Sleepless Nights: Are They Caused by Hyper-Thyroid (Graves Disease) or Menopause Maybe?

For the last week, my sleep has gotten more and more restless.

It’s not from alcohol. No booze Sunday through Wednesday; 1.5 beers Thursday; nothing Friday; made up for it Saturday with a half-bottle of wine, maybe more, don’t know, depends on how much of it my friend drank. The only night I slept well? Saturday. Go figure. (Alcohol may put you to sleep, but tends to make you wake up after about four hours as your body fights back from the sedation.)

I did have a little extra caffeine Thursday–one cup of Yerba Mate tea, but that doesn’t explain the other days.

I did eat chocolate and drink decaffeinated tea Monday through Wednesday, but I did that, too, on Saturday, my day of good sleep.

And last night, Sunday, was the worst. I dined chez friends’ and had two glasses of wine and a half-cup of coffee. I don’t know why these people use caffeinated coffee after dinner. Next time I go, I’ll take a pound of good-quality decaf.

I pay $6.95 a pound for the coffee pictured above, Jeremiah’s Pick, at my local green grocer Monterrey Market. The same coffee from Amazon costs $8.96 per pound ($16.80 for 30 ounces), still a good deal. (Run your mouse over the image for purchase information.)

This half-cup of coffee was enough to cause me, as I lay in bed trying to sleep, a minor bout of caffeine-induced tinnitus. I knew better when I drank it, but I thought I’d been so good lately, caffeine-wise, that I’d get away with it. So not.

It’s very annoying, to be in bed at night and wakeful, hour after hour.

Sleeplessness is one of the symptoms of hyper-thyroid (Graves Disease).

It’s also a symptom of menopause. Hmm. I’ve been feeling warm, suddenly, from time to time. Maybe that’s the problem.

Graves Disease (hyper-thyroid) Worsens after Lapse in Vitamin Therapy

My Graves Disease (hyper-thyroid) worsened this month.

I got lazy.

I forgot, or more accurately didn’t bother to take my vitamins, because I figured I didn’t really need them. I also quit taking my little noon-time, vitamin D sunbath.

I also was drinking a little more—about two glasses a day of beer or wine a day on average. I was having too much fun for my own good.

Hyper-thyroid symptoms: hunger and a distracting heart beat.

My first symptom that the hyper-thyroid had worsened was that I was getting phenomenally hungry. When that happens, I tend to eat quickly and then feel sick before I’ve finished my meal. (Not a fun way to diet!)

The next symptom was that I noticed my heart beating. It was a bit too fast, a bit too hard, and a bit too irregular. (Contrary to popular belief, your heart doesn’t beat exactly regularly. A little bobbling is OK.)

Vitamin D cures the Graves Disease symptoms.

These symptoms lasted about two days, then abated over the next week as I started in again with my vitamins. (I still haven’t done the sunbath. It’s been cloudy here at noon.)

But my right eyeball still feels a little extra poppy.

Rosalie’s home remedy for the bulging eye? No alcohol at all.

Now, if I’d just follow my own advice!

Cutting back to one drink a day, which I have for the last 10 days, is insufficient. As much as I like my suds, I’m going to have to quit the beer, at least for a while.

Whatever your doctor tells you to do, try these two things too: Vitamin D and abstinance.

Paying attention to your vitamins for the rest of your life is a good idea, but you don’t necessarily have to maintain abstinence for the rest of your life.

Most people agree that we need vitamins, but not everyone agrees whether alcohol is good or bad.

Run your own experiment.

If your doctor suggests a glass of wine a day and that’s what you’ve been drinking, but you still have symptoms, such as a noticeably irregular heart beat or a bit of shakiness, then try abstinence. You’ll know if it helps after three months.

Then, at your own discretion, go back to your glass-a-day.

Or not. You decide.

Noise from Windsurfing Continues to Cause Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

After a week of lousy wind, we got some, finally, on Sunday. I was so anxious to get on the water and windsurfing that I didn’t want to take time for my earplugs. Not a good choice.

