitations… as if they were having a panic attack.

Think you’re going to roll over and get right back to sleep after that?

1. Drop Your Adrenaline with Salted Orange Juice

This one simple little trick I learned from Dr. Raymond Peat has made one of the biggest differences in helping my clients improve their sleep.

Research shows (contrary to popular belief), both sugar and salt help to suppress and regulate your body’s stress response.

A new perspective on glucocorticoid feedback: relation to stress, carbohydrate feeding and feeling better.

“Much of what has precipitated this view comes from a very surprising finding in our laboratory; sucrose ingestion normalizes feeding, energy balance and central corticotropin releasing factor expression in adrenalectomized (ADX) rats.”

Effect of dietary salt restriction on urinary serotonin and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid excretion in man.

RESULTS: During the low-salt diet, 24-h urinary excretion of serotonin increased by 42%, accompanied by a 52% rise in the excretion of 5-HIAA. Salt restriction also increased noradrenaline excretion by 77% and VMA excretion by 40%.

This combination of sugar and salt can be used therapeutically to help prevent the rise of adrenaline at night and to suppress adrenaline if or when it does rise.

In other words, it can help you sleep better and longer, and if you do wake in the middle of the night it can help you to get back to sleep faster and easier.

Before going to bed, simply mix 1/8 tsp. (0.6 ml) of salt into 3 to 4 ounces (90 to 120 ml) of orange juice.

Sip on just one ounce (30 ml) before going to sleep and keep the rest within arm’s reach by your bedside.

If you find yourself waking in the middle of night, don’t get out of bed. Just reach for and sip another ounce (30 ml) of the salted orange to help you get back to sleep.

(NOTE: Want to learn more about how to use salted orange juice to boost your thyroid? Use this super simple 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol.)


2. Put an End to Endotoxin with Carrot Salad and Coconut Oil

Low blood sugar isn’t the only mechanism that stimulates your body’s stress response.

Another lesser-known one is endotoxin.

Endotoxin is toxin produced by bacteria in your gut. Hypothyroidism sufferers are known to have high levels of endotoxin circulating in their bloodstream.

Endotoxin not only increases stress hormone production, it is also known to increase many other stress mediators that further promote stress, including:

Because of this, endotoxin is a common cause of insomnia today.

There are many effective ways to lower endotoxin.

For starters, constipation increases endotoxin absorption, so eliminating constipation is a must.

Yet, one thing that we use with all of our clients to help lower endotoxin is carrot salad.

Carrot salad helps lower endotoxin in a few ways.

  1. The anti-microbial properties of the carrot fiber help lower the bacterial overgrowth resulting in less endotoxin being produced.
  2. The carrot fiber itself absorbs endotoxin in the intestines, preventing absorption.
  3. The coconut oil used in the salad effectively prevents the effects of endotoxin.

I show you how to make your own carrot salad in this article on “How to Boost Your Thyroid in 60-Seconds with a Carrot”.

thyroid boosting carrot recipe

3. Suppress Stress with Glycine (Collagen)

You may not realize this, but the proteins you eat, and when you eat them, can have a significant effect on your sleep.

Certain sources of protein tend to activate your stress response, while others suppress it.

This is why I never recommend eating muscle meats by themselves in the evening.

Muscle meat is higher in the amino acid tryptophan, which is one that activates stress hormone production.

Other amino acids, such as glycine, have been shown to have the opposite effect by lowering stress and activating GABA receptors, which has a calming effect and can help improve sleep as well.

By balancing nighttime muscle meat with broth or collagen protein, both high in glycine, you can see improvement in your ability to fall asleep easier and sleep longer.

Forefront Health Collagen Protein Powder

Addressing your high nighttime stress hormones is always a step in the right direction, but for some it’s still not enough.

Maybe your problem is not so much insomnia.

Maybe your problem has more to do with sleep quality and never waking up feeling rested.

How to Stop Hibernating and Start Sleeping Deeply

Are you sleeping or are you hibernating?

Unfortunately for most hypothyroidism sufferers, it’s the latter of the two.

And this is why you might feel tired no matter how much sleep you get.

Hypothyroidism affects sleep in ways other than just keeping you awake.

It affects your ability to achieve deep restful sleep too.

We’ve all heard of hibernation.

In order for many animals to survive the harsh winter months, they go into a state of hibernation in order to lower their metabolism, conserve energy, and survive the cold.

But hibernation is not a form of restful sleep.

As Dr. Raymond Peat points out…

“Torpor [hibernation] is the opposite of restful sleep, and with aging, depression, hypothyroidism, and a variety of brain syndromes, sleep tends toward the hypothermic torpor.”

In other words, hypothyroidism is known to promote a hibernation-like state of sleep that prevents you from reaching the deep sleep state that you need to wake up feeling refreshed.

Instead you wake up feeling like you never went to sleep in the first place.

And it has everything to do with your metabolism.

When you become hypothyroid, your otherwise healthy oxidative metabolism becomes impaired preventing your body from producing the essential nutrient carbon dioxide.

And when your carbon dioxide level falls, your serotonin production rises.

