Fatigue is a symptom of hyperthyroidism. The condition can speed up a person’s metabolism and cause them to experience disrupted sleep patterns, insomnia, and anxiety. The combined effects of these can contribute to feelings of fatigue.

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) explains that a person’s thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck. Someone has hyperthyroidism if their thyroid gland is overactive and produces excess thyroid hormones.

Medically speaking, fatigue describes more than simple tiredness. A 2021 paper explains that while there is no single definition, doctors agree that its effects are both mental and physical.

This article explains the link between hyperthyroidism and tiredness or fatigue and offers tips on how to cope with it. It also outlines the other symptoms of hyperthyroidism and how doctors treat the condition.

A person with hyperthyroidism and fatigue.Share on Pinterest
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According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), fatigue is a symptom of hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid hormones play a vital role in controlling metabolism and how the body works.

The ATA explains that since hyperthyroidism increases metabolism, people will initially experience a surge in energy levels. However, the body begins to break down, resulting in tiredness.

When levels of thyroid hormones in a person’s blood increase, their metabolism and other bodily functions speed up. Over time, this additional work exhausts the body, causing fatigue in individuals.

Hyperthyroidism can also cause symptoms that can cause someone to feel fatigued. These symptoms include:

According to the ATA, doctors may prescribe antithyroid drugs to stop the thyroid producing hormones. People may find that they become less tired once their hyperthyroidism and its symptoms are under control.

People can also try talking therapy, lifestyle changes, and proper sleep hygiene.

Talking therapy

People can experience nervousness, anxiety, and irritability as symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Other symptoms of the condition, such as difficulty sleeping, can also add to a person’s anxiety and irritability.

Talking therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy may help treat fatigue or tiredness resulting from low mood or anxiety.

Lifestyle changes

To help combat fatigue and tiredness, people can try the following lifestyle changes:

  • avoid drinking alcohol
  • avoid caffeine
  • eat regular meals throughout the day, along with healthy snacks every 3–4 hours
  • take part in regular exercise, as even a 15-minute walk is beneficial
  • achieve and maintain a moderate weight
  • reduce stress, if possible
  • drink plenty of water
  • get plenty of sleep

Learn more about foods to eat and avoid with hyperthyroidism.

Sleep hygiene

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest the following tips for better sleep:

  • go to bed and wake up at consistent times every day
  • ensure the bedroom is quiet and dark
  • ensure the bedroom is at a comfortable temperature
  • remove electronic devices from the room
  • exercise regularly

Before bed, people should avoid alcohol, caffeine, and large meals.

Learn more about good sleep hygiene.

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism vary between people.

The Office of Women’s Health says that most individuals with hyperthyroidism first notice that they are losing weight. They may have other symptoms, but these are usually mild at the start and only become problematic over time.

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

The NIDDK outlines the following treatment options for hyperthyroidism:

  • Medications: Beta-blockers can help reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, while antithyroid medications cause the thyroid to make less thyroid hormone.
  • Radioiodine therapy: This destroys thyroid cells and reduces the size of the gland. In the United States, around 70% of adults with hyperthyroidism take radioactive iodine.
  • Surgery: A surgeon may remove a part or all of the thyroid gland.

After surgery and radioiodine therapy, people will likely develop hypothyroidism, which can also cause fatigue. However, this condition is easier to treat.

Some people find that their feelings of fatigue may linger even after treatment. They can benefit by planning activities for times when they feel well-rested and scheduling periods of relaxation.

Hyperthyroidism describes an overactive thyroid gland that produces excess amounts of thyroid hormones. These hormones speed up a person’s metabolism, affecting every part of the body.

Some people with hyperthyroidism experience fatigue or overwhelming exhaustion. This can seriously affect their quality of life and cause physical symptoms such as muscle weakness.

Many people manage their symptoms with medications and lifestyle changes. Keeping well-rested, eating a nutritious diet, reducing stress, and taking regular exercise, can help.