Losing Sleep Affects Thyroid Issues
Sleep Lessons For People With Chronic Illness
People are often shocked when I tell them I’ve never pulled an all-nighter in college. They’re more shocked when I tell them I average around seven hours of sleep a night.
Sadly, their reaction is usually a combination of surprise, slight disdain and jealousy veiled as judgment. A lot of this has to do with my field of study. As a journalism major at the University of Oregon, I am expected to not only follow the news, but also cover it. My classmates and I take reporting, multimedia and editing classes that require extensive work outside of class. We have to maintain a somewhat respectable GPA while writing for at least one campus publication and holding an internship.
My friends and I often joke that if there were a coffee kiosk in Allen Hall, the building that houses our School of Journalism and Communication, it would be the most successful shop on campus, especially if it was open 24/7. Spending an all-nighter working on a project in Allen Hall is not only a rite of passage, but also an expectation to be successful.
A lot of this has to do with how competitive the journalism industry is. In order to deal with the anxiety of having to start a career after college, many of us work what often feels like at least two full-time jobs, hoping that it will pay off after we get our diplomas. Mental and physical health don’t matter if we are able to put that dream internship or job on our resumes.
In contrast, I’ve always had to care about my health and how much I sleep. I was a healthy, active child, but despite playing sports and eating nutritiously, I started gaining weight in middle school. I was tired all the time, my hair and skin were dry and I had no energy to do the things I loved. A thorough doctor diagnosed me with hypothyroidism, which meant that my thyroid, a gland in my neck, wasn’t producing enough hormones. While the thyroid hormones don’t do much themselves, they send signals to other systems in the body that affect metabolism, mental development and in children, the ability to go through puberty.
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