How Gut Health and Sleep Are Connected—What You Need To Know

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Did you know that your gut health and sleep are connected? 

You’ve most likely experienced this relationship at least once or twice—especially if you have eaten right before bedtime. You probably spent that night lying awake and feeling the food just sit like a rock in your stomach!

That’s right, your gut bacteria can affect your sleep patterns. Understanding the connection helps you make better choices so that you feel your best. 

How Gut Health and Sleep Are Connected—What You Need To Know | Quit Chronic Fatigue

How Are Your Gut Health and Sleep Connected?

Your gut health immediately impacts your sleep habits. That means if the bacteria in your gut is doing well, you’re most likely finding decent sleep. If your gut is suffering, so is your sleep.  

Let’s take a deeper look into the ways gut health and sleep are connected. 

Good Gut Bacteria Helps Promote Good Sleep

Research has demonstrated a direct connection between probiotics and sleep. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that can be found in the microbiome, the total bacteria population of our gut. Specifically, the research addressed how consistent amounts of probiotics can actually help create a steady sleep schedule. And with a solid sleep schedule, you’ll sleep longer (and get better quality sleep). 

It’s important to remember that while we all need to be aware of gut health, everyone’s gut makeup looks a little different. A specific probiotic might help your friend sleep more, but you could not see any results. 

But adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet is a good idea, no matter what symptoms you are experiencing! 

Finding the probiotic that’s right for you might take some time. Talk to a medical professional more about what probiotics can help YOU! 

Your Microbiome Impacts The Hormones That Control Sleep

All of us have a gland called the pineal gland—it sits at the center of our brains and produces different hormones. One of those hormones, melatonin, is in charge of our sleep. 

But most people aren’t aware that the pineal gland isn’t the only place in the body where melatonin is produced. The bacteria in your gut produces melatonin alongside other hormones that control sleep. 

Your gut health and sleep are connected by the same hormone, meaning the gut influences our sleep patterns and quality just as the brain does.  

Poor Gut Bacteria Leads To Poor Sleep

If good gut health is connected to a good night’s rest, then that relationship must still be there with poor gut health, right? Correct! 

Scientists still need to do a lot of research on the connection between gut health and sleep. But there is already evidence that high levels of bad bacteria in your gut negatively impact your sleep patterns. 

Related: How Poor Gut Health Shows Itself In Your Body (and What To Do About It)

Gut Health Issues Like IBS Have Sleep-Related Symptoms

IBS, also known as irritable bowel syndrome, impacts your gut health and sleep. 

Because of the connection between our gut and our brain, IBS can cause inconsistent sleep patterns. If you can get to the root cause of your IBS, you’ll experience fewer symptoms in your gut and in with your sleep. Your overall health will start to improve! 

How To Improve Your Gut Health and Sleep

There’s a clear relationship between your gut health and sleep. With that in mind, now you’ll be able to take steps to improve both!

Eat Foods To Support Your Microbiome

Because better gut health promotes good sleep, it’s important to fuel your gut with the right bacteria. Making changes to your diet can help you change the way you sleep at night. 

Try to avoid foods with high amounts of sugars and fat content. In addition, reduce the number of processed foods you eat. These kinds of foods can negatively affect the bacteria in your gut and can actually take away from the good bacteria. 

Related: What’s The Difference Between Prebiotic and Probiotic Foods For Supporting Gut Health?

Eat Lots Of Fruit and Veggies

One way to transition those nutrient-poor foods out of your diet is by introducing your body to a plant-based diet. 

You don’t have to only eat plant-based foods. But incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is beneficial to your gut. 

Research has shown that a plant-based diet introduces a diverse amount of good bacteria to your gut. The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the healthier your gut will start to be. As a result, you might find yourself getting more sleep at night. 

Work To Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress is the silent antagonizer on our body. Sometimes it can be hard to acknowledge how much stress really affects our bodies because we don’t want to give it that power. But it is essential to know that stress does negatively affect your gut health and sleep. 

If your stress levels are higher, there is a higher probability that your stress is changing the bacteria in your gut. Stress can change the good bacteria your gut needs into bacteria that will irritate your health. That’s why it is imperative to find a way to reduce stress. 

Practicing meditation and mindfulness is a great way to find relaxation and peace in your body. Meditation and mindfulness are both activities that help your mind focus on a specific idea or activity. Both promote the idea of being present and aware in your mind. 

Some people prefer using guided meditations on their phones, while others practice mindfulness through specific mindfulness practice workbooks. No matter how you choose to meditate, this strategy can really help you avoid stress and support your mental health. And that can improve other areas of your wellness! 

Address Your Current Gut Health Issues

While we all have a connection between our gut health and sleep, our microbiomes are very individualized. What works for some people, may not work for you. That’s why it is so important to talk to your doctor about any issues that you’re experiencing with your gut health. 

With a medical professional, you can discuss symptoms and create a plan that will get your gut health and sleep back to a healthy routine. 

Remember that the research surrounding the connection between gut health and sleep is still evolving. There is still so much more to understand about their relationship. But we do know that there is a relationship! 

Good gut health equals good sleep. Finding ways to promote a healthy gut through a plant-based diet or by reducing stress can help you consistently get a good night’s rest.

How Gut Health and Sleep Are Connected—What You Need To Know | Quit Chronic Fatigue

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