Young bearded man holding forehead in hand and experiencing thyroid-related fatigue

Understanding Thyroid Fatigue and Tiredness: Solutions and Relief Strategies

Medically reviewed on January 7, 2022. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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It's normal for the average person to feel physically exhausted every so often. Whether you had a long day or exerted extra energy during your workout, feeling tired or fatigued is generally nothing to worry about. However, suppose you feel physical fatigue consistently and on a regular basis. In that case, that can seriously undermine your quality of life, and you may be dealing with a more serious, underlying issue.

Ongoing fatigue can be rooted in numerous different health conditions and disorders. One of the most common is thyroid disease. Thyroid problems can have a considerable impact on all components of health. Learn more about thyroid fatigue and how to manage it below.

Check if your thyroid hormones are balanced from the convenience of home with the Everlywell at-home Thyroid Test.

What is your thyroid?

Your thyroid gland is located at the front of your neck wrapped around your windpipe. This small, butterfly-shaped gland is responsible for producing the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are primarily involved with regulating your metabolism, which comprises all the processes involved with turning the food you eat and beverages you drink into usable energy [1].

Outside of metabolism, thyroid hormones also play a role in:

  • Supporting heart and muscle function
  • Controlling digestive functions
  • Maintaining bone health [1]

Understanding thyroid problems

Learning how to understand thyroid levels is important. Thyroid hormone levels are carefully controlled by your body's pituitary gland and hypothalamus. However, even with these glands working properly, the thyroid can malfunction, causing problems with thyroid hormone levels. These malfunctions can be caused by numerous factors, including autoimmune diseases and certain medications.

Therefore, it is important to learn the early signs of thyroid problems [1]. A thyroid disorder can manifest in several different ways. While it is well-known for controlling metabolism, it's worth understanding how your metabolism is involved with basically every process within the body. Furthermore, imbalances in any of the body's hormones can cause fluctuations in other hormones, which can then lead to health issues [1].

Exact symptoms of thyroid imbalances will vary from person to person, and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) may present different symptoms from an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). General symptoms of an imbalanced thyroid can include sudden weight fluctuations, changes in mood (often resulting in depression and/or anxiety), sleep problems, and irregular menstrual periods. One of the most common symptoms of thyroid disease is intense fatigue [1]. Learning about your health is crucial, and considering an at-home thyroid test can provide valuable insights into your thyroid hormone levels and overall thyroid function.

Understanding thyroid fatigue

While hyperthyroidism can potentially contribute to fatigue, this symptom is more common among those with hypothyroidism, particularly for those with Hashimoto's disease. Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in reduced thyroid function [1].

Your thyroid hormones are involved with metabolism, which is how you get energy for the day. Without enough hormones, your metabolism slows down, causing weight gain, which means less energy throughout the day. Less energy equates to more intense fatigue. This can occur suddenly or can develop over time [2].

Hypothyroidism can also contribute to symptoms that can then lead to fatigue. For example, an underactive thyroid commonly contributes to depression. While depression is typically associated with extreme sadness and a lack of motivation, it can also give way to physical symptoms, like aching muscles and joints, muscle weakness, frequent headaches, and fatigue [2].

With hyperthyroidism, fatigue can present as a product of other symptoms. An overactive thyroid commonly leads to insomnia and general sleep problems. This comes because of the excess thyroid hormone, which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate and cause anxiety. Left untreated, those sleepless nights can easily add up, resulting in fatigue in your waking hours [2].

What is fatigue?

There is a difference between feeling tired and sleepy and feeling fatigued. Fatigue is like feeling tired with the dial cranked all the way up to 100. That overtired feeling can have a huge negative impact on your everyday life. You may have trouble getting up in the morning, going to work, performing your usual tasks, and simply getting through the day [3].

This can be noted by an intense sleepiness that doesn't go away even after going to sleep and sometimes goes even beyond that. Your muscles can feel weak, and your limbs might feel unnaturally heavy. Basic movement can feel sluggish, and you may feel physically uncomfortable more easily. You may have no energy to exercise regularly, and doing something as simple as climbing stairs can feel like an impossible task [3].

That fatigue can eventually catch up to your mental health and basic cognitive processes. Fatigue may keep you from concentrating or focusing on tasks. You may have memory problems, both in the short and long term. You may lack motivation to do anything, even the activities you like. You may also feel nervous, irritable, or anxious [3].

Other Possible Causes of Fatigue

While fatigue is a common symptom of a thyroid disorder, it's important to recognize that there are other aspects of your lifestyle that could also impact your energy levels. Understanding these additional factors can provide insight into potential causes of fatigue beyond thyroid issues.

Your diet

Your body turns the carbs, fats, protein, and other nutrients you eat into energy – which is why your diet can decisively affect your daily energy levels. For this reason, a nutritionally poor diet can be a recipe for constant fatigue.