(Side Note: Serotonin is not the happy hormone/neurotransmitter many would have you believe. It’s an activator of stress as covered in this Case Study on the 4 Thyroid-Stress Activators.)

And it’s this rise in serotonin that decreases energy production, lowers body temperature, and promotes torpor, or this hibernation-like state of sleep.

Simply put… without deep regenerative sleep, your chances of improving your thyroid health are slim to none.

So what can you do?

4. Suppress Serotonin and Hibernation with Bag Breathing

If this restless state of sleep occurs because of a lack of carbon dioxide, then an easy way to improve deep restful sleep is to increase your carbon dioxide retention.

There are a number of ways to do this, but I find the most effective and simple way is to use bag breathing.


By breathing in and out of a paper bag you are effectively breathing back in a higher concentration of carbon dioxide.

Doing this on and off for a few minutes is typically enough to build up enough carbon dioxide to have a temporary therapeutic effect.

(IMPORTANT: Do NOT continue past the point of discomfort. Yes, you still need oxygen.)

But this is not a permanent solution. Over time, your levels will decline again.

So, this can also be done multiple times a day but should be used prior to bed to help improve sleep quality.

It can also be used to improve some causes of sleep apnea.

These two quick fixes alone have proven to be extremely effective.

But there’s still one more I would like to share with you which can provide even greater results.

How to Sleep Soundly When Your Cells Can’t Relax

You might think that more tired you become, the better you should sleep.

And from a logical standpoint that makes perfect sense.

But since when has anything regarding hypothyroidism made perfect sense?

Well, actually it does when you think about it.

When you’re hypothyroid and you can’t get thyroid hormone (T3) to your cells, then your cells can’t properly energize and produce the energy they need to function efficiently.

(Note: I’ve covered a number of reasons why you can’t get thyroid hormone to your cells in detail in this previous article on How We Overcome Hypothyroidism When All Else Fails.)

And when you cells can’t properly energize, they actually have a difficult time relaxing.

When your cells can’t relax, it impairs your ability to relax and sleep.

But most people who use thyroid hormone (T3) are not taking advantage of its full potential.

And using it the right way can oftentimes make all the difference.

5. Relax Your Cells with Thyroid Hormone

Most hypothyroidism sufferers who use T3, use it during the day.

But what about nighttime?

T3 has a relatively short half-life, meaning that when you take it, it only remains active in your body for a short period of time.

Oftentimes by nighttime, any T3 you’ve taken earlier in the day is no longer active and your cells become weakened and agitated.

Using T3 properly and even in small amounts before bed can help to restore energy production allowing your cells to relax and you to sleep.

Plus, thyroid hormone is known to suppress the stress response (including adrenaline) as well as stimulate oxidative metabolism to increase carbon dioxide concentration in your body.

So, its therapeutic effects on sleep are far reaching.

(Warning: It’s important that this is done properly. Some people respond negatively to T3 due to certain nutritional deficiencies and in this case, T3 can make you more sensitive to the effects of adrenaline, which will have the opposite effect on your sleep. So, if you are unsure of how you will respond, then it’s best to experiment with this on a night you can afford to miss some sleep if you’re among the small percentage of those who do.)

6. Manage Your Magnesium

Hypothyroidism, overproduction of stress hormones, and estrogen all contribute to magnesium wasting.

So, it should be no surprise that hypothyroidism sufferers are typically chronically deficient in magnesium.

And magnesium is essential for both proper thyroid function and cellular energy production.

This is one of the ways that magnesium improves sleep, by improving energy production and allowing your cells to relax.

But, you shouldn’t just use any source of magnesium.

(Note: You can learn more about why I don’t recommend most magnesium supplements in this article on hypothyroidism and magnesium.)

For improving sleep, I generally recommend Epsom salt baths in the evening.


You can even enhance the effectiveness of your bath by sipping on some salted orange juice with gelatin.

7. Protect Against Darkness with Light Therapy

Darkness is a stress to your body.

It elevates stress hormones and lowers your metabolism.

One of the purposes of sleep is to protect us against the negative effects of darkness.

With hypothyroidism, when metabolism is already running low, darkness can lower it even further, sometimes even to dangerous levels.

So, in much the same way that thyroid hormone (T3) and magnesium help to increase energy production, allowing your cells to relax…

…light therapy can have the same effect.

Light therapy (how we use it) helps activate an important metabolic enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase, which is essential for healthy cellular energy production, and relaxation.

By using light therapy intermittently from sunset to bedtime, you can effectively help prevent the stress of darkness, while maintaining a high metabolism that is essential for sleep.

You can build your own thyroid light therapy lamp using the instructions I provide in this article on “How to Build Your Own Thyroid-Boosting Light Therapy Lamp”.

Advanced Solution #1: The 4-Step Thyroid-Insomnia Sleep Solution

(NOTE: This is a more advanced sleep fix that we use with some of our clients if/when needed. If you haven’t yet implemented the 7 Simple Sleep Fixes described above, click here because you’ll want to start there first.)

Are you still waking up in the middle of the night and lying awake for hours?

If so, you’re not alone.

You are probably experiencing an adrenaline spike.

As noted above, adrenaline naturally rises and peaks during the night, often around 2am – 3am.

