What’s YOUR personal sleep philosophy?
Do you look forward to it every night ...
Or is it something you HAVE to do, but takes away time from other things you WANT to do, … or
Is falling asleep or staying asleep something you struggle with?
Sleep is SO IMPORTANT for your rest and your recovery, so here is one thing that might be affecting your sleep.
While you sleep, your body is actually very busy, working hard for you!
It repairs cells, restores energy, and releases hormones, proteins, enzymes and more.
It also helps you recover from your workouts … so you can get those fitness gains you’ve been working on!
Plus, your nervous system is busy recovering from the day before … and your brain is storing information and sending out toxins to be eliminated.
Pretty important stuff, right?
But a lot of us have a hard time sleeping.
In fact, a study by Consumer Reports found that almost 30% of people say they have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep MOST nights ... and 68% struggle with sleep at least once a week.
For a lot of us, this can be because of our lifestyle – we’re too busy and just can’t seem to wind down.
But there’s a surprising double-whammy effect on sleep … and it has to do with a system in your body that you might not even think of.
It’s your gut! I’ve been talking about gut health a lot this month because it’s linked with so many things that have to do with your health and well-being.
When you don’t sleep well, the balance of the “good” and the “bad” bacteria in your gut can get out of balance, which means it can’t do its job as well.
Just one of the things your gut does is create and process many of your hormones.
As an example, your gut is involved in making and processing MELATONIN, a hormone that affects your sleep/wake cycle.
Plus, it makes serotonin and dopamine, which besides boosting your mood and overall feeling of well-being, also helps with your sleep!
When you don’t sleep well, it can affect your gut health … which can affect your hormones ... which can in turn affect your sleep even more.
You can see how it could turn into a vicious cycle over time?
The awesome news is that what’s good for your gut health is also good for your whole body ... and helps you feel better all the way around!
Obviously if you have chronic issues with sleep OR your gut health, you should check in with your doctor.
But I have some simple lifestyle steps you can take to help support your gut health – and your sleep!
#1 Schedule in enough time for sleep every night! Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours.
It also helps to create a nighttime routine to help you relax and wind down before bed, to let your body know it’s time to sleep.
This can be turning off any bright lights in your home, reading a book, having a night-time self-care routine, or whatever signals “relaxation” to you.
It’s crazy how much our bodies love to get into routines and rhythms.
#2 Make sure to get some exercise during the day, since that can help make you physically tired. PLUS … it also has been shown to help support your gut health!
#3 Eat a diet of unprocessed foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber, since the “bad” bacteria like to feed on sugar … and the “good” bacteria like to eat those fibers!
#4 Add some fermented foods like yogurt or sauerkraut to your meals, because they contain probiotics which will give you even more good bacteria.
It’s a good idea to also skip the energy drinks and other caffeinated drinks (especially after 2pm) ...
But also, having an alcoholic drink or two at night can also make it hard to sleep. The thing with alcohol is that at first it can help you fall asleep … but then you end up waking up a little while later as your body processes the alcohol.
#5 DESTRESS. There’s a direct link from your digestive system to your brain, and it plays a big role in your body’s stress response.
This doesn’t have to be anything super elaborate. Just take a few minutes and focus on breathing.
Just a few thoughts! I know a lot of you struggle with getting your sleep, and I hope these tips help!
I’m here to help you meet your fitness and wellness goals. Learn more about my online group and 1:1 coaching here>