For example, if your diet doesn’t give you enough of the right vitamins, you might feel increasingly tired and worn out as your body struggles to cope with the lack of nutrients.

As an example, you can be deficient in vitamin B12 if your diet doesn’t supply you with enough of this crucial nutrient. A vegan diet, for example, can put you at risk of B12 deficiency because this vitamin is not found naturally in plant-based foods, but rather animal-based sources of food. Therefore, many vegans and vegetarians choose to take B12 supplements to make up for the lack of vitamin B12 in their diets.

Now, your body uses B12 to build healthy red blood cells – which are responsible for circulating oxygen throughout the body [4]. A B12 deficiency can thus cripple the body’s process for making red blood cells, potentially leading to something called “anemia.” And anemia – a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to oxygenate your body’s tissues – can rather easily result in constant fatigue.

Testosterone deficiency

Testosterone is an extremely important hormone in men and women alike, and strongly affects your body’s metabolism (and thus your energy balance). For instance, testosterone helps regulate the conversion of fat into energy – so if your testosterone levels dip too low, it’s quite likely that your energy levels will do the same.

In fact, there’s a wealth of evidence that links testosterone with one’s energy levels. A 2014 observational study, for example, took a look at the effects of testosterone gel treatment in 799 men who were testosterone deficient [5]. At the end of the testosterone treatment period – six months after the study began – the researchers found that there was a significant decrease in fatigue levels.

A lot of other research supports the view that testosterone deficiency and fatigue often go hand-in-hand – so if you’re feeling tired and exhausted, day after day, it may be time to use an at home testosterone test to check your testosterone levels.

Dealing with thyroid fatigue solutions

Thyroid fatigue solutions include medication, diet, exercise, and a good sleep routine. However, it's important to get a proper diagnosis to determine the underlying thyroid problem. This could be anything from hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) to Hashimoto's disease, a common autoimmune disorder affecting the thyroid.


The best way to manage your thyroid fatigue is to get a proper diagnosis and receive treatment for the thyroid disorder. This may involve a form of prescribed medication. For many people, even with thyroid medication, fatigue can persist, but it's important to keep up with your prescription. Take your medication consistently as directed. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Wait at least four hours to take your medication after taking iron, calcium, or cholesterol-lowering supplements. These can interfere with the absorption of the medication for the thyroid condition [6].


Those feeling the effects of fatigue will typically reach for sugar and caffeine to give them an extra energy boost. Although sugar can give you a slight boost, that energy is temporary and usually followed by a crash that can make you feel even worse than before. Caffeine is generally okay when taken in moderation, but too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, which can make you feel more tired [6].

While there is no singular diet that will increase your energy levels, it's always a good idea to maintain a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean sources of protein, and whole grains in lieu of sugary snacks [6].


Exercise can seem impossible and counterintuitive. After all, why would you tire yourself out even more? However, a regular exercise routine can help manage your mood, energy levels, stress, and blood sugar. You don't need too vigorous of activity. Yoga, cycling, and walking can all help you relax while remaining active [6].

Sleep Routine

Maintaining a sleep routine sets the foundation for good quality sleep every night. Keep a bedtime routine that introduces a low-level activity that gets your mind relaxed and ready for bed. This can include taking a bath, meditating, or reading a book. Things like exercising, playing games, or watching TV can over-excite your brain, even after you close your eyes [3].

As you've probably heard before: avoid electronics before bed. Anything with a screen should be put away at least an hour before bedtime. Move your phone away from your bed to prevent the temptation of checking it.

Literally, hundreds of conditions and diseases aside from thyroid problems cause fatigue. The only way to know your health status is to get tested, like with the Everlywell at-home thyroid test, or get an official diagnosis from your healthcare provider. This can provide peace of mind and help you start your journey to better health.

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  1. Thyroid gland. You and Your Hormones. Medical Citation URL. Accessed January 7, 2022.
  2. The Connection Between Fatigue and Thyroid Disease. Verywell Health. Medical Citation URL. Accessed January 7, 2022.
  3. Fatigue. Cleveland Clinic. Medical Citation URL. Accessed January 7, 2022.
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. "Could a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency Be Behind Your Fatigue?" Harvard Health Blog. Medical Citation URL. Accessed Jan 05, 2022.
  5. Pexman-Fieth, C., Behre, H. M., Morales, A., Kan-Dobrosky, N., & Miller, M. G. (2014). A 6-month observational study of energy, sexual desire, and body proportions in hypogonadal men treated with a testosterone 1% gel. Medical Citation URL. Accessed Jan 05, 2022.
  6. Coping with fatigue. British Thyroid Foundation. Medical Citation URL. Accessed January 7, 2022.
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