It’s no coincidence that this is a common time that insomnia strikes.

When adrenaline is quite excessive, sipping salted orange juice or bag breathing when you wake up isn’t always enough.

As the saying goes… “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

So, if you are constantly experiencing this type of sleep issue, it’s often a better idea to focus on preventing the problem before it happens rather than trying to fix it after it does.

Preventing the Underlying Thyroid-Insomnia Issue

Minimizing the effects of adrenaline and stress hormones isn’t something we should only worry about at night.

If stress hormones rise at any point during the day, then it can be difficult to bring them back down.

So, to minimize the nighttime adrenaline spike, we need to keep blood sugar regulated and steady all day long for best sleep.

This means, first and foremost, eating healthy foods, regularly throughout the day.

NOTE: Not sure what foods are considered “healthy” for hypothyroidism? Check out these two articles:

Or, if you’re just looking for an easy way to get started then make sure you check out the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol.


If you are already following our dietary guidelines, and you are still experiencing insomnia, then there is a more serious intervention that we use with our clients. I recommend you try it too.

To do this properly, you’ll want to spend a few nights noting the time at which insomnia wakes you most frequently.

Once you get a better idea of your insomnia patterns, start setting a soft alarm to wake you 45 minutes to 1 hour prior to when insomnia strikes.

This might sound counter-intuitive, but there’s a good reason for this.

At this time, you should have a more substantial snack to refuel your blood sugar before it drops too low, and to help prevent your adrenaline from spiking (the underlying cause of your insomnia).

Different people can require different amounts of nutrition. However, a snack like a piece of fruit & cheese often does the trick.

It’s best for your midnight snack to be something simple that you can keep by your bedside and eat with little difficulty.

If possible, you don’t want to have to get out of bed, go to the kitchen and prepare food, since that would wake yourself up more than necessary, making it more difficult to fall back asleep.

After your snack, try to relax and go back to sleep.

Using this simple process to better regulate your blood sugar levels at night can help minimize your nighttime adrenaline spike and help you to get longer stretches of continuous deep sleep.

Over time, clients often report that as their sleep cycles improve, they no longer require a midnight snack to help them sleep through the night.

(NOTE: Are you diabetic, or do you have a hard time regulating your blood sugar? If so, check out this article, “Hypothyroidism and Diabetes: How to Reverse It and Why Sugar Is NOT the Problem.)

To recap, the idea behind this more advanced intervention is:

  1. Track your sleep/wake patterns.
  2. Set a soft alarm about an hour before insomnia strikes.
  3. Eat a simple snack such as fruit and cheese.
  4. Relax and fall back asleep.

And don’t forget, it’s essential to manage your blood sugar levels throughout both the day and night for this to be truly effective.

Following this process can allow you to get the rest you need to feel good and have the energy you need make the most out of your day.

So there you have it…

Seven simple ways to start sleeping better, longer, and wake up feeling refreshed.

Plus, I’ve shared with you an advanced thyroid-insomnia solution that we use with our clients when needed.

But more importantly, these are eight ways to help you compensate for your thyroid-related sleep issues so that you can actually create the balance needed for your body and thyroid to heal.

And while all of these simple tips are designed to be used at night, there’s a lot more you need to be doing during the day that can make a big difference too.

For example, keeping your stress hormones low all throughout the day is key to keeping them lower at night, making your sleep easier.

One of the simplest ways to do that is to use our 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol.

If you’re not using this daily protocol, then download it right now and get started today.

See for yourself the difference it can make as you start your days feeling calm, clear, and full of energy.


Click here to download the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol for free right now.

Don’t let your sleep issues get in your way.

Starting using these seven simple tips today and see just how big of a difference they can make with your sleep.

About the Author:

Tom Brimeyer is the founder of Forefront Health and the creator of the popular Hypothyroidism Revolution program series. Specializing in thyroid and metabolism disorders, Tom's work has impacted over 50,000 people spanning more than 60 countries. Tom is also a highly sought after practitioner who runs a successful health consulting practice where he continues to help clients across the globe to take back control of their lives from their devastating health conditions.


  1. Patty August 6, 2015 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Love the article! Want to try out some of these things. Regarding the T3, you mentioned that it’s important for this to be taking the proper way. What would that be?

    I take a combination of a compounded T3, plus 100mcg of levothyroxin.
    What would be the recommended protocol for taking T3 at night? Thank you for your fine work!

  2. Linda August 6, 2015 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Thanks for this. I take 2 grains NDT a day, one upon waking, the other when I can find a long enough gap between meals, snacks and other supplements – not very easy when you have to eat five or six times a day, 1-3 hrs apart. From what you say, if my last meal is 9 pm, (a non calcium snack) could I take the other grain of NDT on retiring? I habitually wake in the early hours, and normal for me is about 6.45 am, but things are slowly improving. My liver and kidney functions are normal, and I am starting to address the health of my adrenals.

  3. Carol August 6, 2015 at 8:34 am - Reply

    My doctor told me that it would be perfectly all right to take my Levothyroxine at bed time. This also takes care of that pesky before-breakfast medication requirement. See what your doctor says.

