How are your sleep habits affecting your gut health?Tuesday Sep 19, 2023
Did you know that your sleep habits can affect your gut health?
The CDC recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults and up to 12 for teens and children. For most adults, 9 hours sounds wonderful but managing to log that many hours every night can be a challenge, resulting in tiredness or fatigue throughout the day. Before you deprioritize sleep, it could help to know that while not getting enough sleep can mean more daytime nodding off, it can also increase the risk of many common health concerns.
For example, did you know that just one night of insufficient sleep can lead to increased cortisol production? Cortisol is a stress hormone that can not only impact your mental health but also makes you hungrier. So, if your goal is weight loss, not getting enough sleep will make that goal much harder! Research also shows lack of sleep is associated with a variety of diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, which in themselves are enough to lose sleep over.
But things don't stop there. Did you know that just one night of insufficient sleep can lead to increased cortisol production? When you don't get enough sleep, it can wreak havoc on your gut health. And considering the fact that gut health influences so many other areas of your health - your immune system, skin health and mental health - getting enough sleep is of the utmost importance, and in the grand scheme of things, one of the easiest pro whole-body-wellness boxes to check off.
Let's explore the link between sleep and gut health, and what you can do to get better sleep.
The Primary Link Between Gut Health and Sleep
Sleep and gut health are connected through something known as the gut-brain axis. It's a bidirectional communication network that essentially allows your gut microbes and brain to talk to each other. Your brain sends signals to your gut microbes and they sends signals to your brain. So, how does this internal relay relate to sleep and gut health, you ask?
Stress. Cortisol can also affect your gut microbiome by altering gut transit time, contributing to leaky gut, and affecting nutrient availability. Your brain can't discern between stress due to lack of sleep from stress in relationships or work - it responds the same way. Consuming too much caffeine, sugar or refined carbohydrates, or not getting enough sleep all get the same response.Your brain sends signals to the gut that negatively impact your gut's health based on these stressors:
- Digestive problems such as constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and gas
- Abdominal pain
- Exacerbated symptoms relating to gut-related conditions like IBD, SIBO, and leaky gut
- Food sensitivities
So it's not just your gut health that a lack of sleep impacts. Since gut health sets the stage for multiple health factors it's extremely important that you're getting enough sleep.
7 Tips for Better Sleep & Gut Health
Here are our 7 best tips for getting a good night's sleep!
1. Establish a routine that signals to your body it's time to unwind and get ready for bed. This could include taking a relaxing bath, making some hot tea, or reading a book.
2. Steer clear of large meals, alcohol, and caffeine right before bed. All of these things negatively impact your circadian rhythm and can make it hard to get to sleep.
3. Create a bedroom environment that's conducive to quality sleep. Make sure you have comfortable pillows and bedsheets, that the room is quiet and dark, and also, that the room is set at a comfortable temperature.
4. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this could leave you feeling amped up and may prevent you from falling and staying asleep.
5. Limit screen time 1-2 hours prior to bed. The blue light emitted from screens on your phone and TV mess with your circadian rhythm and make getting good quality sleep more difficult. Red light is a good replacement for blue and preparing the body for sleep.
6. Practice meditation. This can help your mind and body to relax and de-stress after a long day or daily challenges. When you practice meditation, you might find you actually fall asleep during the middle of it!
7. Include a daily synbiotic with a custom formula tailored for your individual microbiome that includes the exact prebiotics, probiotics, and importantly, the exact strains of each you need for your most optimum gut health journey. Certain probiotic strains have even been clinically proven to reduce anxiety.
Sleep & Gut Health Summed Up
Sacrificing quality sleep over the long term can lead to a myriad of health complications such as an increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease to name a few.
If you're not getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, hopefully now you feel motivated and empowered to try and change that. Sleep is incredibly important to many aspects of overall wellness, especially your gut health. Remember, the gut microbiome directly impacts your immune system, skin, energy levels, and mood; and a happy gut can mean the all the difference.
The good news is that you don't have to accept the consequences of sleep deprivation, you're in control! All you have to do is remember how important it is and utilize our tips to train your brain and body to help you achieve great sleep.
- Make a routine around bedtime.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol prior to bed.
- Set your room to a comfortable temperature and have comfy sheets and pillows.
- Avoid exercising, screens, and blue light exposure close to bedtime.
- Practice mindfulness meditation to help your mind relax as you drift off into a good night's sleep.
- Give your gut custom tailored prebiotics and probiotics in a synbiotic blend made just for you.