Did you know that 90% of your serotonin, that's right the feel good hormone is produced in our gut? Keeping our stress levels low is therefore integral to digestion and in turn the production of our happy hormone.
We have long understood on some level that our mood is effected by what we eat, but I'm not sure we truly understand the depth of the issue like Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine has understood for centuries. There is a direct and complex relationship between our bodies reaction to stress, our digestion and in turn our emotional well being.
So what's the easiest thing you can do to lower your stress levels, improve your digestion and feel better? Sleep. Honor your sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up the same time everyday.
The average adult needs a minimum of 8 hours a day. That's not to say that we can't 'survive' with less, but there is a big difference between surviving and thriving. There is an epidemic of insomnia in our modern world. We are increasingly dependent on sugar and caffeine to keep us moving during the day and sleeping pills to help us turn off our adrenaline at night. Between stimulants and screen-time we are doomed to have enough, and maybe even more importantly quality sleep. It is not only how many hours, but that those hours are uninterrupted and include quality REM sleep.
Are you dreaming in your sleep? We now understand that the body relies on sleep to regulate all the systems in the body. In particular the mind relies on REM sleep to sort memory. Your day is sorted into long vs short-term memory. If you are robbing your body of this precious time one of the first signs you will notice is your weakening memory.
Stress, Digestion, Sleep - 10 Things You Should Know
1. Your sleep cycle is essential to the rest and recovery of internal organs.
2. Tissue repair, muscle growth and protein synthesis primarily occur during sleep.
3. Hormones that help regulate appetite control, stress, growth & metabolism are released while sleeping.
4. Memory consolidation occurs, which is essential for learning new information.
5. Better quality sleep gives your increased energy to make beneficial lifestyle choices.
6. Strengthens your immune system and therefore decreases your risk of chronic disease.
7. Improves your focus and creativity during the day.
8. Improves your mood by reducing anxiety, irritability and mental exhaustion.
9. Increases your libido.
10. Sleep deprivation makes it more likely you will gain weight over time.