Gut Health and Your Sleep

by Tamzin Birch

There are so many things that can affect our sleep, especially as we age. Who knew that our gut microbiome would be one of them?

Our microbiome has a nervous system with about 100 million neurons, that helps to regulate hormone production, immune system functions, appetite, digestion and metabolism, mood and stress responses. This system is in constant communication with both our brains and our central nervous systems.

The intestinal microbiome produces and releases many of the same sleep-influencing neurotransmitters as the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and melatonin. When your gut biome is not at its best, it cannot support production of those hormones as well.

Not only that, but researchers are exploring the relationship between higher sleep quality, better cognitive flexibility, and higher levels of beneficial gut microbes. Researchers investigated the influence of the microbiome in a group of adults ages 50-85, and found strong connections between those three factors.


Here are a few tips to support your gut health:

1) Eat pre-biotic dietary fiber (garlic, onions)

2) Take pro-biotic supplements

3) Add fermented foods to your diet (yogurt, kimchi)

4) Include more anti-oxidants (berries, dark chocolate, nuts, and colourful plant-based foods)

5) Reduce sugar intake or avoid altogether


Remember to always consult with your physician when considering lifestyle changes.