The research has been mounting for years: our gut and our mind are intrinsically linked. And same goes for the connection between gut health and sleep quality, too. It has been proven that lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on our gastrointestinal health. Not only that, but poor gut health can also have a detrimental effect on sleep. So the link between good sleep and a healthy gut is a (very important) two-way street.
Here’s some of the science behind the gut-sleep connection – but keep reading to see how you can turn the negative into a positive and ensure that two-way street is thriving and happy.
Our body works hard while we rest
We often hear about our mind and muscles in repair mode as we sleep. But our digestive system also recoups and rebuilds during this time, and healthy gut bacteria has an overnight growth spurt. So, naturally, if we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t give our digestive systems time to rebuild, before we go again the next day.
If we’re tired, we feed ourselves poorly
A lack of sleep has been shown to increase sugar cravings, which means double negative whammy for your gut – it’s already behind on its repair schedule, and we are then more likely to load extra stress onto it through poor food choices.
Lack of sleep equals increased stress levels
Sleep deprivation has been associated with increased inflammation in the gut lining, and a rise in the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol can wreak havoc on your gut and lead to annoying issues such as leaky gut.
We don’t want any of this. And the good news is, we can avoid it all with a few key habits.
Top tips for good sleep, healthy gut:
Finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bed, to avoid indigestion and allow your digestive system to start recouping as soon as sleep starts.
2. Intermittent Fasting
In fact, intermittent fasting has been proven to stabilise sleep. Starting your fast in the early evening can set your circadian rhythm and ensure you’re ready for sleep at the right time.
Find your calm before bed, to aid sleep and lower the effect of cortisol on your gut. We have the perfect three-step bedtime ritual for that.
Exercise regularly, to help you fall asleep quicker and generally improve gut health.
Keep up your fibre intake, as this has been shown to limit harmful bacteria in your gut, as well as lure you into the most restorative deep sleep stage for longer. Double win.
Set yourself up for sleep with a silk sleep mask, and give your gut the best rest you can.
Shop our sleep masks >