The Relationship Between Sleep and Gut Health
The gut-brain axis is one of the most powerful connections in the human body. You know the feeling of butterflies before your first day of school? Or the knot in your stomach in bed the night before your big presentation at work? That’s just one way we feel the relationship between the gut and the brain each day.
The gut communicates with virtually every system in the body and we’re learning even more about the intricate ways a healthy gut impacts our overall health.
So, what are the specific effects the gut has on our health?
- The gut houses a key part of the body's immune system.
- An balanced gut prevents systemic inflammation, which is known to cause hormonal, digestive, and even emotional issues.
- A balanced gut plays an important role in regulating our hormones.
- When your gut is happy and healthy, so is your brain.
- Even sleep - yep, the gut influences the body's sleep cycles too!
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is just as essential as food and water for our overall health. Without enough sleep, our bodies experience symptoms like brain fog, increased appetite and difficulty completing physical activities such as a workout.
Getting a proper night's sleep can determine the difference between having a strong, productive day and a sluggish one.
While it's completely common to skip a few hours of sleep here and there, receiving bad sleep consistently can do a number on your overall health. If you are having trouble getting enough sleep, do you know the reason for it?
If you’re not sure what’s causing poor sleep, it's impossible to fix! Have you ever thought to consider your gut health as the reason for your disordered sleep?
How Our Gut Influences Our Sleep
Research indicated a new way that the gut communicates with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) in order to determine the body's sleep cycles. As we know, the gut is a core communication center for the systems in our body. Certain microbes in the gut respond with systemic inflammation called cytokines. When the body experiences low-grade systemic inflammation, it messes with our stress hormone levels, like cortisol and adrenaline.
Systemic inflammation can be triggered by taking medications and by certain lifestyle choices like poor diet, extreme or sudden dietary restrictions, over- or under-exercise habits and alcohol consumption. If you find you are unable to go to sleep around bedtime, it's likely that your sleep cycle is disturbed because of an imbalanced microbiome.
Protect Your Gut From Stress and Inflammation with Prebiotics
A healthy diet is the most effective and easy everyday solution you can commit to in order to balance your microbiome and protect the gut from stress and inflammation. One of the best ways to balance the gut is by consuming both prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods on a daily basis.
Eating prebiotics regularly promotes good gut health and can improve the cycles of both non-REM and REM sleep. Both of these sleep cycles are important after your body experiences stress, since they help your body recover.
Although prebiotics can help repair your sleep cycle, it is recommended that if you have insomnia or other long-term sleep issues that you see your doctor before experimenting with at-home solutions.
Support your Sleep in Other Ways
If you're putting in the work to heal your gut and take back your sleep, here are a few other known habits that can improve your sleep and support your gut healing plan:
- Minimize stress as much as possible. Stress disrupts the body’s natural balance and can come in the form of psychological stress (financial troubles, relationships, a difficult day at the office) or physical stress (inflammation, infection, poor diet). Although stress is natural and bound to happen, try your best to eliminate as many stressors as you can for a better night's sleep.
- Reduce or completely eliminate electronics use at least 30 minutes before bed. It may not always be realistic, but the earlier you put all electronics away the better. A great substitute for watching tv or scrolling through your phone before bed is reading a book or writing in a journal.
- Create a regular bedtime routine to get your body and mind prepped to get a good night’s rest. Light stretching, drinking a warm cup of herbal tea or practicing meditation are great ways to relax before bedtime.
- Stay away from coffee or any other caffeinated drinks after noon. Put the coffee down following lunch and stick to water.
Snack Smart, Sleep Well
Choosing prebiotic snacks like Rowdy Prebiotic Bars throughout the day helps balance your microbiome and set your body up for better sleep come bedtime.
Never tried Rowdy Bars? Try a few flavors with our new single bar orders.