Sleep is vitally important to the workings of the digestive system. In the same way we need to consider what and when we eat and drink, we also need to make sure that the amount of sleep we get is also important.
You often hear athletes talking about their rest days – they realise that their bodies can’t train all the time and need time to recover. Well the digestive system is the same – it needs to relax and recuperate. And it can’t go off for two weeks on the Med!
How many times have you stayed up watching a late night film? And then when you’ve been awake have started to get out the popcorn or crisps cos you’ve just got to have something to munch on? And then off you go to bed, late of course, and food still needing to be processed. So the digestive system kicks into action when it should be resting, and of course you’ve reduced your amount of sleep too! Worse still some studies have shown that insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain, and additional weight around the middle puts extra pressure on the digestive system.
So what can you do? Well first lets cut out the midnight snacking, and try and make a conscious effort to get to bed earlier. Whatever time you need to get up, count back 7-8 hours and start making that time your bedtime.
And try not to have your large meal too late in the day. You may not be able to avoid that your largest meal is the one you have in the evening, but you can look to ensure that it is a few hours before you go to bed – two to three hours is best.
So time to turn over a new leaf and see how your sleep patterns and digestion might just improve.