Sleep is so much more than a time machine to breakfast, (while you take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life) — that's just the tip of the iceberg!
Quality sleep is of huge benefit to your wellbeing, for both your body and your mind. You’re not only replenishing your energy stores while you sleep, but you’re also supporting your body and your mind to repair, restore and regenerate!
So it comes as no surprise that sleep deprivation can compromise the wellbeing of our whole being.
Research has shown that a lack of quality sleep, can contribute to major illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It can trigger anxiety and depression. It can also lead to impaired mental performance, memory loss and can lower our immunity, making us more prone to bugs like the flu. What some people don’t know is that even short-term sleep deficit has negative consequences.
But the good news? There is a way that you can get more of your much-needed beauty sleep, and it is all linked to the tiny microbes living in your gut.
The Gut-Sleep Connection
Oh yes, that’s right! The little microbes in your gut are communicating with your brain (arguably, more than your brain communicates with your gut!) Basically, what impacts one will impact the other – such as your sleep.
Research has shown that there is a connection between the gut microbiome and the circadian rhythm (our internal body clock that regulates cortisol and melatonin).
- Cortisol is our daytime hormone - it gets us out of bed in the morning!
- Melatonin is a hormone that makes us sleepy and tells us it is time to go into the land of nod.
Our gut microbiome can impact the regulation of these two hormones, which are crucial for the sleep cycle. Naughty bacteria!
But as we said, it goes both ways! It's not just us who get grumpy following a night of poor night's sleep. The bugs in our gut have their routine disturbed, too.
An unhappy gut disrupts the quality of your sleep, just as your sleep pattern impacts the trillions of little bugs in your microbiome. When you improve one, you improve the other at the same time! Two big fat birds with one little stone.
So, how can we support a happy gut for great sleep?
1. Include fermented foods in your diet
Fermented foods help restore the correct balance and diversity of beneficial bacteria in your gut, these are foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, yoghurt and kimchi. Yum!
2. Include prebiotic food too
To ensure your beneficial bacteria thrive, include prebiotic foods in your diet. Prebiotic are the foods that feed our beneficial bacteria.
3. Include a quality probiotic
Needing a booster of good guys in your gut? Promote the diversity of your beneficial gut bacteria with a quality daily probiotic.
4. Take some deep belly breaths
Stress can also disrupt our microbiome, which means supporting our bodies in unwinding, is hugely beneficial. Deep belly breathing is the quickest way we can nurture our all-important calming parasympathetic nervous system.