I was on the water and powered for three and a half hours and the next day my ears were ringing. I suffered the effects from that bad decision!

Monday, I didn’t need the earplugs because it wasn’t very windy. (When it’s not very windy, the sound of the wind in your ears is not very loud, of course, and the sounds that the windsurfing board makes, which can be considerable, are not as loud either.)

Tuesday, I did wear the earplugs and it worked quite well. Just half a silicone plug in each ear was sufficient. (Those things must be sized for some big ears!) This is good—it doubles the number of earplugs that come in the kit. (See my last post for earplug cost and my purchasing experience, which includes a link to buy on line, which turns out to be much cheaper than my local drugstore.)

With the earplugs in, I had to concentrate more on visual clues as to what the wind was doing because I didn’t trust that I’d hear the usual aural predictions.

I usually sailing in an urban area where I can hear the sounds of the highway traffic on the freeway and on the bridge. The quality of that sound is a good predictor as to whether the wind is about to change and whether a sailor would be wise to head for port!

When the wind is about to die, the traffic noise sounds rather like a seashell held to the ear, something you can’t hear wearing earplugs!

There is also the train. If you’re more than half a mile upwind and you can hear the train loud and clear, you’d better head for home.

Earplugs Forgotten and Tinnitus Unabated

Friday, I was so excited about getting on the water to windsurf, I forgot to use my new silicone earplugs. Wah!

The water was wavy but smooth so my board was not slapping the water and making as much noise as it was on Thursday. Nevertheless, my ears need a break, and they’re telling me so with their ringing.

I’m taking a few days off from this, my favorite sport and now Monday, I do feel a bit better.

Noise in Everyday Activity Requires Earplugs to Cure Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)

Yesterday morning I reported that I’d licked my too-much-noise problem from my windsurfing board slapping the water by retiring the noisy board. Ha!

earplugs from longs

Yesterday afternoon I was out at my marina sailing around thinking, this is noisy! Sure enough, my right ear began to ring.

The water was unstructured yesterday, with little waves in different directions, and my sail had a lot of power, so I was doing a lot of bouncing and my new, quieter board was doing a lot of slapping.

I will have to use earplugs after all.

I went to Longs Drugs and bought Mack’s Pillow Soft Earplugs for $3.89.

I could have saved $2 buying them on Amazon!

Two pairs come in the package. The photo right shows the package (open), the reusable case, the instructions, and the silicone blobs. (The ruler is so that you can see how big it is.)

They’re squishy. You put them in the outside of your ear, not in the ear canal.

Today I shall try them.

Alleviate Tinnitus and Hyper-Thyroid: Eliminate Noise and Follow Simple Advice

If I’d just follow my own advice I’d be much better, with both my tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and my hyper-thyroid (Graves Disease).

The good things I’ve done in the last two weeks are:

Eliminate excess noise.

1) I put away that noisy windsurfing board. I don’t know what makes that board I was riding so loud! I’ve spent the last two weeks riding a new-to-me model that’s working out pretty well. It’s a little smaller and a little rounder so it doesn’t slap the water so much.

<h4>It’s amazing how eliminating a daily dose of noise can reduce your tinnitus (ringing in the ears).</h4>

Take a little sun bath. We’re not talking about getting a tan, just a little sun potent enough for your vitamin D.

2) I’ve taken a little time with my lunch hours to sit outside in the sun and expose some skin to vitamin D producing rays.

As we age, we produce less vitamin D in the skin and I wonder if that’s because our skin gets old from sun exposure.

So I bare my nubile thighs at noon and after ten minutes I can feel on them the tingle of the sun rays working their magic. (This lasts five or ten more minutes, until I’m bored.)

The bad things I’ve done, rather things I haven’t done, in the last two weeks are:

Take your vitamins!

1) I haven’t been taking my vitamins. Vitamin D is of particular importance for hyper-thyroid (Grave’s Disease) but I seem to be doing OK and that could be to my increased effort to get sun with potency. (I’ve read that vitamin D producing sun can be had in our latitudes, that is well above the tropic of Cancer, only between 10am and 2pm and not at all in the winter.)

