Who Knew - Sleep And Exercise Are Important to your Microbiome


Number 6: Who Knew - Sleep And Exercise Are As Important For Your Microbiome As For The Rest Of Your Body 

 You know it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. One sleepless night proves that to anyone who’s in doubt. Exercise is another crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. But did you know that both sleep and exercise affect your gut microbiome? Let’s take a look at each in turn and talk about why you should strive to get plenty of both.   

How Sleep Affects Your Microbiome   One of the main reasons sleep or lack of sleep affects your microbiome is because it increases stress. If you’ve ever had a newborn or pulled a couple of all-nighters to pass an exam, you know firsthand how much lack of sleep can stress you out. This in turn causes issues in the gut. What follows is an imbalance of the organisms that make up your microbiome that will last long past catching up on getting those hours of shut-eye.   

Add to it that we don’t stick to a healthy diet when we are tired, and it’s no wonder that sleep has a big impact on our gut and its health. It’s natural to crave sugar, junk food, and caffeinated beverages to help us get through sleep deprivation. It simply isn’t particularly good for our gut health. Make sleep a priority and the rest will fall into place.   

How Exercise Affects Your Microbiome   As with so many things when it comes to your microbiome, scientists don’t quite completely understand the connection between exercise and your gut - yet. But what they do know is that there is a connection. Part of it may be that exercise reduces both stress and inflammation, similar to what sleep does for you. And no, that doesn’t mean you can sleep in instead of hitting the gym. Both help your gut and making exercise a priority is important.   

One thing scientists have observed is that exercise is correlated with an increase in a good type of bacteria that use fiber from our diet and turn it into short-chain fatty acids that have all sorts of health benefits. The end result is anything from leaner body mass and more satiety hormones that in turn curb hunger. That’s right. Exercise can make you want to eat less and slim down and it’s all connected to your microbiome.   

The good news is that making sure you get plenty of sleep and work out on a regular basis helps you in other ways as well. It’s good for every part of your body and mind. Yes, it can be a challenge to get into a good sleep and exercise routine, but once you do, you start to feel better and it gets easier. As a bonus, the two complement each other. Working out helps you sleep better at night. That in turn makes it easier to get that workout in the next day. Give it a try! 

Check back in a few days to learn about the next way to improve your gut microbiome. So, do you get enough sleep and exercise? I'd love to hear from you - feel free to leave me a comment below!

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