What Your Gut Has To Do With Your Sleep
Are you someone who presses the snooze button at least two times before dragging yourself out of bed? Do you constantly get tired and find yourself always reaching for that next cup of coffee throughout the day? Well, you are not alone. While the recommended amount of sleep for an adult is seven to eight hours a night, nearly 30 percent of adults in the United States get less than six hours of sleep! It should come as no surprise that sleep deprivation can compromise your health and productivity in so many ways. Luckily, scientists may have just discovered a way you can get more of your much-needed beauty sleep, and it is all linked to tiny organisms in your stomach.
Yes, that’s right. Scientists have discovered that the amount and quality of your sleep are linked to the trillions of bacteria cells that are located in your digestive system. These bacteria are part of the human microbiome, bacteria and other microorganisms that live in your bodies, from the surface of the skin to the inside of your stomach. For the past several years, scientists have been researching the many complex ways that microbes interact with and influence your bodily processes and have identified ways that the gut microbiome can affect sleep.
Studies have found a connection between the gut microbiome and the circadian rhythm, the 24-hour-cycle body clock that helps regulate processes such as eating and sleeping. The circadian clock helps control when you fall asleep and when you wake up as well as your hunger cues and how easily you can gain or lose weight. Researchers have also discovered that the gut microbes can affect the regulation of these processes and rhythms, as well as the regulation of the body’s cortisol levels — a stress hormone that plays a key role in the sleep cycle.
If those levels are disrupted so that a person has overly high levels at night, your sleep cycle and amount of sleep will be disturbed. What is even more interesting, is that there is a two-way relationship between the gut microbiome and sleep — disruptions in sleep can cause negative changes in the gut bacteria that will further disrupt your sleep.
So, how can we improve our microbiome?
First, one easy way to boost your microbiome is by increasing the amount of plant fiber and reducing the amount of processed food and chemicals in your diet. Reach for good sleep nutrients and anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, strawberries, blueberries, and oranges. Magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are all essential nutrients for gut health. On top of that, you should eat probiotics — live bacteria that help balance the microbiome by supporting friendly bacteria — in capsule form or in foods such as yogurt and kimchee.
Beauty sleep is a very real thing. With insufficient sleep, cell repair and regeneration can’t be completed, and dead cells are left on the surface of the skin, causing blocked pores and blemishes. Remember when I mentioned how a lack of sleep causes the body to produce more cortisol? Well an excess of this hormone can break down skin collagen, the protein that helps keep skin smooth and elastic.
To prevent this, you can take direct action and apply probiotics directly to your skin with our TULA Overnight Skin Rescue Treatment — I developed it specifically to work with the skin’s natural nightly repair process, and it’s formulated with multiple strains of probiotics. The same little cultures that can do wonders in your stomach can do the same for your face, especially if you suffer from acne, rosacea, or eczema.
Scientists are just scratching the surface on all the different areas of our bodies that our microbiome influences. There’s still a lot to be learned!
Originally published at www.mindbodygreen.com on November 2, 2016.