Want a healthy Microbiome? Start with a good night’s sleep

TULA

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A good night’s sleep does more than makes you feel well rested – it improves your overall health.

Surprisingly, there is a profound connection between your gut health and sleep.  Much of it has to do with the human microbiome: the huge community of microorganisms that are a part of our bodies.  There are around 100 trillion microbes living on and in each one of us, from the surface of our skin to the insides of our intestines.  The largest collection live and die in our gut and appear to have a huge effect on our health, including our sleep and our skin.

Here are a few ways they are linked:

1. One of those connections has to do with circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycles our body goes through that regulate our sleeping and eating. Our circadian clock helps control when we fall asleep and when we wake up, when we’re hungry and how easily we gain or lose weight. Our gut microbes impact these rhythms.

2. Cortisol, the “stress” hormone, is another key player in our sleep cycle. Cortisol levels dip at night when we’re sleeping and spike in the morning when we wake up. Disruptions in our gut that affect cortisol levels disturb our regular sleep cycle as well. Without the proper balance of gut microbes, our cortisol levels soar, impacting our mood and stress level, making it more difficult to sleep.

3. This relationship is a two-way-street: our sleep patterns impact our gut microbes and vice versa. If you’re half asleep at 4 PM or too exhausted to make it through your workout, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep and your gut isn’t getting enough anti-inflammatory bacteria.

So want to improve the function of you microbiome and catch more productive zzzz’s? Best place to start is your diet. Eating more anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, berries, like blueberries will help those microfloral flourish. Also focus on probiotics like miso, yogurt and kimchi as well as prebiotics, rich foods which nourish your healthy microbes such as chicory, Jerusalem artichokes and garlic. Add a dose of magnesium, which helps regulate more than 300 biochemical processes in the body, for an added boost.

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