The gastrointestinal tract, also known as the gut has a direct connection to your brain. This means that its well-being affects many functions of your body. The gut runs from the mouth to the anus, and since both ends are open, it hosts trillions of dynamic and complex bacteria, fungi, and viruses called microbiota.
During birth, your gut is clean but starts collecting microbes immediately. A healthy gut microbiota consists of a well-balanced mix of good and bad bacteria. An imbalance may cause health issues such as sleep disorders, inflammatory gut disease, obesity, diabetes, and more. Understanding your gut’s health is important for your overall health.
The Gut vs the Circadian Rhythms
The human body has an ‘internal clock’ that sets a 24-hour rhythm, which determines when you wake up or when to go to sleep, among other processes. Microbiome in the gut plays a major role in regulating this rhythm. All the cells in the body maintain this clock, and the gut is a part of it. A study in 2016 showed that microbes move around within the body during the day or night to influence the circadian rhythms of other organs.
The Gut vs Depression and Insomnia
According to scientists, the microbiome in your gut affects your mental health. A study found that people experiencing depression had distinct bacteria levels in the gut, and impaired sleep too. According to Professor Tim Spector, a geneticist and gut specialist, there is a connection between the gut, the brain, and sleep. The gut has a nervous system that acts as a bi-directional communication structure between the gut and the central nervous system (CNS).
Can Cause Depressive Insomnia
The gut microbiome affects neural development, behavior, and cognition. Alterations of the microbiome can cause depressive-like behaviors. People with depressive insomnia might have a gut bacteria imbalance that overstimulates the nerves and tissues. This causes the CNS to send mixed signals that produce sleep issues and depressive symptoms.
Bowel Disorders Affect Your Sleep
If you suffer from a disorder of the gut called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may also have sleeping issues. According to experts, people experiencing different kinds of IBS have different sleep hormone levels. Diarrhea-predominant IBS and constipation-based IBS affects your sleep in different neurological patterns. Also, gut disorders affect the response of your body’s inflammatory system, causing sleeping issues.
Friendly Bacteria Promotes Better Sleep
High levels of stress lead to sleep issues. Whatever the stress you are experiencing, the health of your gut is of importance. A healthy gut ensures less stress, while more stress is unhealthy to your gut. Friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal system leads to reduced stress and better sleep. The composition of your gut microbiomes can result from a slight change in your sleeping patterns.
The health of your gut is one of the most important aspects of your overall wellbeing. The connection between your gut and sleep is strong and direct. Scientists are still discovering the complexities surrounding the relationship between sleep and the gut. Eat healthily and avoid stressful conditions to maintain a healthy gut. If you experience an extensive lack of sleep, it is important to see your doctor.