Can’t Sleep? Your Gut Bacteria Might be to Blame
We’ve all had the dreaded feeling of knowing it’s going to be another restless night counting sheep.
We blame it on worrying, overthinking or our endless to-do list we have to get done for the week.
Sometimes it’s like a movie on repeat in our head about some random thing we said to our friend years ago, and we can’t seem to quiet our minds enough to slip into a blissful sleep.
But what if there was a sleep-gut connection going on within our bodies that we weren’t aware of?
Well, there is, and the 100 trillion little microbes in our gut are sometimes to blame for the endless nights of no shut-eye.
There’s an increased awareness and research being done about the connection between our gut microbiome and sleep. The gut microbiome is the diverse community of microbes – microorganisms such as bacteria – that live in your intestines.
Some estimate the bacteria living in your gut at this very moment can weigh up to 3 to 5 pounds – but don’t worry this is essential weight!
When we think of our gut we think of the major responsibility it performs – food digestion, but our gut actually supports our overall health and a major connection is being discovered between sleep deprivation and gut bacteria.
The Sleep-Gut Connection
When someone mentions the word neurotransmitters, normally our automatic thought is brain neurotransmitters. And that’s normal, because your brain is where the majority of your neurotransmitters are located.
But our gut surprisingly has over 30 types of neurotransmitters, like the ones found in our brain sending multiple signals throughout our body – coining the term “the second brain.”
Serotonin and melatonin are two of the main neurotransmitters that help regulate your body’s sleep cycle – or circadian rhythm.
What’s really surprising is that 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut. Serotonin has been called the “happiness hormone” due to the fact that it promotes well-being and happiness. But, like any other system in your body, these neurotransmitters have multiple roles – one of them being the regulation of sleep pattern.
Serotonin is the building block of melatonin – which is associated with sleep onset. And research is proving that our gut is the main source of melatonin production. Actually 400 times more than the pineal gland – which is where we had originally thought the majority of serotonin production occurred.
With the production of neurotransmitters in your gut regulating circadian rhythm, it’s no wonder why you need a healthy gut and an optimal environment for their production.
Gut Health and Insomnia
The production of serotonin and melatonin affect the process of our circadian rhythm making you feel alert or sleepy during certain hours. This rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock naturally running in your brain and is controlled by the release of hormones in the hypothalamus.
According to research, your gut microbiome can affect your:
- Circadian rhythm
- Body’s sleep-wake cycle
- Hormones that regulate sleep and wakefulness
How much serotonin you produce is dependent on natural, light, food, exercise, and gut bacteria. If your gut microbiome is not in mint condition it can directly affect the production of serotonin in your gut – throwing off your circadian rhythm and causing insomnia.
Your gut microbiome can also disrupt your sleep pattern by affecting your emotions and mood causing stress, depression, and anxiety.
This makes it hard to calm your mind and fall asleep.
The beneficial bacteria in your gut can lower your stress hormone, cortisol, and these good bugs are known to produce GABA which is a calming amino acid helping you slip into a deep sleep.
A disruption in your body’s circadian rhythm can lead to multiple unwanted diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, neurodegenerative disease, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.
Circadian Rhythms of Your Gut
Not only does your gut health contribute to your sleep patterns, but it has a bi-directional feedback loop, meaning sleep deprivation also affects your gut bacteria. One study showed a change in your circadian rhythm caused by environmental factors such as shift work or jet lag, disrupted the gut microbial community.
The diverse community of microorganisms living in your gut surprisingly has their own circadian rhythm clock they run on as well. The gut circadian rhythm is generally synced up with our body’s circadian rhythm.
When your body’s circadian rhythm is out of whack, you can guarantee your gut’s circadian rhythm is thrown off. Syncing these rhythms cycles together is crucial in preventing chronic diseases.
Healthy Bacteria, Healthy Sleep
A long-term disruption in your sleep pattern, can negatively impact your health causing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, weigh-related issues, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and autoimmune disease. Fortunately, with a few simple lifestyle changes, you can promote healthy gut bacteria growth and avoid reaching for those sleeping pills at night.
Diet is so important in balancing your gut microbiome to induce serotonin and melatonin production and lead to a good night’s sleep. Bad bacteria in your gut love to feed on sugar and processed foods while the healthy bacteria thrive off whole foods such as vegetables and fruits.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your gut health and trouble sleeping:
- Diet – Feed your good bugs by eating a diet filled with vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.
- Healthy sleep habit – With today’s hectic lifestyle it’s important to develop a routine sleep schedule so both your gut and body’s circadian rhythm can stay in sync. Turning off your laptops, iPhone, or iPads a few hours before bed can help promote a better night’s sleep.
- Get outside and play – Natural sunlight promotes your sleep/wake cycle and production of serotonin and melatonin, so it’s crucial to soak up sunlight.
- Eliminate sugar – A well-known diet of your bad bacteria, sugar promotes the growth of harmful microorganisms.
- Atrantil – A natural supplement which feeds your good bacteria and restores the balance of your gut bacteria can aid in improving a healthy gut.
- Decrease stress – Keep stress and anxiety at bay – easier said than done, but with the help of meditation, yoga, or just a simple walk through nature you can dramatically reduce stress levels.
It’s important to get a good night’s rest, not only to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day but to live a better quality of life. Your gut microbiome and sleep go hand-in-hand in influencing each other for optimal health.
With the natural supplementation of Atrantil you can balance your gut microbiome and sleep better at night.