I can’t emphasise enough to my gut patients; how crucial sleep is to all aspects of health, both physical and mental.  Digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, reflux, and abdominal pain, can all be exacerbated if a regular sleep pattern is not maintained.

As a matter of fact, getting enough sleep on a nightly basis is vital for optimal digestion and keeping related symptoms at bay. It, is also pivotal to help reduce stress, enhance our wellbeing and to keep us productive and alert, so we can make the most out of our day.

Sleep and digestive health are intertwined, so it’s crucial to achieve adequate sleep nightly.

Some key points, why lack of sleep, can affect your digestive health.

  1. Sleep deprivation can affect your daily food intake, what you consume and how much you consume. Hormones that control hunger (ghrelin) and satiety (leptin), can become dysregulated, leading to increased hunger and cravings.
  1. Melatonin is a hormone known for its role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, but it also plays an important function in the gut. Melatonin promotes gastrointestinal motility, by facilitating the contraction of the lower oesophageal sphincter, which allows food to pass into the stomach and prevent acidic contents entering the oesophagus. When melatonin is low, the sphincter begins to relax, allowing contents to move into the oesophagus, contributing reflux.
  1. Sleep deprivation increases cortisol, which can slow the digestive process by reducing the contraction of muscle in the digestive tract which can result in bloating, constipation, and reflux.

Irregular sleep patterns and lack of sleep can increase stress hormones like cortisol, which play havoc with your digestion. High levels of cortisol can upset the balance of bacteria in your large intestine and reduces the production of mucous, which helps protect the gut lining, this results in symptoms of bloating, gas, and distention. Excessive cortisol levels can lead to various of health condition, such as: high blood pressure, blood sugar dysregulation, weakened immune system and weight gain.

Here are 5 tips, I give my clients to establish, a regular sleep pattern.

  1. Switch off electrical devices, laptops, phones, iPad and tv at least an hour before bed. Blue light switches off your sleep promoting hormone, melatonin.
  2. Establish a routine, go to bed and rise the same time daily,
  3. Get some morning sunshine, this helps regulate our internal body clock.
  4. Avoid alcohol, as it will disturb your sleep and cause symptoms like bloating, distention, and reflux. High alcohol consumption irritates the gut lining and disrupts your the microbial balance contributing to symptoms.
  5. Find ways to switch off daily: Epsom salt bath before bed, cup of herbal tea, packed with digestive herbs, practice mindfulness, make time for some fun.

Establishing a regular sleep pattern, is pivotal to your digesting health and reducing symptoms of bloating, distention, and reflux. So, let’s start tonight and make sleep a top priority.


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