Too much ear-cleaning is NOT a good thing.

2) For some stupid reason, I thought I needed to clean my ears. Maybe it’s because I can feel the wax, or maybe it’s because windsurfing I get dunked in dirty water quite frequently.

My ear-cleaning job left me with too little wax to keep water from getting stuck in my ears.

This starts a vicious circle of my wanting to dry them out with a Q-tip (bad bad bad) which I have resisted since I figured out that I was tamping the wax onto my eardrum and causing a stuffy ear feeling. I solve this problem with a few drops of isopropyl rubbing alcohol, about $2 for a quart at your local drugstore. (No need for expensive ear-drying products.) Sometimes I don’t want the cold feel of the alcohol in my ears, so I warm it first by putting my bottle in a sink of hot water. (I decant some from the quart bottle into a little bottle that’s easy to use.)

Use your chew pad for TMJ disorder or if you feel like grinding your teeth.

3) I haven’t been using my chew pad. (The chew pad helps with my TMD, or TMJ jaw joint disorder.) The other day, however, when I was driving, I felt like grinding my teeth. Ah, the perfect time for the chew pad. I keep one in my ash tray. I popped it in my mouth, and voila! I’m not grinding my teeth, my jaw aligns, and my ears feel more open.

Quit drinking so much to help with hyper-thyroid.

4) I’ve been going to Happy Hour after windsurfing with my friends. It’s quite a deal: You get a drink for $2.75 and unlimited access to an appetizer buffet. Through the restaurant’s picture windows we get to watch any windsurfers still on the water zip around. It’s pretty cool, but I end up, even with just one beer, over-plan on my drinking.

Too Much Noise Windsurfing Causes Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)

In my last post, I described my carefully constructed sailing hat with neoprene ear flaps to protect my ears, but which, unfortunately, magnify sound, so much so that I now have noise-induced tinnitus (ringing in the ears) . (See photo in previous post.)

I’ve spent the last week modifying the hat over and over, all to no avail.

I lined the flaps with fake fur thinking the fur would muffle sound—didn’t help. I attached the front of the flaps to the elastic strap thinking that closing the space between my ears and the flap would keep out sound—didn’t help. I sewed a skirt under the flaps to muffle sound and took off the elastic holding down the flaps to keep them from capturing sound—neither helped.

Each day, I tried my latest modification, and each day the sounds of windsurfing (the wind rushing past my ears and the windsurfing board slapping the water) were so loud that they got on my nerves and made my ears sensitive to sound. This morning, the sound of the breakfast dishes clinking was too much!

Today I used regular foam earplugs while I was on the water. The earplugs helped a lot—my ride was quiet.*

When I got to shore, I took out the earplugs to talk to my fellow sailors, but their voices were much too loud!

I thought, gosh, could I have hyperacusis**? No, it’s those stupid neoprene ear flaps. I took off the hat and things were better instantly.

This level of noise for about two hours a day has brought on sound-induced tinnitus (ringing in the ears). I am not happy. You’d think I, of all people, would know better!

Windsurfing is an engaging activity, one you can do for a couple of hours and not realize something like this is wrong.

If you’re doing something noisy on a regular basis—vacuuming or mowing the lawn—you’re putting yourself at risk.

* I don’t really like earplugs as a solution for this problem. When the wind is howling they’re great, but when the wind is gentle a sailor needs her senses. Today the wind howled then purred with a transition so quick I had a difficult time getting back to shore.

** Hyperacusis is a disorder characterized by everything being too loud.

Health Tip
People with tinnitus are found to have lower levels of zinc and B-12. Get yours in a B-Complex plus Zinc and Vitamin C
Health Tip
Hyper-thyroid can cause tinnitus, even before a hormone imbalance is detected. Vitamin D helps your body regulate thyroid. Get it naturally from
Cod Liver Oil

Information in these pages is not a substitute for visiting your doctor
and is not intended as medical advice.

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