Getting sufficient sleep in our busy lives can be impossible for some. With crying babies, busy work schedules, and endless chores. Due to all of these; we are deprived of sleep. Sleep deprivation on an ongoing basis leads to poor gut health. And all it takes is a few sleepless nights to lead to poor gut health.
You might be wondering how your gut health is related to your sleep patterns, the answers lie within your microbiome. Our intestines are home to micro-organisms, scientists call these microbiome.These microbiomes are responsible for digestion and more. Our human bodies hold plenty of microbiomes, most of these are bacteria which includes fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
Microbiomes are also home to our nervous central systems. It is responsible for communication with our brains and central nervous systems. This helps with metabolism, digestion, immunity, hormone production, stress and our moods. The intestinal microbiomes also releases various neurotransmitters which improves the sleep quality. These are dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin. Melatonin is produced in both the brain and the gut.
Melatonin is also responsible for sending messages to your brain and to alert it once it’s dark and to start producing more Melatonin so that the body can start to relax and then eventually sleep.
In addition to Melatonin, our circadian rhythms are also responsible for telling our brains when to do certain things. It’s known as our internal clocks and works on a 24 hour time period. It tells our bodies when to rise, rest, eat and it regulates our psychological health too. There are many factors that can disrupt our circadian rhythms such as night shifts and irregular eating patterns. This can also lead to other severe health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and other mental health disorders such as bipolar and depression.
How to Improve Your Sleep and Gut Health
Getting our circadian rhythms to function normally is vital for both the quality of your sleep and gut health and it’s easier than you think. Improving your sleep quality and improving your gut health can help with preventing cardiovascular diseases and mental health issues.
Here are a few steps that you can take to improve your gut health, overall health, sleep, and digestive system:
Get enough sleep:
This is the first step that needs to be taken. It also might be difficult for some to do but try and keep a consistent sleep routine. If you struggle to fall asleep, here’s a few tips that you can try:
- Wind down at least an hour before bedtime and dim the lights and keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
- Limit your screen time. Cut out watching tv and using your mobile phone before bedtime as this disrupts the Melatonin production and reduces your chances of falling asleep.
- Avoid stressful situations before bed such as work, personal problems and anything else that causes you to feel stressed out.
- Ensure that your bedroom is comfortable and has ample ventilation. You can also use lavender and other oils to help with relaxing your body.
- The human body has a endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates inflammation, nausea, sleep and appetite. Cannabinoids, like those found in CBD oil, can have effects on the ECS which could improve sleep and improve quality of life by reducing symptoms for those with an IBD like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, as well as potentially reducing inflammation.
Include healthy foods in your daily diet:
Include more greens and more vegetables in your diet. Cut out the junk food and processed food. This alone will do wonders for your gut health. Also cut down or completely cut out on sugar, this includes fizzy cooldrinks. Replace these with healthier options such as fruits, whole grains, nuts etc. You will notice that once you start eating healthier, your mood will improve and so will your sleep quality!
Eat on time:
Keeping to a set eating routine can be difficult but try to maintain consistent eating habits. If you’re finding it difficult to eat large meals, cut it down to five smaller meals. Also, don’t go to bed hungry and don’t overeat before bedtime. Both these factors can lead to poor sleep quality and it can cause weight gain.
This is another important step to take when trying to improve both your sleep quality, gut health, and overall health. The brain releases dopamine while exercising, this hormone will improve your mood, reduce your stress levels and improve your sleep quality. Exercising will also help with your gut health and it will ensure that your digestive system is functioning properly.
Get more vitamin D:
Vitamin D can do wonders for your sleeping patterns and sleep quality. Due to our modern day indoor lifestyles, our vitamin D levels have depleted. Insufficient vitamin D levels causes insomnia and the inability to have a proper good night’s sleep. You will find yourself waking up constantly. The easiest way to get vitamin D is to spend some time outdoors, try and get a daily dose of the outdoors and sun exposure to increase your vitamin D levels.