How Our Gut Health Affects Our SleepNov 22, 2021
Taking Care of our Microbiome Can Help Us Sleep Better…and So Much More!
There is nothing better than a good night sleep. You get into bed just as you start to feel tired, fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly through the night. You wake up feeling refreshed and vibrant…this is the goal, and it is reachable!
But, if you’re one of the nearly 35% of adults in America who struggle with insomnia — which can include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up too early in the morning, then you will probably try anything. Desperate for relief, millions of the chronically sleep-deprived turn to sleeping pills or other remedies in the hopes of getting just a couple more hours of precious zzzz’s, but what if the solution for a better night’s sleep lies deep within your GUT? This is truly one of the many, HEALTHIER ways to get that sleep you have been waiting for.
It’s all connected…
We are all holistic beings…meaning your whole self includes your mind, body, spirit and emotions. A healthy gut is essential for a strong immune system and overall physical and psychological well-being. So, healing your gut is a good place to start when you are trying to get quality sleep. And, it makes sense why one would have the desire for that sleep. It turns out that SLEEP HEALTH is the top determinant in longevity, winning over diet and exercise. Can you believe that? So, if you want to live a longer life, you better make sure you are getting good sleep!
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine stated that:
“There is no question that gut health is linked to sleep health…Scientists investigating the relationship between sleep and the microbiome are finding that the microbial ecosystem may affect sleep and sleep-related physiological functions in a number of different ways: shifting circadian rhythms, alerting the body’s sleep-wake cycle, affecting hormones that regulate sleep and wakefulness.”
Did you know that the microbes in your body out number your human cells by 10 to 1, making you more bacterial than human? Crazy, right! The trillions of bacteria living in and on your body are so important to your overall health that scientists have labeled their collective ecosystem — called the microbiome — another HUMAN ORGAN. Our gut is now considered an organ.
What’s amazing about your microbiome is that it’s responsible for so many life-supporting functions within your body, from regulating your immune system and supporting your metabolism to optimizing your digestion, balancing your moods, and yes…even helping you sleep.
The beneficial bacteria in your gut can communicate with your brain through the vagus nerve, a cranial nerve extending from the brainstem to the abdomen that serves as a communication superhighway for your microbial friends. It’s this constant dialogue between your brain and your gut that can help you get the sleep you need.
What is Circadian Rhythm? It is our body's natural sleeping and waking cycle, as a response to light and darkness. Even cooler…it is regulated by our brain! This internal clock signals our mind and body to go to sleep at night and remain awake during the day. Any disruption to our biological rhythms — from things like jet lag, job hours, or insomnia — can lead to problems with memory, cognitive function, irritability, metabolism, motor control, and disrupted sleep. But, research shows that your gut microbiome has its own daily rhythms that are firmly intertwined with your body’s circadian rhythms. And, changes in either one (whether from diet, travel, or lack of sleep) can affect the other. Everything is connected!!!
Take Action for Better Gut Health and Better Sleep!
It’s clear that a strong population of beneficial bacteria in the gut is crucial for restorative, health-enhancing sleep, so where do you start? Besides maintaining healthy sleep habits, like keeping your room dark, establishing a sleep schedule, and staying away from blue light near bedtime, following a gut-healthy lifestyle will set the foundation for long-term vitality and good quality sleep. Here are some ways to take care of your gut and improve your sleep.
- Invest in a quality Probiotic (preferably Soil Based) my favorite brand is Solluna
- Feed the good bugs and starve the bad guys. That basically means, eat whole, plant-based foods that are prebiotics (food for the probiotics) and avoiding highly processed, high sugar foods.
- Exercise by having some form of movement throughout the day.
- Sleep during the night to keep your sleep cycle on track.
- Get outside in the sunshine during the day.
It is pretty simple. Take care of your gut and get good quality sleep. You mind and body will thank you for it and you will feel amazing.
Write below and share the ways you have taken good care of your gut health and prioritized your sleep.