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4 Lifestyle Tips for Managing Thyroid Disorders

Monday 5 July 2021
Thyroid Disorders
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Try the Mediterranean Diet

II. Find an Exercise You Enjoy

III. Pay Attention to Your Sleep Habits

IV. Find Helpful Stress Management Techniques

Living with a thyroid disorder can significantly impact your quality of life. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can bring many unpleasant symptoms that may make you feel out of sorts. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, you may feel unusually tired, making it difficult to implement positive lifestyle changes.

Along with medications like Synthroid for hypothyroidism, you may want to alter your everyday habits to ensure that your body can regulate thyroid hormones as best as possible. On the flip side, hyperthyroidism can make you feel jittery and nervous. You may be twitchy and have a hard time sleeping, but Tapazole (methimazole) may be taken to reduce the amount of thyroid hormone in the body. [1]

Both of these conditions can wreak havoc on your life, but taking medications and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help manage your thyroid disorder. Read on to learn more about lifestyle tips for thyroid problems.

fish and vegetables on the plate

Try the Mediterranean Diet

For both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables is recommended. If you have a chronic medical condition, your doctor will likely suggest trying a well-balanced diet. This specific diet is usually referred to as the Mediterranean diet because it is commonly eaten in the countries adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea.

This diet involves three to four servings of fruit and vegetables a day. For the main course, stick with lean proteins and fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, herring, and mackerel. In addition, this diet cuts out sugary foods and limits the consumption of red meat.

If your thyroid is affected by an autoimmune reaction, you are more at risk for another autoimmune issue somewhere else in the body. Over 70 percent of the autoimmune system is found in the intestines. So, if the intestines become inflamed, an immune response can trigger the development of thyroid disease. When you eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein, you can reduce potential inflammation in your intestines. [2]

Find an Exercise You Enjoy

This tip is helpful for everyone but is especially true for thyroid patients. Participating in regular exercise can significantly improve a person’s life and make them less likely to experience health problems.

If you are trying to treat hypothyroidism, it may seem nearly impossible to put on your sneakers and get out of the house. But it is important to push through thyroid symptoms to get your body moving. You do not have to go for a 10-mile run every day, but moderate exercise is a great natural medicine for the body.

a woman sitting cross-legged on a rock near the ocean

Of course, medications like Synthroid are the only way to regulate your thyroid levels fully, but supplementing your condition with a daily walk or jog will also improve your overall health. Regular exercise can help you lose excess pounds, build muscle mass, ease joint pain, and relieve symptoms of depression or mood changes that often come with thyroid disorders. [3]

Pay Attention to Your Sleep Habits

A good night’s sleep is a fantastic thing. When we get a restful eight hours, we feel great in the morning, but not everyone has the luxury of quality sleep. Those with hyperthyroidism often have sleep problems due to feelings of nervousness and irritability. An overactive thyroid may also lead to night sweats and frequent urges to urinate. All of these symptoms can make it difficult to stay asleep for long periods, which can lead to feelings of fatigue the next day.

Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) can lead to problems tolerating cold at night. You may also experience joint or muscle pain that may affect your quality of sleep. [4]

If you start a prescription treatment plan to regulate your hormone levels, it is important to implement healthy sleep habits. Sleep is critical in optimizing thyroid function because it regulates the stress hormones in the body. Regular exercise and managing stress can also help you sleep better. Keeping your sleeping environment comfortable, cool, and dark can also improve your sleep. [5]

Find Helpful Stress Management Techniques

All of us have to manage the day-to-day stress of life, but chronic stress can be detrimental to the health of thyroid patients. A daily commute, work issues, and personal problems can all contribute to stress levels, and stress can trigger hypothyroidism.

If hypothyroidism runs in your family, the release of the hormone cortisol (the stress hormone) can interfere with hormone production. As a result, it can make the thyroid work harder than normal and cause insufficient thyroid hormone levels.

a person sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean

If stress is contributing to your thyroid hormone levels, it may be harder to treat your condition. Struggling with stress can make you feel worn down and even more exhausted than usual. Stress cannot cure itself, so you have to search out de-stressing techniques to manage your anxiety and emotions. [6]

For many, exercise can be a good stress management technique. If you can move your body and de-stress simultaneously, you can kill two birds with one stone. Some short term stress-relief strategies include:

  • Meditation
  • Focus on your breathing
  • Take a walk
  • Get a hug from a loved one

All of the tips in this list can also provide a thyroid patient with long-term stress relief. Managing stress over a long period takes time and effort, so it is important to find activities you enjoy to ease your mind and improve your thyroid condition. [7]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.