Sleep! Do you ever wake up feeling like you didn’t get a decent night’s sleep? Or do you ever wake up feeling like you never really went to bed at all? Good sleep is as necessary as nutrition and exercise for optimal health. Extensive medical research about the human microbiome now reveals that your sleep is managed by the microbes in your gut. So if you’re someone who more often that not doesn’t feel rejuvenated after a full night’s rest, you can implement nutritional changes to support better quality sleep.
In the last 10 years there has been an abundance of scientific research proving that the human microbiome is the epicenter for digestion, immunity, hormone function, heart disease and even certain cancers. The microbiome is a community of trillions of microbes that consists of bacteria, yeast, fungi, and archaea (single cell organisms) that have been with us since the beginning of human evolution. This dynamic community––which manifests from birth––is as unique as a fingerprint and even further developed in the first two to three years of life. Poor health consequences from a compromised microbiome can continue into adulthood. What’s even more revealing is that the colon has the largest concentration of this bacteria in the world.
When I mention hormone function in relation to sleep, I’m speaking about serotonin. Did you know that over 95% of serotonin is produced in your gut? By properly feeding this powerful neurotransmitter, you can have a serious say in improving the quality of your snooze.
Serotonin is not just a hormone that supports proper sleep. This multifaceted neurotransmitter is the backbone of gut motility and manages your food cravings, body temperature, sexual desire, behavior/mood (linked to anxiety and depression), and even blood clotting and bone health. When all of these areas of your well-being are in sync, they foster a more harmonious sleep. Within the microbiome, serotonin needs to be properly fed in order to do its job and sufficiently trigger to the brain. It’s fed best through the wide variety of the plants that you eat. So if you’re having issues with falling asleep, restlessness or getting deep sleep, it’s highly likely that your serotonin levels will increase with proper dietary support.
Consequently, one of the best ways to support serotonin production is through a plant-based diet. Prebiotics from plants nourish the bacteria in your gut, thus triggering proper serotonin production and function.
Here are some prebiotic-rich foods that I recommend including in your diet to feed the microbes that nourish the microbiome’s overall bacterial profile:
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- Flax Seeds
While these plants are high in prebiotics, an overall diet that is rooted in diverse plant-based habits is going to yield improved results. Greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach, cilantro, arugula, kale, collards, etc., are good to keep in rotation. My clients often comment on how quickly they see results in improved sleep and reversing exhaustion when they implement my favorite daily habit: drinking fresh-pressed vegetable juices. This is one of the fastest ways to rebuild your gut and feed your microbiome.
One of the clients I worked with recently, a wife, forty-eight-year-old mother of two, and transformational mindset coach, was suffering for over a year with severe adrenal fatigue and exhaustion upon waking up from a full night’s sleep. After just one day of working with my suggested dietary protocols, she felt an 80% shift and within 48 hours, felt a complete turn-around!
But getting the results you want doesn’t require that you eat a vegan diet. If it’s been on your radar however, this wouldn’t be a bad thing to pursue given that a plant-based diet has now been proven to reverse over 70% of diseases or prevent them altogether. Beyond targeting your sleep, think about what other areas of your health you could address or secure for the future by consuming more plants.
With regard to nighttime protocols, it’s always a good idea to finish eating at least two to three hours before you go to bed, avoiding the reclined position during your most vital stage of digestion. Reclining early on after a meal can lead to unpleasant fermentation (gas and indigestion); the time it takes for food to exit the stomach is considerably slowed down in this position.
In addition to using a plant-based diet to improve sleep, your sleep position makes a considerable difference as well. Here are two reasons why “sleeping on your left side” can seal the deal on some serious ZZZ’s:
- Sleeping on your left side works with and not against gravity to assist the digestive system with optimal transit and bowel function because waste matter moves through the intestine from the right side of your body to the left side for elimination.
- It’s believed that the lymphatic system –– a waste clearing pathway for the brain, which releases metabolic waste products that may have built up while you’re awake –– is best supported when you’re sleeping on your left side.
You spend one-third of your life sleeping! So isn’t it time you set yourself up for the sweetest sleep of your life!? You can have a say in the quality of your sleep and plants are just one of the sensible protocols.
Joyce Rockwood, CCH, has has been specializing in detoxification as a Gravity-Based Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Gut Health Coach since 1997. She works best with high-powered individuals who are ready to master their gut health and be guided through a plant-based/vegan detoxification program to optimize their mental and physical robustness. She offers private coaching for individuals and groups who are eager to get started with experiencing the best health of their life and are driven to have a say in their own well-being! If you want to take a deeper dive into “dreamville.” Joyce offers a complimentary essential oils assessment when you reach out and mention this article! Just connect with her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.