Sleep is crucial for optimal health. If you’re dealing with digestive issues, take a look at your sleep. Are you getting 7-8 hours each night? Is that sleep quality sleep? Are you sleeping through the night? Or are you waking up every hour?
Lack of sleep not only causes leaky gut and digestive issues, but also fatigue, hormonal imbalance, and blood sugar issues. You can even have weight gain and increased hunger due to excessive food cravings. We need sleep in order to repair, recycle, and remove our cells. When you have low levels of melatonin, you will have greater inflammation. Our bodies should also be able to produce enough melatonin at night naturally.
So what are some things that ruin sleep?
First, alcohol can disrupt your sleep, even with just a glass. This is why I try to limit alcohol as much as I can, because when I do drink, I sleep poorly and it affects my day ahead. I crave sugar the next day because of my lack of sleep and I don’t feel my best.
Caffeine can also impact your sleep and I suggest you don’t drink caffeine past noon. Caffeine includes things like coffee, green tea, and black tea.
Looking at artificial light, such as your computer or television, tells your body it’s time to secrete more cortisol (our stress hormones). Our bodies should be decreasing its cortisol levels at night. This is why I always suggest blue blockers when the sun goes down and when you look at artificial light in the evening. This will help block some of the artificial blue light so your body knows it’s time for bed and therefore your body can secrete melatonin.
When you are exercising intensely too close to bed, this can also spike your cortisol and tells your body you’re still in “fight or flight” mode. I love working out early in the morning because I get energized from exercise. If you’re having sleep issues, try to workout earlier in the day rather than in the evening.
Having no daylight exposure is not good in terms of having a good night sleep. When you wake up, you want to expose yourself to sunlight right away. This will tell your body it’s time to get up, because when the sunlight goes down your body will be able to secrete the melatonin it needs. Your body needs that exposure for a normal circadian rhythm.
Did you know carbs before bed help you sleep? I always make sure to be eating whole food sources of carbs such as sweet potatoes with dinner. Carbs help improve transfer of tryptophan to the brain, which in return helps with sleep.
Lastly, looking at social media at night can play a huge role in sleep. This is because your mind is going to wonder and may increase your cortisol levels further. You don’t want to check your phone regardless of it being too close to bed, which is why I put mine on airplane mode 30 minutes to an hour before sleeping.
Sleep is crucial for optimal health. Getting enough sleep not only helps our mood and energy levels, but also our digestive system. If you’re not getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night, let me know! We can figure out what might be causing your sleep issues together!