    • Tom Brimeyer August 6, 2015 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Levothyroxine is a T4-only medication, which has a relatively long half-life so when you take it during the day doesn’t have much of an impact at all. In the article we’re specifically talking about T3. You won’t get the same effect from T4 at night.

  4. Wendy August 6, 2015 at 10:11 am - Reply

    I find your site informative. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 1984, and wonder why after all the years I have been taking Synthyroid & Lovothyrocine that None of my doctors have said anything about T3 hormone. I have not tried any of your methods but I think skepticism could be my problem. Could I get a little guidence?

    • Tom Brimeyer August 6, 2015 at 10:18 am - Reply

      Most doctors won’t prescribe T3 which is part of the problem. You can still use the other two methods and see just how effective they are for yourself.

  5. Susan Angelis August 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Since Levothyroxine is a T4-only medication, is it better to take it before bed or upon rising in the morning? It is difficult at Kaiser to get lab work to check T 3. Thank you.

    • Tom Brimeyer August 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Because of the longer half-life, it doesn’t make much of a difference. It won’t have any dramatically different effect either way.

  6. Lenice White August 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I’m wondering how the orange juice method will effect my diabetes blood glucose levels – I’ve been told NO juices because of the sugar content in them. Can you guide me on that? Thanks in advance!

    • Tom Brimeyer August 10, 2015 at 10:20 am - Reply

      There are actually a number of studies that have shown that orange juice is an ideal food for diabetics:

      This has a lot to do with its high potassium and magnesium content, which are essential to blood sugar regulation.

      There’s actually a lot of research regarding the benefits of fructose (fruit sugar) with diabetes and long before insulin was developed in a lab, doctors used to treat diabetes with fructose. Diabetes is an issue where the body has difficulty metabolizing glucose which is the predominant sugar of choice by the body. But… Fructose (fruit sugar) has two benefits.

      1. It doesn’t require insulin to be used by the cells so it bypasses that entire issue.

      2. It actually improves the body’s utilization of glucose as well.

      When you inject insulin, you help get the sugar to the cells but you’re not helping the underlying metabolic issue which the fructose actually helps with.

      With that being said… diabetics really need to cut out grains from their diet because grains are digested and broken down directly into glucose which they can’t handle properly. Instead they need to focus on getting plenty of fruit fructose) in their diet which will really help improve their blood sugar and glucose utilization.

      • Chrys September 14, 2017 at 7:11 pm - Reply

        I ave found this to be so true. My 12 yr old daughter is going on her tenth year of having T1D and her A1C has significantly improved since limiting her grains and increasing her fruit intake.

  7. Nancy Jones August 19, 2015 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Would like to have counseling with you on phone or if you are in South Jersey I could come to offfice. Hypothyroid since 2002 & feel terrrible!!! Have take T4 & T3 but not as you suggest. I am on Armour & they just raised price to $95 for 3 months. I am an RN, BSN ,CDE, & LMT. I help people all day but cannot find the right help for my daughter & myself. I am so TIRED !!!!!! Plese HELP ! going to try sodium & OJ tonight. I take Melatonin, Ambien 5 mg, Valarian Root, and Vistaril 25 mg at night to slee. To complicate matters more, I have interstitial cystitis & my bladder wakes me up 1-2 time nightly. I am so exhausted and so tired of trying to get better I could scream. Will definitely try your protocol . Will need your help though. Baby steps. I have a hard time with new things. Poor sleep & exhaustion I’m guessing.

    • Ann September 16, 2015 at 1:34 am - Reply

      2 mos ago, i have started going to Dr Labbe, a nutritionist and chiropractor who had Celiac disease and Hashimotos Thyroiditis. I have the same problem with you and she told me to take 2 capsules of 400mg Magnesium by Twinlab for a good sleep. It worked so well and i have been sleeping through the night.

  8. apelila September 10, 2015 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    I used to take my Armour in 3 doses, when I woke up , mid afternoon and at bedtime. My doc would just shake his head at me when he would have to write 3 different prescriptions. But it helped me sleep after two years of not being able to. Then it quit working, all of a sudden I was having restless sleep again and when I moved that bedtime dose to the one in the afternoon I started sleeping better again.

  9. Jennifer December 9, 2015 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Armour (medication) has both T3 and T4. It’s considered “old school”, however, I found this medication works best for me.

  10. NIKKI January 29, 2016 at 1:25 am - Reply

    I suspect adrenaline might be my issue I’ve been dosing twice daily (morning and afternoon) and I find I stay up later and wake earlier with a racing, pumping heart, feeling warm ( I used to always be cold) and a bit anxious with my mind racing. Nothing has changed in my life except the T3. Not menopausal and other sex hormones are normal. Advice please and thank you.

  11. kathy February 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    please help me, i want to sleep normally again,,
    my TSH is 30
    ft3 is normal
    ft4 0.6o something

    i just want to sleep normally
    i can feel my heart beat when i take NDT but its not palpitations bec its below 100
    for this week i had been waking up at the middle of the night
    i am sleepy and i wish i can really sleep
    i dont know and understand

    i only eat one meal of brown rice a day
    i have been juicing veggies
    i dont know what to do anymore
    is it my adrenaline
    what will i do

    • Tom Brimeyer February 25, 2016 at 8:56 am - Reply

      Hi Kathy, those are signs of elevated adrenaline so I would encourage your to use what I’ve shown you in this article.

