Are you tired of tossing and turning all night in an endless battle to get your 8 hours? If this is a recurring nightmare you constantly find yourself in, you’ll be glad to know that a better approach to your gut health could be the key to helping you catch those zzz’s. The connection between your gut microbiome and sleep is a two-way street: sleep disorders such as insomnia slow down healthy digestion, but scientists are now clocking on to the idea that the way you treat your gut actually affects sleep quality too.
A survey conducted last year by Aviva revealed that a whopping two-thirds of adults in the UK suffer from disrupted sleep, which includes difficulty drifting off, trouble staying asleep, and an inability to wake up too early. If you fall victim to any or all of these pesky problems, you’ve most likely tried all the usual remedies such as refraining from using your phone before bed, taking herbal sleeping pills and counting sheep, but if you’re yet to find the solution to sleepless nights, taking a closer look at your gut may be a vital step towards nodding off.
Recent research into the complex relationship between sleep and your gut has highlighted that poor microbiome health and an imbalance in gut bacteria within the small intestines can keep you up at night, as this causes irritating problems such as joint pain, fatigue and stomach upset. But it’s not all doom and gloom – what is exciting about this realisation is the idea that those who struggle to sleep can dream of a good night’s kip again by treating their digestive system with more care and consideration. This is because your microbiome can positively affect many sleep-related functions including alleviating stress, regulating sleeping patterns and minimising irritating pain.
Remember that your gut microbiome is a very powerful thing – often labelled your ‘second brain’, the overall digestive system is responsible for many functions which keep you alive, including controlling your immune system and supporting your metabolism. While scientists are still working hard to establish the many links between your gut and sleep, let us lay out a few of the ways that a balanced microbiome can ease you back into a peaceful slumber.
1) Say goodnight to stress
We’ve all been there – lying in bed all night, wide-eyed and anxious because of the stress of day-to-day life. While stress can be the main culprit for sleep deprivation, the good news is that your gut is actually capable of calming you down when you choose the right foods. Fatty, sugary and processed foods which are harder to digest are more likely to cause stress, while it can be alleviated by whole grains, fresh fruit and veg. Additionally, ninety percent of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut – a chemical that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness, so it’s crucial to make sure that this isn’t hindered in any way.
2) Regulate your body clock
If you’re desperate to sleep soundly, stick to a strict bedtime routine and set an alarm at the same time every morning. This will keep your internal sleep-wake cycle in sync, controlled by a hormone called melatonin which is produced by the pineal gland in response to light changing as day moves into night. Your gut is involved in this process because its bacteria increases levels of tryptophan in the bloodstream – an amino acid which is converted into both melatonin and serotonin. Therefore, it’s important to understand your gut and ensure that it’s getting enough probiotics for this sleep-inducing process to occur.
3) Minimise pain
Illness is one of the most common factors which keeps us awake at night, and this applies to ailments which originate in the gut including irritable bowel syndrome, joint inflammation and skin rashes. Luckily, painful conditions such as these can be minimised a lot of the time if you have a healthy gut brimming with all the right bacteria – so the power is in your hands.
To put all of this into practice, our GutQlu digestive test can profile your microbiome, giving you a detailed picture of any problems you might have due to gut bacteria imbalances. We’ll offer you an in-depth report with tailored suggestions to improve your gut health, enabling you to take action against conditions which might be hindering your sleep, through just a few simple lifestyle and diet changes.
Our GutQlu test will unlock the secrets of your DNA to allow you to understand the effect your diet has on your delicate gut bacteria and how you can better optimise and balance your gut health.
Love your gut with key insights from your own custom genetic report.
If you’re looking to identify problems caused by gut bacteria imbalances such as stomach upset, joint pain and fatigue and to optimise your diet, take the first step with a GutQlu personalised digestive report.