Sleep and IBS. Does losing sleep make Irritable Bowel Syndrome worse?

Turner - Canine Executive Officer of
Nap time with Turner, CEO of Heather's Tummy Care
(Canine Executive Officer)

  • Sleep - more precisely, not enough of it - is a physical body stressor.

  • Stress of any kind inhibits the parasympathetic nervous system, and stimulates excessive adrenaline production, which upsets the rhythmic muscle contractions of the gut. This triggers IBS symptoms.

  • Double whammy. Lack of sleep causes not just fatigue but a lower stress-tolerance level on top of that.

  • Upshot? When you're tired, IBS is much more likely to flare.

  • There's a direct link between morning IBS symptoms and quality of the previous night's sleep.

  • What helps? Keep a consistent bedtime and morning alarm time. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

  • If you can get 9 or 10 (I know, impossible for many people), your body might really thank you.

  • If you're tired, go to bed earlier than usual. Sleep in on weekends if you need to catch up.

  • Take cat naps (or dog naps!) whenever possible.

  • Keep your bedroom as cool, dark, and quiet as possible. All three factors make a big difference in how deeply and how long you sleep.

  • Adapt your work or school schedule to accommodate your sleep needs as much as possible and practical.

  • If you consistently have trouble falling asleep, or awaken at night with IBS symptoms, check the First Year IBS for comprehensive information and help.

Tip Takeaway: Getting deep sleep - and enough of it - is a key factor to keeping IBS under control. Do everything you can to get the quantity and quality of sleep you need for your health and life.

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