Sleep is an essential component of good health. Not only that, but it is also essential for good digestive health, as well. Many may know this but still might not get the quality of sleep that they need to function well, or to keep their digestive system healthy. While it may not always be easy to get a full night’s sleep in today’s busy world, the reality is that it is highly important to do if you want to feel your best.
For many, the first step towards supporting both their sleep quality and their digestive health is making sure that they do their research, and take some time to truly understand how sleep impacts gut health. If you are looking to better understand the connection between your sleep quality and digestive system, as well as gain some insight into ways to get better sleep, then here are some things for you to consider.
How Sleep Impacts Your Digestive Health
Along with doing things like trying a probiotic supplement or eating a healthy diet, sleep can have a lot to do with your digestive health. Sleep isn’t just important for digestive health, in fact, sleep quality can be directly connected to almost all areas of your health. From an increased ability to focus to having an easier time maintaining a healthy weight, you need sleep to keep yourself in good health in general. However, a lack of sleep can be particularly harmful to your digestive system, and in some cases could even have more of an impact on your digestive health than the foods that you eat.
One reason that sleep has such a significant impact on your digestive health is that your body does lots of work to heal and repair itself while you are sleeping. This includes your digestive system. Because of this, if you don’t get enough sleep or don’t get enough deep sleep, it can quickly lead to worsening any pre-existing health problems that you have, especially ones that are related to the digestive system.
Another way that sleep impacts your digestive health is through stress. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can quickly raise your stress levels. This means that you will have more cortisol and adrenaline in your system. While both of these stress hormones are necessary for stressful situations, having too many of them, in general, can be bad for your body, and in particular your gut.
The more that your intestines are exposed to these hormones, the more permeable its lining is likely to be. This can cause a whole host of digestive issues, like constipation, diarrhea, and leaky gut. Beyond that, leaky gut can cause another set of health concerns that can range far past your digestive system, like anxiety and autoimmune disorders. Leaky gut can also cause things like bloating, gas, irregular bowel movements, pain, and food allergies. This is due to the fact that when you have leaky gut, toxins that your digestive system would typically process are allowed to pass through your intestinal wall, and into other areas of your body.
Along with things like leaky gut, there are other ways that not getting enough sleep can cause issues for your digestive health. One of them is that the amount of sleep that you get can have a direct impact on the food choices that you make. What many don’t realize is that when they sleep, certain hormones are produced, while others are processed out of your system. Not sleeping enough will often prevent your body from producing the hormones that it needs to, and from processing the old ones that it doesn’t need anymore.
Some of these hormones are ones that impact your hunger levels, and your cravings. When you are sleep-deprived, you will have less of the hormones that you need to control your appetite. This means that you will not only be prone to eating more but that you will also be more likely to eat foods that are high in bad fats and sugar.
Not only can this quickly lead to things like weight gain, but it can also wreak havoc on your digestive system as well. The more that you eat unhealthy foods, the more likely you are to experience things like constipation, gas, and bloating. While this may not be a big deal if you miss sleep once in a while, over time these issues can become more problematic and more difficult to deal with.
Tips for Getting Better Sleep
While there can be lots of consequences for not getting enough sleep, the good news is that there are many things that you can do to help optimize your sleep quality and ensure that your digestive issues aren’t caused by a lack of good sleep. Even though it may not always be easy to get a full night’s rest, there are straightforward ways to help increase both the quantity and quality of sleep that you get each night.
One way to make sure that you’re getting good sleep is to watch your diet. Just as the sleep that you get affects the foods that you eat, the foods that you eat can also affect the quality of sleep that you get at night. Foods that are high in carbs and in sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. This means that your moods and energy levels will spike and crash, too, which can make it more difficult to sleep at night.
Additionally, it can also be a good idea to be mindful of the beverages that you consume, as well. Caffeine can be highly detrimental to your ability to sleep. In fact, caffeine can keep you awake at night, even if you drink it during the day. This is due to the fact that for some people, it can take a long time for caffeine to be processed by their bodies. So, even if you drink a cup of coffee early in the afternoon, it could still be in your system and keep you alert when you try to go to bed later on. By tracking your caffeine intake and limiting it to the morning hours, you can help avoid this issue.
The Bottom Line
Sleep is a necessary component of good health. Not only is sleep important for good health, but for good digestive health in particular. However, even though good sleep is highly important, there are still many who struggle to get the rest that they need each night. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult and that by taking some time to tweak your habits, you can help support both your sleep and your digestive health.