Things You Can Do At Night For Better Gut Health

Things You Can Do At Night For Better Gut Health

Even though your body rests while you sleep, it’s always at work. Catching some quality shut-eye doesn’t mean that your digestive system takes a moment to rest. It may operate at a slower speed than it does when you’re awake, but it still works to repair itself during your sleep, according to health experts. 

What you do before bed can influence your digestive system’s repair and reset processes. If you want to continue thriving and don’t want to upset your digestive system, prepare your gut for its nightly processes by adopting these bedtime habits

Skip That Bedtime Snack

When you eat too close to bedtime, you can disrupt your microbiome, the roughly 39 trillion bacteria that inhabit your gut. That’s why most health experts discourage large dinners and late dinners. If you can, eat dinner at least four hours prior to bedtime, and when bedtime rolls around, resist the urge to look for a little snacky snack. The reason for this is because the bacteria in your gut have a biological clock that tells them not to expect food at night. When the bacteria encounter food at night, not only is their biological clock thrown off, but they also don’t produce normal amounts of short-chain fatty acids needed for healthy metabolism. It’s not a big deal if you have a snack every once in a while, but consistent late night snacking can make it difficult to lose weight and can throw the digestive process out of whack. 

Drink Water

We don’t endorse chugging a half gallon of water right before you go to bed, but you should hydrate throughout the day. Don’t let waking up at 4 a.m. to pee deter you from drinking water all day. When you maintain proper hydration levels, you fuel numerous bodily processes. For example, water encourages healthy digestion and keeps your organs running smoothly. Additionally, water works to break down food in the digestive tract and helps prevent constipation. Water also reduces inflammation in the gut microbiome and works to enhance the body’s natural detoxification processes. Need an easy way to determine how much water to drink every day? Divide your body weight in half to get the number of ounces you should drink per day. If you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink 75 ounces of water per day. 

Gently Move Your Body

You don’t need to run three miles before you hit the hay, but gentle movements can aid digestive function. In fact, various yoga poses can do wonders for digestion and even discourage bloating. According to health experts, gently moving the body before bed can encourage the growth of healthy bacteria within the gut. Try to engage in stretching, yoga, or even a walk outside during your evening routine. If you have a furry friend, it may appreciate the extra walk!

Limit Screen Time

Everything is perfectly fine in moderation, but winding down your evening in front of a screen is not what you need before bedtime. What do screens have to do with your digestive system, though? When you watch something on a screen, be it a series of reels on Instagram or a few episodes of your favorite show, you can increase stress hormone levels. The reason for this is because whatever you’re looking at requires you to pay attention. In this revved up state, falling asleep becomes a challenge. If your sleep suffers, so does your digestion. 

Reduce Stress Levels Before Bed

The stress of to-do lists, too much screen time before bed, and work projects can prevent you from falling asleep at night. If your partner is sound asleep next to you and you continue to stare at the ceiling, that can cause even more stress. Not only does stress interfere with sleep, but it also interferes with gut health. The gut-brain axis is the connection between the gut and the brain. High stress levels can affect the communication between the brain and the gut, altering gut microbiome and making you more susceptible to certain health issues. Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, there are ways to manage it. About an hour before you go to sleep, practice simple stress-relieving techniques to promote better sleep. Breathing exercises, meditation, or even restorative yoga can calm the mind and body, and help maintain optimal digestive health in the process. 

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