Like exercise, the relationship between sleep and gut health goes both ways. Better sleep leads to better gut health, poor sleep has a negative effect on gut health - simple. The research in this area is emerging, but it is clear that a relationship exists.
Not getting enough sleep can quickly affect your microbiome. Numerous studies show that people who sleep well have more diverse levels of gut bacteria than poor sleepers.
Not getting enough sleep has both mental and physical implications in both the short and the long term. Short term consequences are often more mental. Over a more prolonged period it can lead to stress and anxiety and even depression.
More frightening are the potential outcomes of consistently poor sleep over time. Serious, life limiting illness such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer could be a result of long-term sleep deprivation. There is also evidence showing links between lack of sleep and debilitating cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Mood Changes – depression & anxiety
Trouble thinking and concentrating, impaired judgement
Accidents and injury through lack of concentration
Low sex drive
High Blood Pressure
Risk of diabetes
Risk of heart disease
This is the time when your body repairs and rejuvenates, growing muscle, mending damaged tissue and synthesising hormones. At the same time, your brain is processing and consolidating information and memories; transferring fleeting, short-term memories to stronger, long term ones that you won’t forget.
During the deepest stages of sleep the brain disposes of anything it doesn’t need in communication with the gut. More and more research is taking place in this area to understand how it all works and what we can do to ensure we all sleep better.
However it’s not just quantity of sleep, it’s quality too. You want to ensure you get the right mix of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (None Rapid Eye Movement), and of course you don’t wake up too much. The sleep cycle is really important, creating the right conditions for a good nights sleep will help regulate the cycle.
Please note: The contents of this website are provided for you as information. It is not intended to replace advice from a qualified professional. We encourage you to make health care decisions based on your own research and in partnership with a qualified professional.
Read our blogs on sleep and gut health.