Getting good quality sleep is one of the most important components of health. Unfortunately, a large percentage of people in the United States have difficulty getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis. It’s estimated that between 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by sleep disorders such as insomnia that can negatively affect their health. There are many possible causes for this but one that many may overlook is a dysfunctional gut.
Appreciating the influence of the gut on sleep quality and optimizing its function may be the key to alleviating insomnia and achieving not only better sleep but also greater overall wellness.
Insomnia is a common and potentially crippling condition that can lead to a variety of dysfunctions. Sleep deprivation, which is often caused by insomnia, has been shown to reduce individual productivity, inhibit quality of life, slow response time, and increase the risk of accidents and errors. Furthermore, insomnia is linked to a greater risk of serious health issues including hypertension, obesity, stroke, heart disease, and a higher risk of mortality.
It is common for insomnia to be caused by another condition. However, one may experience insomnia due to symptoms and physical discomforts not necessarily related to an underlying disorder or disease. Common causes of insomnia include:
- Anxiety (learn about the anxiety-insomnia connection here)
- Chronic pain
- Endocrine and thyroid issues
- Nasal and sinus issues
- Neurological disorders
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Medications (specifically those for high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, asthma, depression, and some forms of birth control)
Poor gut function is another common contributor of poor sleep quality. Unfortunately, many are not aware of this important connection.
The Influence of The Gut
The gut has a powerful influence of numerous bodily functions including sleep. Multiple studies have shown that gut dysfunction and associated pain is a common component of sleep disruptions. Research shows that intestinal issues in the form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, and heartburn are common among those with insomnia. The method of influence between the gut and sleep disruption has not been fully identified. However, there are multiple hypothesis being explored.
It is possible that gut-related sleep disruption is highly reliant on the presence of cytokines. Gastrointestinal issues promote the release of proinflammatory cytokines, which can induce pain, and imbalance the natural sleep-wake cycle. Cytokines are essential mediators for the immune system that help regulate or trigger inflammation. Inflammation related pain, such as headaches, stomach issues, and nerve pain, may contribute to sleep disruptions.
Studies have also shown that cytokine levels fluctuate and change in the presence of certain gastrointestinal disease including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Interestingly, the sleep disruption caused by these conditions often results in a worsening of gastrointestinal function thereby creating a vicious cycle of degrading gut health and sleep quality.
Leaky gut is a primary suspect regarding sleep disruption. Intestinal permeability, induced by leaky gut syndrome, causes small particulates to escape into the bloodstream and trigger great dysfunction in seemingly unrelated areas. This often results in an elevated immune response that prompts greater release of cytokines resulting in inflammation, pain, discomfort, and other sleep-disrupting factors. Supporting the gut and resolving underlying issues may be the best method of resolving many different sleep inhibitors.
Attending to Gut Dysfunction
There are various ways of supporting gut health and restoration. Typically, this process begins with diet. Eliminating inflammatory and stress-inducing foods is an excellent way to begin revitalizing the gut. Additionally, incorporating other gut-boosting foods and nutrients promotes greater intestinal stability and sleep quality.
Supplements can provide many beneficial gut-supporting substances that may be difficult to acquire through diet alone. Gut Feeling Max is a supplement formulated by HoltraCeuticals that provides nutrients that bolster the gut and limit inflammation. Gut Feeling Max also alleviates symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, gut permeability, and many other digestive issues. There are three particularly impactful ingredients contained in Gut Feeling Max that provide greater gut support and relief, which can lead to better sleep quality.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that provides the basic material for protein building. Those with a glutamine deficiency are at greater risk of intestinal tissue damage and atrophy. Supplementing with glutamine helps prevent such damage, supports the construction of healthy tissue, and aids in the repair of any existing intestinal tissue damage. Additionally, L-glutamine can improve digestion, neurological function, and may help treat leaky gut.
L-Proline is a nonessential amino acid meaning that if necessary the body can synthesize it without relying on dietary sources. The impact of L-Proline is seen in its ability to work together with the amino acid glycine (also found in Gut Feeling Max) to create collagen. Collagen fibers can be formed into tissues found throughout the body. Proline strengthens tissues within the GI tract, which supports greater nutrient absorption and helps regulate autoimmune response. Because of this, proline is very beneficial for treating leaky gut and limiting sleep disruptions.
Quercetin is a flavonoid that acts on gut function by stabilizing factors of inflammation. The regulatory action of quercetin limits the release of histamine and other chemicals that promote immune activity potentially resulting in leaky gut. Quercetin also helps alleviate leaky gut by improving protein assembly and expression in tight junction. When tight junctions degrade, particulates are able to escape the intestine and disrupt other systems throughout the body. Counteracting this intestinal breakage with quercetin can help stabilize immunity and alleviate related sleep issues.
Supporting Sleep Through Good Gut Health
Poor gut function is a major contributor of sleep disrupting conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, and chronic pains. Without resolving the source of dysfunction, gut and immune-related conditions are likely to continue thereby perpetuating insomnia and other sleep disturbances.
Acquiring gut-boosting nutrients through proper diet and supplements such as Gut Feeling Max can help alleviate many gut issues that may promote insomnia. Help resolve your sleep issues by giving your gut the support it needs!
1. What Causes Insomnia? National Sleep Foundation. https://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/what-causes-insomnia
2. Can’t Sleep? It Could Be a Digestive Problem. Web MD. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20041215/cant-sleep-could-be-digestive-problem
3. Is a Leaky Gut to Blame for Your Insomnia? Health Central. https://www.healthcentral.com/article/is-a-leaky-gut-to-blame-for-your-insomnia
4. Sleep Dysfunction and Gastrointestinal Diseases. Vikesh Khanijow, MD, Pia Prakash, MD, Helene A. Emsellem, MD, Marie L. Borum, MD, and David B. Doman, MD. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849511/
5. Sleep, immunity and inflammation in gastrointestinal disorders. Tauseef Ali, James Choe, Ahmed Awab, Theodore L Wagener, and William C Orr. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882397/
6. L-Glutamine Benefits Leaky Gut & Metabolism. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/l-glutamine-benefits-side-effects-dosage/
7. Should You Use L-Glutamine For Leaky Gut? Wellness Mama. https://wellnessmama.com/24522/l-glutamine-leaky-gut/
8. Benefits of Proline + How To Get More in Your Diet. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/proline/
9. Can Quercetin Help Heal a Leaky Gut? Chris Kresser. https://chriskresser.com/quercetin-heal-leaky-gut/