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How Can Sleep Affect Your Digestive Health?

Do you suffer from recurring digestive problems? If so, have you ever considered that part of the problem might be related to your sleep?

If not, here’s the big secret…

Often thought of as a luxury, sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing. Over the years, the amount of sleep we get on average has decreased steadily. Due to the shift to a fast-paced lifestyle, we are sleeping less nowadays than a decade ago.

Sleep deprivation can contribute to multiple health problems.

The result?

You become prone to heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even memory loss. Lack of sleep has also been linked to a weakened immune system and reduced cognitive function.

Do you see how immense the damage is?

But, what does sleep have to do with gut health?

It is exactly what you are going to find out in this article.

Why is sleep deprivation BAD for your gut health?

Sleep loss is not just an inconvenience that you have to live with. It can be a real problem if it affects your gut. Studies show that most people begin to experience effects of sleep deprivation after just 24 hours

Here is how your digestive system can be compromised if you have chronic sleep disturbances

1. A rise in cortisol – the stress hormone

When you do not get enough sleep, your body goes into overdrive, producing more of the stress hormone – cortisol. An appropriate rise in cortisol is helpful but when cortisol is excessively high, we often cannot feel good or get things done.

The nutrients and blood are diverted to other vital organs, neglecting the digestive system. Hence, you may suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which causes altered bowel patterns which results in a shift of the gut bacteria.

2. Adverse effect on your diet

Have you ever noticed that when you do not have enough sleep, you feel more hungry?

This is because A sleep-deprived body produces greater amounts of ghrelin hormone that triggers hunger, causing an increase in sugar cravings to replenish energy, leading to binge eating.

The negative impact of bad food choices on our health is well understood and we will cover this topic soon in one of our upcoming blogs.

3. Burden on digestion

The digestive system is one of the body’s busiest systems, it is even working while we are asleep. During sleep, the digestive system rebuilds and repairs itself using the energy (glucose) absorbed throughout the day.

When you go to bed after eating a large meal, your digestive system is not given time to rest, impacting normal digestion. Therefore, you might wake up with some unpleasant symptoms like heartburn or indigestion.


Sleep deprivation affects us in many ways and it can cause detrimental effects such as altered microbiome in our gut, weight gain, and impaired breakdown of food. Sleep helps optimize our immune system and allows us to be mentally alert throughout the day.

All of the information boils down to one thing. That is, if you do not get enough sleep, it can adversely impact your gut health.

So, the next time you stay up late to finish your projects or binge-watch a web series, think about the long-term consequences it will cause on your digestive system.

Need to consult experts for your intestinal issues? Our team of experts will help you optimize your gut health. Call us on to book an appointment.

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