What You Need to Know About Sleep & Your Gut Health

November 18, 2021

It may not come as a shock to know that sleep is essential to our mental and physical health.  What might be less easy to realize is that sleep and gut health and very interlinked. 

Our gut microbiome, the internal ecosystem we all have of trillions of gut bacteria, influences our ability to access quality sleep. On the other end, our sleep influences the health of our digestive system.  This is related to the gut-brain connection where we know that the brain is connected to our gut and sleep systems. 

Sleep disorders play a large role in many digestive conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

Poor sleep can trigger the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can increase glucose and insulin.  This disruption in metabolic processes increases the risk of diabetes and other metabolic conditions. 

Other effects of increased cortisol from loss of sleep are constipation, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and more.  Lack of sleep also impacts or hormones linked to appetite and hunger by increasing both making it more likely for overeating. 

Melatonin is a sleep related hormone that is found in large amounts in the gut.  It has a role in maintaining tissue in the digestive tract and reducing inflammation and pain.  When these levels are not optimal, pain and inflammation are likely to increase as well as changes in digestion such as constipation or diarrhea because melatonin has an impact on optimal digestion. 

4 Tips for better gut health and sleep:

Avoid eating large meals before bedtime.  This can keep you up at night with your body working n digesting food instead of winding down.  

Try sleeping on your left side.  Sleeping on your left side prevents acid reflux by helping your stomach to digest food more easily. 

Incorporate foods high in magnesium.  This is a mineral that has a calming effect on the body that can help with sleep.  It is also useful for preventing muscle cramps that can impact sleep.  Foods that are high in magnesium are leafy greens, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and cacao nibs. 

Try calming teas such as chamomile and ginger that both help with soothing digestion.  You can incorporate this as part of a wind-down routine at night to get yourself primed for sleep.

To discuss your digestive health or sleep concerns book a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Ramlal, ND and we can create a strategic plan to get your sleeping and feeling better.

 Click here to book an appointment with Dr. Ramlal, Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Ramlal believes that we can all be the best version of ourselves and this starts with taking care of our health.  We are worthy of having the life we want and doing all the amazing things we want to do. She is passionate about looking at the bigger picture of the factors that shape our health and curating strategies to help others reach their greatest potential. Dr. Ramlal has a strong belief in creating a space to cultivate growth, awareness and fostering the mind-body connection to nourish the foundations of health. As a clinician, her area of focus is helping those with digestive concerns such as irritable bowel syndrome, break free from the constraints of diarrhea, bloating and constipation that are keeping them from living and feeling their best.

I would love to hear from you, let’s connect on Instagram @drroxanneramlal

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