It has been said that between 50-70 million Americans have sleeping disorders (1), and around a third of US adults get less sleep than recommended (2). Because sleep is so critical to health, the poor sleep epidemic puts millions of people at a higher risk for diseases and impaired health conditions (2). This post will focus on how sleep interacts with the gastrointestinal tract and reveal the link between insomnia and nausea.
The Digestive Consequences Of Poor Sleep
Sleep and the digestive system share a bidirectional relationship. Disruptions in sleep can lead to gastrointestinal issues, and vice versa. Studies show that sleep deprivation can increase the levels of stress hormones like cortisol, which in turn can disrupt digestive functioning (3,4). Additionally, a lack of sleep can impact the bacterial microbiome in the gut and thereby influence digestion (5,6).
Further research links poor digestive health and insomnia or impaired sleep. Research indicates that individuals with insomnia are more likely to experience gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (7,8). It is is believed that both conditions can impact insomnia and can both be impacted by insomnia. This means that, to some degree, both insomnia and nausea can be caused by gastrointestinal complications and therefore they are frequently co-occurring.
Managing Insomnia To Alleviate Digestive Discomfort
Given the connection between sleep and digestive health, managing insomnia may help to alleviate associated nausea. Implementing a consistent sleep schedule, engaging in regular exercise, minimizing stress, eating a diet that works with your body,, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine and alcohol before bedtime are practical steps to improve sleep quality (9). Moreover, natural herbs like Chamomile and Valerian root are known for their relaxing properties, aiding in sleep induction. While a cup of Chamomile tea can be soothing, opting for a scientifically formulated sleep supplement might offer a more targeted approach to enhancing sleep.
The link between insomnia and nausea further stresses the importance of sleep. The evidence suggests that poor sleep can significantly impact our gastrointestinal system, contributing to conditions like nausea, and vice versa. Addressing sleep disorders such as insomnia is not only vital for overall health and well-being but also for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Simple lifestyle adjustments, coupled with natural remedies and scientifically formulated sleep supplements, can provide a holistic approach to mitigating the effects of insomnia. By fostering better sleep habits and prioritizing sleep quality, individuals may find relief from not only sleep-related issues but also from the digestive discomforts that often accompany them. Remember, a good night’s sleep could be the key to better digestive health tomorrow.