If only it were this easy

Working hard is a human trait. It is something we devote our entire lives to.

 

 

 

 

 

We can often feel as though we let ourselves, and others down if we do not push ourselves over and above what we can easily do.

I know what it is like to work hard. Mentally and physically. You can get a buzz from it.

There are two distinct ways in which we can work hard, either physically, or mentally. Physical intensity – the ability to keep going is affected by a person’s level of fitness. This is not true of mental intensity, mental fatigue can be worse as it is difficult to switch off. Sleep issues follow mental fatigue like night follows day.

From studies it has been shown that mental problem solving whilst sleep deprived is disruptive to thyroid hormones, whereas sleep deprivation for those that are not using their minds as intensely do not have this issue as bad.

It is understandable that physical fatigue can affect ones mental state, as i’m sure most people can draw upon experience where you feel too tired too think. Studies have shown that mental fatigue can also affect ones perceived level of physical endurance. You can be convinced you are working harder and pushing yourself when in reality you are not working as well as before you were mentally exhausted.

I have seen it in others. It is very common in the building industry to see unwell people pushing themselves to keep going.

I have experienced extreme physical fatigue and kept going, runners call it the wall. It is in fact a stress response, it’s your body telling you to take a break, rest yourself, ignore it at your peril.

It’s all too easy to ignore these signs, especially when there are deadlines to meet, with time being money. Stress hormones are thus activated and reap havoc in your body.

How many times would you have been told “you need to take it easy”.

There are many conditions related to stress. You may not even realise you are unwell, but if you have any of these, then you need to address your lifestyle before any other more serious issues occur.

  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Digestion problems
  • Bloated stomach
  • Food intolerances
  • Frequent heartburn
  • GERD
  • Brain fog
  • Aching joints
  • Diabetes
  • Constipation

Stress is not the real cause of these conditions. Stress is just the start of the downward spiral…

Seven steps to thyroid failure

1. Stress. This comes in many guises, but stress caused for whatever reason is the first step to poor health.

2. Your energy levels deplete. This is a complex physiological process, put simply, your thyroid no longer has enough available glucose (blood sugar) to keep bodily functions working effectively.

3. Thyroid calls upon stored energy in the liver, glycogen. Glycogen can be easily converted to glucose. This will keep you going for now. You might feel hungry, most likely craving something sweet, or maybe coffee. The caffeine in coffee is known as a thyroid booster.

4. Your thyroid goes into over drive. It first of all utilises amino acids, lactate and gets help from your kidneys and pancreas to convert these into glucose.

5. Your stress hormones kick in. Cortisol will continue to support metabolic actions. Endorphins can rise too, which gives you a feeling of elation, even though you are exhausted.

6. Your adrenal glands get pushed to the limit. Cortisol will eventually become depleted, this creates a condition known as adrenal insufficiency.

7. Running on your hormones. Once you are in the state of adrenal fatigue, then your thyroid can literally be switched off. This state where your TSH is no longer sufficient leads you to hypothyroidism. Your immune system fails which leads to many conditions of poor health. Your mental health can be affected too.

This list is a simplified account of what is happening inside your body when you are stressed. If this scenario happens on a regular basis, eventually your thyroid will be damaged. It would take a long time for severe degradation in health to manifest itself, maybe years or even decades. The body has an consummate way of keeping you going, even under the most extreme circumstances.

Once you have identified that you need help, then that is half the battle won. It may take time, effort and a lot of patience, but you can achieve good health. I did, it took me a while, years in fact, and I made a lot of mistakes on my journey. With help, you could find it a lot easier.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16380698  The results of this study show that exercise performed at the anaerobic threshold (70% of maximum heart rate, lactate level 4.59 +/- 1.75 mmol/l) caused the most prominent changes in the amount of any hormone values. While the rate of T4, fT4, and TSH continued to rise at 90% of maximum heart rate, the rate of T3 and fT3 started to fall.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6432374 TSH decreased during the first day of activities and remained low throughout the course. The TSH response to TRH stimulation was greatly reduced during the course due to physical exercise and calorie deficiency. The present investigation demonstrates that the thyroid function is strongly affected by prolonged physical exercise and a negative energy balance, whereas sleep deprivation does not have any significant influence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8827131 Compared to sleep deprivation studies under constant conditions reporting no change in peripheral T4 and T3 levels, the present study suggests activity level, including cognitive effort to perform, during total sleep deprivation may produce substantive changes in the thyroid axis. sleep deprivation also significantly increased circulating levels of T3 at 2300 hours

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25480161 Compared to sleep deprivation studies under constant conditions reporting no change in peripheral T4 and T3 levels, the present study suggests activity level, including cognitive effort to perform, during total sleep deprivation may produce substantive changes in the thyroid axis.

Samuele Marcora – Mental fatigue impairs physical performance.

George Chrousos – The concepts of stress disorders.

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