The connection between sleep and gut healing is so important that I wanted to share some findings with you.
During my 30-days strict AIP, which by the way was like a million years ago (okay, I’m dramatic; it was just in 2016), I tracked and paid a huge amount of attention to sleep and how adequate sleep (and/or a lack of) improved my days or made them challenging.
pssst….if you’re up late reading this and sacrificing sleep time, stop now, shut down your computer and go to bed. You can click HERE to save the post to your Pinterest for later or come back to visit me tomorrow. Seriously, go to sleep.
Sleep and Gut Healing
I have three pillars for ultimate gut healing. These three pillars include: diagnosis, food, and lifestyle.
Sleep falls within the lifestyle pillar, which is the third (and usually most challenging) pillar for ultimately overcoming stubborn gut issues.
Have you ever heard of a Bullet Journal? Back in the day, I meticulously kept track of my gut healing process via a Gut Healing Bullet Journal. Through this journal, I learned so much about the things that were not working for my body.
One of the most critical patterns I started seeing was around what happens when I get adequate sleep and what happens when I am sleep deprived, along with how much that actually is (because it’s different for everyone).
Over the course of 2+ months (I started this journal on February 10, 2016, when I started my 2nd round of SIBO antibiotics), my convictions around sleep and gut healing (heck, just sleep and being) became stronger than ever.
Healing Bullet Journal Entries
Here are a few pieces/findings for the nights when I got less than 8 hours of sleep.
Monday, March 28, 2016
- My FitBit told me I got 6 hours and 12 minutes of sleep. I was awake 0 times, restless 7 times.
- That day, I made note -> starving today, too little sleep + should not have worked out (I did 6 rounds of Tabata)
Friday, April 1, 2016
- My FitBit told me I got 7 hours and 5 minutes of sleep. I was awake 1 time, restless 7 times.
- That day, I made note -> stressed, starving and super fatigued
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
- FitBit told me I got 7 hours and 41 minutes of sleep. I was awake 0 times, restless 3 times.
- That day, I made note -> starving
A comparison to the nights when I got more than 8 hours of sleep
Sunday, April 10, 2016
- My FitBit told me I got 8 hours and 51 minutes of sleep. I was awake 0 times, restless 2 times.
- That day, I made note -> lovely day plus I worked out 4 rounds of Tabata only and ate an adequate amount, far from too much or like I felt “starving”
Saturday, April 16, 2016
- My FitBit told me I got 9 hours and 5 minutes of sleep. I was awake 0 times, restless 2 times.
- That day, I made note -> much less hungry today than yesterday, sleep is critical, a beautiful day and I felt amazing
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
I have basically become obsessed with understanding sleep (or a lack thereof) and how it affects full gut healing and hormones.
In 8 Scary Signs of Sleep Deprivation, the Huffington Post reports signs such as, “you’re ravenous, you’re weepy and you can’t shake that cold.” Not getting enough sleep can change your genes and interfere with your hormones.
Your gut and sleep patterns work in an axis – a two-way street of communication. Gut health is compromised with a lack of sleep and/or low-quality sleep. It ultimately all comes back to increased overall body inflammation.
The National Sleep Foundation The National Sleep Foundation says that adults (26 – 64 years) need 7-9 hours of sleep.
I believe that those with a compromised immune system or leaky gut syndrome could likely need more like 8-9 hours of sleep for full healing to occur.
There is a huge discrepancy between 7-9 hours for most people, depending on your own, unique situation and other lifestyle factors.
How I Get 8 Hours of Sleep
I proved it above, but anything less than 8 hours leaves me nearly empty. Truth be told, for me, I have even noticed a difference between 7 hours, 45 minutes and 8 hours, 15 minutes. That extra 30 minutes changes my day.
I am often asked, “I don’t understand how you get 8 or more hours of sleep with a 3, 4, and 5 year old?” Here is how I do it:
- My house is never 100% clean. And though I would like it to be, the kitchen also isn’t 100% clean each night before bed. This alone would drive many women nuts. I don’t care.
- I’m not a night owl. I love the mornings; not the night time. So, once the kids go to bed, so do I. Seriously.
- The kids go to bed between 7:30 – 9pm. It’s hard to get them all down, but once they are, we don’t have many nights where they get up (causing starts-and-stops in the REM cycle).
- I don’t watch a lot of TV. This coincides with number 2, but it’s a huge reason many people don’t get enough sleep; TV is priority at night. The shows I do watch are always taped so even if I start them, I fall asleep almost immediately after.
- Diffuser. A Bamboo Aroma Therapy Oil Diffuser sits right next to my bed. I turn it on for an automatic 2-hour shut off immediately upon getting into bed. It usually diffuses Lavender, which is calming.
- Priority. I made sleep a priority during the depths of my healing. I no longer need that 8 hours of sleep (but I do still need 7-8 hours), but when I did – and to this day – sleep is a priority.
- Blue Light Blocking Glasses. This is my latest and greatest way to get quality sleep. Everyone on team Delighted By Desserts got them, and I’m obsessed. I am hardly without them on a daily basis. I have these….not even an $18 investment.
My convictions are stronger than ever that honing in on all the lifestyle things are going to see you to the other side of gut h#$% and optimal health and wellness.
How much sleep do you get a night?
Learn more about all things gut healing via my 286-page e-book, The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut, 3.0. If you’d like to start a FREE 21-Day Gut Healing Inspiration Journey, then join today HERE.
You will heal. I will help.