The Gut Influences Mood, Brain & Sleep
Your nervous system includes the sympathetic system—known for its “fight or flight” response that kicks into gear under stressful situations—and the parasympathetic system, which aids in digestion, sleeping, dreaming and relaxing. Many of us are anxious, overtired and overworked, living in a perpetual state of stress. Stress may decrease blood flow to the stomach, which may lead to cramping, digestive upset or an imbalance of gut bacteria. The mood that comes with tummy troubles may even perpetuate the cycle.
Circadian rhythms make up your internal 24-hour clock, which communicates with all regions of your brain and every organ to control things like appetite, hormones, temperature and sleep. Our gut microbiome, the collection of microorganisms that live in the intestinal tract, is a key player in the gut-brain connection. Sleep deprivation and disruption of your circadian rhythms alter the makeup of the microbiome, which can lead to its dysregulation and, in turn, alter sleep.