Updated: Oct 21, 2021
We all feel better after a good night’s sleep. That's because humans, as with all mammalian animals, live in diurnal patterns. Well so do your gut biome (bacteria). The microscopic workers in your digestive system do different things at different times of the day.
Scientists have proven that your microbiome play a role in your circadian rhythm (wake/sleep cycles) as well your metabolism. You go to bed with one group of bacteria and wake up with another. While you sleep, the ‘night-shift’ work on circadian clock genes in the liver (amongst other really cool functions).
We also know that obese individuals have a different type of microbiome to that of lean individuals. This has the potential to shift the way your metabolism works and changing how you sleep. This happens not just with extra body fat, but if you have a large meal just before you go to bed. You know that feeling of “oh I shouldn’t have had that 3rd piece of lasagne at 10pm” (you haven’t?, oh, just me then). But you get the idea.
This works both ways. Not only does obesity lead to a change in sleep cycles, meaning less quality sleep, but shift workers or people who suffer from insomnia are at risk of metabolism changes that lead to weight gain and obesity. All because the little workers in the gut aren’t getting the right sleep.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine will aid in regulating sleep and digestion so you can help your biome help you get back into a normal day/night rhythm. It may also be worth supplementing with practitioner dispensed probiotics as well as ensuring you get sufficient prebiotics (fibrous foods). Since our microbiome does much more than help digest food, let's help them back by feeding them well and giving them enough rest.