Just in case you haven’t heard this a million times already, your gut has a direct link to your brain, and it affects everything you do. Yes, your gut is responsible for balancing pretty much everything in your body, including your sleep. Finding the right sleeping habits to care for your gut health, while also following a gut-friendly lifestyle will help you get the best of both worlds.
Our sleeping habits have a direct impact on our gut health. And our gut microbiome affects our sleep. So, we thought combining the two would help everyone in the long haul.
The Gut-Sleep Connection
The gut-sleep connection is very much a two-way street. So far, research shows that when we don’t get enough slip, our microbiome is directly affected. The findings are so shocking that recent studies found a possible connection between our gut bacteria, poor sleep, and age-related cognitive decline.
How Sleep Affects Our Health
In a nutshell, research has evidence that sleep-disrupted breathing, for example, can negatively affect the microbiome. That means someone with sleep apnea will have a lack of diversity of microbes in their gut. But, the effects of lack of sleep in our health are far more complicated.
Sleep affects our hormone balance. Lack of sleep or poor sleep patterns affect our hypothalamus, aka the master control in our brains. Here, hormones like cortisol are released. When they’re out of balance, we experience sugar and carb cravings, making us more likely to choose not-so-gut-healthy foods.
Sleep affects our mood. Almost 95% of your body’s serotonin comes from your gut. So, when your gut health is affected by poor sleep, it affects your serotonin production; thus, your mood.
Sleep affects insulin resistance. Even scarier, one study found a connection between one night of poor sleep and an increased risk of insulin resistance. Long-term poor sleeping habits can lead to diabetes and other health complications. Yikes.
How to Improve Gut Health & Sleep
Since we know these two work together, it’s no surprise that helping one will positively affect the other. There’s still a lot to learn about our gut microbiome and the anatomy of our gut in general. However, no doubt, paying attention to our gut health can help prevent health decline and lower our risk of many conditions.
Watch What You Eat
Our gut microbiome is extremely sensitive to what we eat. When we choose to indulge in processed foods and sugars, our gut bacteria go out of whack and disrupt the balance. Stay away from foods that can harm your gut health or silently kill gut bacteria. Instead, choose to eat gut-friendly foods that promote healthy digestion.
Start Taking Prebiotics & Probiotics
Our gut microbiota is made up of trillions of microorganisms or bacteria, aka prebiotics and probiotics. Fueling our bodies with the right type of foods rich in prebiotics and supplementing with the right probiotic is key to maintaining a healthy balance.
Exercise Is a Must, Not a Luxury
Most people consider exercise as something needed to stay in shape. Working out is much more than that. Various studies have looked at the effects of exercise on the microbiome and noticed that those who engage in physical activity have higher numbers of healthy bacteria. All of this means there’s lower inflammation, which means there’s a lower risk of developing inflammatory conditions such as diabetes, and even cancer.
So far, researchers have just scratched the surface about our gut health and its relationship to sleep. In the meantime, investing in following healthy sleeping patterns and caring for your gut is paramount. Please, make a conscious effort to manage your stress levels, follow a healthy diet, and to ramp up your physical activity. Your efforts will pay off.