Part II: Changes in When We Sleep and Eat
Meet Your Circadian Rhythm
When We Sleep Has Changed
Sleep and Gut Connection
Because healthy sleep patterns and gut health are so intertwined, it’s easy for a disruption in either to cause a downward spiral in both. To make sure you and your gut bacteria are well rested, try following these tips:
Increase your exposure to bright light during the day, either sunlight or artificial light (like that from a SAD lamp). Aim for at least 20-30 minutes. This will help keep your circadian rhythm in sync, so your body knows when it’s day and when it’s night.
Reduce your exposure to blue light from computers, smart phones, televisions, and other electronic devices in the evening. This kind of light can signal your body to stay awake.
Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, as this stimulant can override your natural sleep signals. Also, limit late-night snacks. Eating is another signal to your body that it’s not time to sleep.
Minimize noise and light in your bedroom, with blackout shades, a sleep mask, and ear plugs if necessary, and keep your room at a comfortable temperature. Cooler temps (around 65 degrees) tend to induce more restful sleep.
You may not be able to control whether night shifts, travel, or health conditions kick you out of your regular sleep pattern, but you can decide not to stay up late and then sleep in every weekend. Choosing the time you’ll wake up every day and sticking to it helps you fall asleep and wake up more easily.
Not only does Previlli™ support a healthy composition of gut bacteria and build healthy gut architecture, it also includes L-theanine, a relaxing amino acid that supports healthy sleep.*
When We Eat Has Changed Too
If you’re guilty of mindless eating — and honestly, we all eat this way sometimes — try to break out of the habit by eating more mindfully.
Take a page from the Japanese practice of hara hachi bu (which translates to “eat until you are eight parts full”) and stop eating before you feel full. Your body takes a little time to register fullness.
Set up a window of time for eating, or as a first step, limit between-meal snacks and late-night trips to the refrigerator.
Eating while watching television or scrolling through Facebook takes your attention away from your body’s signals, making it easier to ignore them. Put away the devices, and really enjoy your food.
- We don’t eat and sleep in harmony with our circadian clocks. We don’t sleep enough, and we eat too continuously throughout the day.
- Eating and sleeping irregularities can lead to disruptions in gut bacteria and negatively affect gut architecture, including increasing gut permeability.
- Your gut bacteria can also influence how well you sleep, since they regulate the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
- There are steps you can take to make sure you and your gut bacteria are well-rested, including: increasing your exposure to bright light during the day, powering down electronics at least an hour before bedtime, skipping coffee and late-night snacks, making your bedroom snooze-worthy, and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Sometimes we eat for reasons other than hunger, such as to escape difficult emotions or out of habit.
- Habitually overriding your body’s signals can cause you to overeat, either by eating past your fullness level or by grazing mindlessly throughout the day.
- Some tips for mindful eating include: eating slowly and paying attention to your food, listening to your body’s hunger and satiation cues, stopping eating when you’re 80 percent full, practicing intermittent fasting, and putting away screens while eating.