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If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep, Your Gut Will Suffer A Lot, Here’s Why

If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep, Your Gut Will Suffer A Lot, Here’s Why

Sleep is a key factor to a healthy lifestyle. Many of us have a tough time falling asleep and have no idea why. Sometimes an uncomfortable gut is what’s making us not be able to fall asleep, but did you know that lack of sleep can cause indigestion? It also causes our mind and body to shut down. When this happens, we start feeling sluggish and irritable. Coffee can’t save us when we reach that point!

Let’s focus on one thing in particular that lack of sleep does to our bodies: it causes indigestion. How can we stop this from happening? Read on to find out ways you can tell if you suffer with this and how to fix it.

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Identifying the problem

There are many reasons why we can’t fall asleep at night. Whether we’re thinking of what we could have done differently throughout the day, dealing with stress and anxiety, or suffering with heartburn. There’s always a reason behind this problem (and more times than not we can’t figure out why this happens). Studies show that if you suffer with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) you’re more prone to staying up all night than someone without it.

When you suffer with IBS, you crave more foods and feel fatigued often. In order for you to feel better, you intake more food than needed which causes you to stay up later at night. Your stomach needs to digest food before you fall asleep and it can be very hard to do this when you eat a lot during the day (and before bed).

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Fixing the problem

Now that you know what’s going on inside of your body, you can take the necessary steps needed to fix the problems. We’ve compiled a list for you to follow in hopes that it benefits you (as much as it did for us)!

Balance your blood sugar

People who suffer with nocturnal hypoglycemia are more prone to be woken up during the night for a snack. How can you prevent this from happening (especially when it’s a medical condition)? Try eating small meals every few hours while avoiding sugary foods and drinks. If you’d like a little more information on how to control your hypoglycemia to get a better night’s sleep, check out this free ebook. It’s filled with recipes that will keep your body (and gut) happy and healthy day and night.

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Drop the midnight-snack

    Image Via: abcnews.go.com

    We get it. Everyone craves chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. However, these sugar foods will keep your mind going throughout the entire night. Not only will they keep you up at night, but they’ll be almost impossible to digest. It usually takes about 6 hours to digest foods (and large meals). If you’re going to eat anything, stick to a handful of almonds. Your gut will thank you for the snack (and will be able to digest the almonds in a quicker amount of time).

    Prop your pillow upright

      Image via: sharperimage.com

      A lot of people that suffer from IBS deal with reflux. You definitely don’t want to fall asleep on your stomach if you deal with IBS and reflux. When you prop your pillow upright, the chances of you suffering from reflux drop astronomically. Sleeping on your side (with your pillows propped upright) is another great way to sleep (if you can’t fall asleep on your back). If you do this, you should alternate from side to side each night.

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      Have a cup of tea and take time to unwind

        Image Via: rantchic.com

        Chamomile tea acts as a mild sedative for sleep, and many people find that it helps reduce their stress! It can also help with nausea and indigestion (which is what we’re talking about in this entire article)! If you take time do drink your tea while journaling (or doing a form of yoga) you will fall asleep much faster.

        What methods will you try to fall asleep faster? What have you done in the past that has helped you? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to share this with friends and family to see what they say!

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        Kayla Blydenburgh

        Freelance Copywriter, Ghostwriter, and Blogger

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2018

        The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

        The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

        It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

        If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

        One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

        Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

        In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

        Why you can’t sleep through the night

        The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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        Stress

        If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

        Exposure to blue light before sleep time

        We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

        While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

        Eating close to bedtime

        Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

        Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

        Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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        Medical conditions

        In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

        The vicious sleep cycle

        The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

        Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

        You get a bad night’s sleep
        –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
        –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
        –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

          You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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          How to sleep better (throughout the night)

          To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

          1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

          What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

          Here are a few suggestions:

          • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
          • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
          • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
          • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
          • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

          2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

          What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

          • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
          • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
          • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
          • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

          3. Adjust your sleep temperature

          Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

          Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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          Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

          Sleep better form now on

          Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

          I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

          As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

          Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

          Reference

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