Why you'll sleep better without the belly

When's the last time you had a great night's sleep? We are not talking about an 'OK' sleep, or a 'long' sleep, we mean a great night's sleep where you wake up going 'oh  YEAH, I feel fantastic'?

Whenever we ask that question most people can't remember and it is no coincidence that most people we ask are overweight. Believe it or not the two are related, because your sleep could be  largely dictated by what is going on in your stomach! 

So lay off the Valium for a second, while we explain how you can sleep better by changing your diet. 

Now this explanation WOULD be a lot easier with a whiteboard so we could draw a line connecting your stomach to your brain (the two are in constant communication with each other), and then to the picture of a person sleeping, but in lieu of that, here's how it works:

  • Our gut has so much neural tissue that is has actually been called ‘the second brain’. 
  • Our gut hosts over 30 types of neurotransmitters (like the ones found in your brain), 100 million neurons AND it produces at least 95% of our bodies serotonin.
  • Seratonin is a required in order to make melatonin.
  • Melatonin helps us sleep.

If you google melatonin, you'll come across the pineal gland, a pea sized mass of tissue in the brain that produces melatonin'. but our gut actually holds over 400 times more melatonin than the pineal gland. 

In fact if you remove the pineal gland, our bodies produce as much melatonin thanks to our gut as before! 

So it makes sense that we need the gut to be working properly in order to sleep well. And what dictates how well our gut works, is almost exclusively what we put into our mouths.

So if you can't sleep and you are also carrying a few extra pounds, chances are your gut health is out of whack, so you need to get rid of the belly to cure the insominia.

That's because junk food and sugar feed the bad bacteria in your gut and if that starts growing it can kill off the good bacteria. This good bacteria does all these cool things like helps you sleep and keeps your immune system up and running. 

Michael Breus, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that 'There is no question in my mind that gut health is linked to sleep health...'

So there you have it, you aren't sleeping well because you aren't eating well. 

Now other factors play a part in sleep disturbances sure, like stress, young children, a snoring partner, but the gut could be the biggest and most overlooked determining factor and to get a better night's sleep it definitely warrants investigation.

On a final note, I'll give you one more bit of sleep advice - the same advice Tony's wife gave to him during one of those 'mini-interventions' that makes marriages so special - 'never under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night'.


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