Our body systems are all interconnected, when one part is affected the other feels the effect of it. Therefore, there are several ways your gut health can affect your sleep.
- When there is no diversity in the gut bacteria, hormones such as serotonin and Melatonin’ are reduced which then impacts sleep as a result. A study done on mice has shown the amount of serotonin decreased after they were given antibiotics that disrupted their sleep pattern.
- As gut bacteria is disrupted it can cause inflammation in the whole body as well as the immune system which can also affect the ability to sleep.
- Imbalances of bacteria cause malfunction of the gut that results in intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and many more.
- Poor circadian rhythm (an internal clock that regulates our body’s function) can change the gut microbiome hence, disturbing your Zzz!. Falling asleep and staying awake is governed by these rhythms, they send signals telling your body what to do and when to do it. During the night the body produces more Melatonin’ which tells your body it’s dark and it’s time for bed and when daylights hit it tells your body it’s time to wake up.
Can Poor Gut Health Cause Insomnia?
Bad gut health does not only interrupt sleep but also affects your overall health in general. The gut microbiome and sleep influence each other and when one is affected the other one does too. Here is a study of how good bacteria are linked to better sleep and bad bacteria are linked to poor sleep. Serotonin is a hormone released by the brain that aids with sleep. The amount released depends on how good your gut microbiome is which increases the chances of you getting a night of restful sleep or a night where you might end up staring at the ceiling.
There is a correlation between lack or poor sleep and gastrointestinal disorders like GERD ( gastroesophageal reflux disease) that causes heartburn and indigestion, This can also influence how you eat and the dietary choices you make.
The hormones that can control hunger can misfire causing someone to snack late at night which leads to weight gain, obesity, and Insulin Resistance. Also, with lack of sleep, stress increases which makes the Cortisol hormone rise, resulting in the Leaky gut. Widen gaps in the intestine are created which lead to toxins, and food particles passing through the gut and into the bloodstream. Unpleasant symptoms of the gut are experienced as I have mentioned in my other article on Leaky Gut.
Another study done on nine men was proven to have changes in the gut microbes due to poor sleeping habits In this case the men slept two nights for only four hours. You can imagine what will happen over time if someone slept a few hours for many years.
For instance, people who suffer from Obstructive sleep apnea (It is a condition where one stops breathing often throughout the night) have an effect on low oxygen flow to the gut as well as to the brain hence they suffer many health issues. Between snoring and waking up so often due to stopping breathing during the night, they’re always tired. Having diverse good gut bugs and as well as quality sleep will prevent diseases such as diabetes, hypertension.
How To Improve Your Gut Health And Sleep
Things to Avoid before bed
- Stay away from Caffeine and sugary treats before bedtime. Caffeine can be hidden in many beverages, tea, chocolates, soda, and energy drinks
- Avoiding eating a big meal close to bedtime will surely keep you awake because your metabolism will get to work.
- Avoiding screen time 2-3 hours before bed can help with better sleep, blue light from computers, smartphones are bad if you want to have a goodnight’s sleep.
- Drinking alcohol, some people tend to drink a glass of wine thinking it might help them snooze after a long day, it might assist with falling asleep but wakes you up after a few hours late.
- Taking a nap after 3 pm can hinder your normal pattern of sleep, so say no! no! to the brain.
- Warmth or too much heat can stop you from getting a good night’s sleep so keep it cool and you won’t regret it!
- Avoid exercising a few hours before bedtime
- If you are on prescription medicine take them before bed, some of them might be stimulants that can keep you awake. Educate yourself about medication and talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions
- To have a better sleep cycle sleeping around the same time every night can improve your gut microbes
- Eat a light meal three hours before bedtime so you can get time to digest your food
Things that can help with sleep
- Making a list of a to-do list to avoid the worry that causes sleepless nights, can help your mind to relax and fall asleep easier.
- A hot bath, reading a good book, or light stretching exercise helps with winding down for the night.
- Sleeping and waking up at the same time daily create a better pattern. Sticking to the schedule is the key that promotes good gut microbes and peaceful sleep.
- Increasing your vitamin D supplement intake or getting more sunlight naturally increases your sleep quality and duration.
- Prebiotics and probiotics are good bacteria that can be found in foods like Onions, Leeks, and garlic. Probiotics can also be found in fermented food such as Kefir, Kimchi, and Sauerkeut.
Good gut microbiome and quality sleep interconnect with each other, thus both good gut bacteria and better sleep are crucial for our overall health and well-being. You’ll benefit from re-examining your lifestyle by taking steps that are important to eat a healthy diet by avoiding sugary and processed foods. This will lead to a happier gut and your bed will thank you as well. This will result in a peaceful well-rested body and disease-free life.
- https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20161209/sleep-loss-tied-to-changes-in-gut-bacteria#:~:text=FRIDAY, Dec.,2 diabetes, new research shows.