  12. Laura March 9, 2016 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Hi, I’m in the UK and have been taking Armour for around two month’s now. I’m up to 2 grains a day, but I feel I’m not yet at optimal levels. I have been having panic attack episodes and like a thumping feeling in my chest at night, I also have insomnia. My question is, should I carry on taking Armour until my bloods are “normal”, or should I go back to Levo? I think I’m either not on enough Armour yet so still under medicated, or Armour just doesn’t agree with me…Would really appreciate some advice.

  13. Gwynn March 20, 2016 at 7:42 am - Reply

    My husband cannot drink orange juice due to gastritis. Any substitutes? Thanks in advance.

    • Tom Brimeyer March 21, 2016 at 9:32 am - Reply

      Hi Gwynn, try adding a pinch of baking soda which will neutralize the acidity. Or the next best option is cherry juice.

  14. Jenna April 5, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Hi Tom!

    I was diagnosed with papillary and follicular thyroid cancer and had a TT just a little over two years ago. I have since gained almost 50lbs! I’m 5’11 and WAS a strong,healthy 143 lbs. I’m now inching towards 200! I take Levo,and that’s it. My endo says I need to manage my diet and exercise more. I work out 3-4 times a week. I do yoga daily. Before cancer I had a great diet, and maintain it still, but he insists that none of the medication I’m taking is causing this weight gain. I’ve also suffered from depression and anxiety, and of course, insomnia. I was taking anti anxiety and antidepressant medication but recently stopped. My whole life has changed and I’m so frustrated. I’m sure you hear this ALL the time..My question is, should I seek another Endo who will prescribe me T3 as well? My endo said I’m not a good candidate for Armour. He really seems like he could care less about me, and have learned that I need to advocate for myself. I need help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Tom Brimeyer April 6, 2016 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Hi Jenna, I would demand to try Armour or some sort of thyroid medication containing T3, which is extremely important without anyone who has had a TT. Or if needed, I would find another doctor who is willing to work with you. What you’re experiencing are all symptoms of hypothyroidism. You might also find this article on thyroidectomy helpful:

    • John June 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      >”My endo said I’m not a good candidate for Armour.”

      That makes no sense at all. In fact, sounds like a plain old lie. I would regard your doctor with suspicion over a nonsense statement like that.

  15. Jenna April 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Does your Protocol work for patients with out a thyroid? I’m hypothyroid because I have none. Prior to my TT I didn’t have any symptoms I was aware of. I was totally healthy, full of life and energy, I was at my ideal weight and overall very happy. Since my cancer diagnosis and TT I am the complete opposite of the way I was before. Depressed, tired, overweight, insomnia, my muscles and joints ache all the time, I suffer anxiety and irritability, and I’m cold and hot at the same time, I sweat, heart palpitations, I could go on and on. I don’t even recognize this mind or body I am living in. I already bought your protocol, so I guess it’s too late to ask if it applies to those of us who have no thyroid. Anyway I’m highly disciplined and am completely DRIVEN to get my life back. I hope this works.

    • Tom Brimeyer April 6, 2016 at 9:28 am - Reply

      The short answer is yes, everything we teach still applies 100%. The only difference is that you will need to supplement thyroid hormone to the degree that you cannot produce it. However, it’s important to understand that just because you take thyroid hormone doesn’t mean that the hormone is getting to your cells. Thyroid hormone can get blocked many places along this pathway. For example, most hypothyroid people can’t convert inactive T4 thyroid hormone to active T3 thyroid hormone that your cells need. Thyroid hormone can also get blocked in the bloodstream, at the cell receptor, etc. You can supplement all of the thyroid hormone you want but if you can’t get the hormone to your cells then you will still be hypothyroid. We focus on all facets of the thyroid.

      You can learn a little more about this here:

  16. Zaneta May 12, 2016 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Well, I started to take T3 (the lowest dose) with T4 just a month ago (although I have hypothyroid for over 15 years), and stopped, due to too much agitation- heart palpitation, pain in my chest, lack of breath, anxiety, headaches, total insomnia (2-3 h of sleep), I fell like I am always on adrenaline rush, nausea. I an’t handle this. After one month of new protocol my blood test dropped down: less T4, less T3, higher TSH. So will this plan have the effect it should have and how am I suppose to take T3 if I can’t tolerate it. And I have lousy digestion. Any advice to work on it would be grate.

    • Tom Brimeyer May 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Zeneta, those are common symptoms of elevated adrenaline. T3 makes you more sensitive to adrenaline, amplifying it’s effects. So, while T3 is very helpful and should be started in the smallest dosage in this case, you still need to address the adrenaline through diet.

  17. Holly May 12, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    what type of salt should I be using? I’m diagnosed hypo and take levothryroxine 50MCG. I have been using pink himalayan salt but should I use iodized salt or sea salt? so confused about salt. I know I need it.

    • Tom Brimeyer May 13, 2016 at 12:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Holly, we recommend using pure canning and pickling salt without iodine or any additives. The metals and minerals in himalayan salt can be irritating and problematic for some.

  18. Kim June 9, 2016 at 6:31 am - Reply

    Interesting article – I notice you do advocate thyroid Meds – my question is – sometimes there is more of a root issue and bandaging it with thyroid Meds isn’t always the answer. I know for me personally I do have low free t and my free t 4 is fine – along with my tsh. I have tried NDT and t3 hormone without success. They make me hyper even at the lowest doses.
    I do not have a reverse t3 issue either.

    So my question is – when you have had cases like this – digging deeper in their root cause is more important then throwing thyroid Meds at them and trying to balance the hormones. In most cases of weak thyroid health there is an underlying issue pulling the thyroid down – whether it is parasites – food sensitives – liver health – gut health etc

  19. Charlene June 9, 2016 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Hi Tom, I found this article really helpful. I had a total thyroidectomy in 1992. Since then my weight has ballooned, I am pre-diabetic (under control with Metformin), I have developed sleep apnea (I wear a cpap to sleep), and I am exhausted (I very rarely fall into a deep sleep, and feel like it is more of a doze where I can hear the slightest noise.) I read these and other posts and they all seem to be geared towards those individuals that still have a semi-functioning thyroid. I am a disabled vet, and my thyroid is a part of my disability so I am having it monitored by the VA. They have strict protocols that they follow as far as medication goes and have refused to prescribe any medications outside of that protocol. So I am stuck with either Levothyroxin or Synthroid (which I know are the same things except one is generic and the other isn’t.) I guess that means I have not had T3 in my system for approximately 24 years. (Wow, how depressing) Is there a way to get natural T3 without a prescription?

  20. Bob June 9, 2016 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom,

    Not sure you’re point on serotonin, since many natural supplements such as 5-HTP and L-tryptophan boost serotonin which helps people with sleep. Dr. Daniel Amen states that lack of serotonin causes conditions such as OCD.


    • Tom Brimeyer June 9, 2016 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Bob, serotonin is actually a mediator stress and inflammation that directly activates ACTH (the adrenal glands), CRH, histamine, cytokines, etc. As mentioned in the article, it doesn’t promote sleep, it promote torpor (restless sleep). Many recommend 5HTP and tryptophan for sleep without understanding the dangers. It’s not the “happy hormone” that many have been led to believe.

  21. Donna June 9, 2016 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom, thanks for this article. I have been introducing your protocols and seeing how my body is responding, salted oj at night is great! A few months ago I went on a certain grain free high fat especially coconut oil diet and after 4 weeks had put on 2 kg and was diagnosed with fatty liver. Just great on top of the hypothyroid! I have haemachromatosis, thus the regular testing and liver sensitivity. So, I have read your liver article but is fructose still okay with fatty liver?

    • Tom Brimeyer June 10, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Donna, with haemochromatosis, make sure you don’t use the orange juice with red meat or higher iron foods. Instead use coffee or something with caffeine as it will help block the absorption of iron.

      With respect to your previous diet, fatty liver would be a concern. However, research also shows that fatty liver as a result of fructose/sucrose consumption has very protective effects against lipid peroxidation, which is the primary concern:

      Augmented resistance to oxidative stress in fatty rat livers induced by a short-term sucrose-rich diet.
      “The study shows that hepatic fat accumulation caused by a short-term sucrose diet is not accompanied by elevated hepatic lipid peroxidation, and an elevated hepatic antioxidant activity can be manifested in the presence of prominent steatosis”

  22. Cindy Huff June 15, 2016 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this, Tom – the OJ/salt mix worked for my son! I’ve wondered lately about Ashwagandha? What are your thoughts on that for folks dealing w/ hypothyroidism and having sleep issues?

  23. Nancy June 22, 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Hi I’ve had hypothyroidism all my life as I was born without a thyroid gland. I am now seeing a new endocrinologist, the last one I had for over 9 yrs my levels could never be stabilized, she’s a busy dr and the hour waits to see her then 2 mins in a room with her, I just had enough. So, I’ve had a few waves of depression and anxiety, but I’ve always been able to push through it, Working out is a great therapy for me, but alot changed a little over 2 weeks ago. Not only did my last dr tell me my hypothyroidism labs came back high, her recommendation was to cut one day out from taking my pill. OK, then was seen at my primary Dr’s for stomach upset which came back positive for pylori. I was put on 2 strong antibiotics on top of having to take my levothyroxin. It threw me out of wack, one antibiotic I had to stop at 6 days it caused extreme depression insomnia and lack of appetite. I was a wreck no sleep, no appetite, anxiety,heart rate felt crazy. Before all this I could easily fall asleep, I was a light sleeper probably woke up 3-4 times a night but always still dose off on my own. But after this whole episode of meds and side effects my sleep is starting to feel more of a hibernation. I’ll fall asleep then wake up at 2am sweating heart racing and no way of falling asleep on my own. I was given Xanax by my Dr to calm me down. But I’m not to crazy about it I’ve probably used a few times due to being exhausted and felt I had no choice. I see my new endo next week, is there any test I should push for? My anxiety/ loss of appetite and sleeping less is what’s my main issue. Should I try the OJ and Salt, and the breathing in a bag techniques? I just want my life back, 3 weeks ago I was semi normal hahaha I just need to get out of this funk. Please help.

  24. Debby July 17, 2016 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Last week I had a blood test that showed slightly low T4 and high TSH (18.54). I redid it today and had normal T4 and T3 but even higher TSH (24.62). I’ve had horrendous insomnia (waking up and being unable to get back to sleep) for a while now. The doctors have told me that low thyroid levels wouldn’t have this effect, so I was interested to see you say the opposite. So I’m happy to try the salted orange juice and butter. The problem is, I can’t stand the taste of coffee. The thought of drinking a whole cup of it is absolutely repulsive. I’m not sure I’d be able to swallow it. Is there other way to get that effect without having to actually drink a cup of coffee?

    What exactly does high TSH mean without low T4 and T3 levels? Is this hypothyroidism or something else?

  25. MYRIAM July 30, 2016 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Hi Tom,

    I have the auto immune condition Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
    I treat it naturally with Iodine, kelp,L-tyrosine and selenium and a natural endocrine diet.
    My THS, T4, and T3 levels are in check , yet I have had now chronic insomnia for thew past 3 months.
    I have tried numerous solutions from regular sleeping pills to Chinese herbs or essential oils, as well as hypno therapy , meditation, and essential oils. Nothing works and I cannot get to sleep most days until I finally get 6-7 hours after not sleeping for 2-3 nights.
    I went to see a sleep therapist 3 days ago, and told him I was very anxious and depressed from the situation.
    He said that there was no magic pill, and advised me to get on cognitive behavior program as soon as possible. I asked him if he could be related to my Thyroid condition and he was very doubtful after looking at my THS, T3 and T4 test results . But I know in my gut, that it is where the problem lies.
    Because I cannot startthe cognitive therapy for the next 10 days, he prescribed a pill (remoron ) that will boost my dopamine levels to make me feel less agitated at night time and I must admit that it has worked for the past 2 nights. However , I am not happy to take these chemicals and looking for another way.
    So I was thinking that my cortisol levels might be too elevated at night, but after reading your article, I am wondering if in fact my adrenaline and serotonin are too high at night and causing the problem. Is dopamine intake a way to reduce the adrenaline and serotonin ?? if so is there a natural way to take dopamine ( i have tried GABA and it did not help my falling asleep at all …) or another way to even boost dopamine other than this awful drug ??
    Thank you in advance for letting me know by return. I will definitely try the orange juice/salt combination tonight. How about getting the gelatine ; How do I get that ?? Bone broth ??
    Thank again for your precious advices.

    • Tom Brimeyer August 1, 2016 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Myriam, serotonin can/will also effect sleep, as will a number of other things. Dopamine is an antagonist to serotonin, so raising dopamine will naturally help to lower serotonin’s effects. I plan on writing more about this in the future. As for the gelatin, we use it in the form of collagen hydrolysate, which you can find here:

  26. Linda July 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    I can’t tolerate orange juice at all. I get dizzy and feel like I might pass out, whether I try it with a meal or without. Is the cherry juice just regular cherry or the tart cherry juice?

    • Tom Brimeyer August 1, 2016 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Linda, make sure you sip it very slowly and see if you get the same effect. If this occurs with other fruits then it can be a sign of reactive hypoglycemia and very poor liver glycogen stores. As for the cherry juice, you’ll mostly find tart. You want to make sure it’s 100% juice from cherries and not a blend.

  27. Zaneta August 1, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Hi, I just want to say thanks for the tip for better sleep – orange juice+salt and I add a pinch of cream of tartar, and it works for now. I don’t need to go to the bathroom so often and I sleep longer (though still wake up at 3 am hungry), but it’s easier to fall back to sleep now. Still need to manage my thyroid and adrenals a lot. but even small progress is good.

    • Tom Brimeyer August 1, 2016 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Zaneta, you’re welcome!

  28. Candance August 5, 2016 at 7:08 am - Reply

    Have found your article very interesting. My son was diagnosed Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. He has consistent elevated tryptase, prostagladin and 24 hour urine histamine levels. He has allot of health issues and food sensitivities because of the MCAS. One of the health issues is hypothyroidism. Rather than being overweight he has always been very underweight. But sleep and waking has always been a huge issue. He very rarely gets into deep sleep and has wild dreams all night long, wakes up confused every morning and highly agitated and almost in a rage at times. He is on levothyroxine. His diet is very restricted because of the Mast Cell Activation and he reacts to most fruits with citrus being a big trigger for the mast cell activation. Years ago before we knew about the MCAS he was diagnosed hypothyroidism and did the levothyroxine then discovered about T3 so he took T3 instead of T4 under the Wilson’s plan and after a year or so on that was able to quit taking T3’s and all thyroid testing came back normal for 12 years until this past spring testing came back abnormal so they started him back on levothyroxine. We are going to see if they will prescribe Armour instead so he can get the T3’s with the T4’s. Since Mast Cell Activation is involving high levels of histamine I found it interesting it was mentioned concerning the Endotoxin. My son is very reactive to coconut, carrots and most all fruits. So I guess for now we will try the armour and experiment to find a replacement for the OJ that does not cause a reaction.

    • Tom Brimeyer August 5, 2016 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Hi Candance, this is oftentimes caused by hypothyroidism, estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency, endotoxin, etc. Safe anti-histamines can help in the short term to alleviate symptoms. But regulating the hormones and using gelatin/collagen can help lower the mast cell count and decrease the sensitivity to them.

  29. Lorraine Stuart August 21, 2016 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom. Was lucky enough to be prescribed T3 ( 2 x 5mcg daily) in the spring alongside a reduced dose of the usual levothyroxine. Odd sleep patterns though. Doses are meant to be 8 am and 1 pm. What I find is that I’m so tired I have to sleep at 4pm for a couple of hours, then am awake all night till 6am. After the first T3 dose I sleep like a log till 1pm, waking in time for the second dose! (Luckily I am retired.) How do you suggest timing the doses more profitably? Would be grateful for this advice.

    • Tom Brimeyer August 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Lorraine, legally, I can’t recommend you take your medication any differently than what your doctor prescribes. However, I will say that the half-life of T3 is relatively short, so taking it at 1pm will likely have your levels low by nighttime. And it’s the stress-response that is still keeping you awake at night, which is the underlying issue to address.

  30. JQ August 22, 2016 at 7:06 am - Reply

    I have hypothyroidism and feel awful all the time. I do have lots of little ones to chase around daily who don’t sleep through the night which keeps me up, so I’m tired and feel awful all the time! I never feel refreshed when I wake up-feel like a ton of bricks hit me when I wake up. I’ve been taking Levothyroxine 100mcg for awhile now…I take one tablet daily in morning 30mins-1hr before breakfast.

  31. Lorraine Stuart August 24, 2016 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Thanks, Tom. In fact the endo said everyone is different, and I don’t think he’d mind me experimenting. I see him in a couple of weeks, pretty sure he’ll say to do what works best. So perhaps first dose later in the day and second dose before bed. Or maybe he will increase the dose, as 2 x 5mcg is pretty small.

  32. Dave September 9, 2016 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I wake up 3 times a night and sometimes I feel a little too early (6-7 hours from time I fell asleep) u don’t wake up with racing heart though or feel really wired…could this still be a blood glucose regulation issue or perhaps low co2 levels from mouth breathing causing me to wake up? Maybe an Epsom salt bath with baking soda added can help with the co2? And bag breathing as well?

    • Tom Brimeyer September 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Dave, yes it is still typically from elevated stress hormones. Only when extremely elevated do they cause racing heart, etc. Increasing CO2 helps but more from a serotonin perspective, not blood sugar.

  33. Sc November 29, 2016 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the insightful article.

    I have been waking up also several times a night and can feel some times my heart beat strongly. However i have also noticed that my body temperature in the morning till early after is low (around 35 Degrees).

    Is this also a Low Thyroid symptom?


  34. Kim March 14, 2017 at 6:41 am - Reply

    You mention this –

    Some people respond negatively to T3 due to certain nutritional deficiencies and in this case, T3 can make you more sensitive to the effects of adrenaline, which will have the opposite effect on your sleeP.

    What nutritional deficiencies are you referring to? The minority of people who suffer using t3 how do they correct this?

  35. Crystal Golias December 15, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    I take 1 grain of NDT a day, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. My doctor needs to adjust this when I see him Wednesday, as my T3 was at the bottom of the healthy range. I still find myself cold during the day, as low as 98.0 after breakfast. i wake up at least twice most nights to use the bathroom. I want to try the bag breathing and magnesium salt foot baths in the evening. I need to learn to stop sooner than i do, though, typically 9 p.m. I also have Asperger’s, which can raise my stress levels, and i always end up laying in bed for 30 minutes or more if I have had many stressful situations that day. It makes it hard to fall asleep when my mind is racing upon hitting the pillow.

  36. pauline richmond February 7, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    great article Tom, do you have any suggestions for helping to fall asleep…when i go to bed i am tired and calm, no electronics for an hour before, do some meditation and it can still take me up to 3 hours to get any sleep and then it is very light sleep with many wake ups during the night. I have been doing all of your suggested therapies for 5 months now. thanks

  37. Deborah Neumann April 4, 2018 at 11:21 am - Reply

    How long on average does the Advanced Solution #1 take to go into effect? I’ve tried the other suggestions and I’m still waking up at 3:30 a.m. with a jolt. According to this article I have a cortisol/adreneline issue. I tried the advanced solution last night and was able to fall asleep after my snack, but I’m even more tired and hungry than I usually am. I’m just feeling hopeless cuz it seems that I’m one of these difficult cases. 🙁

    • Tom Brimeyer April 9, 2018 at 11:41 am - Reply

      Hi Deborah, your correct in that it’s an adrenaline response. Adrenaline also gives you a false sense of energy. So, when we suppress the adrenaline to allow you to sleep, you’ll also lose some of that false sense of energy too. That’s why we need to stimulate healthy oxidative metabolism to get energy production up through the proper metabolic pathways.

  38. chantal October 29, 2020 at 8:50 am - Reply

    What do we do ,if we are allergic to orange juice?

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