Irritated Bowel and Your Sleepless Nights May Be Connected

Minnie Jacobs

You might have heard about how important it is to have a healthy gut and the importance of microbiomes. However, most people don’t see the correlation between your gut and how well you sleep. Evidence has been shown that gut microbiota is able to influence sleep patterns, awake times and your circadian rhythm. An irritated bowel can lead to gut dysfunction and even throw off your sleep patterns. This is one of the many reasons, why a healthy gut is so important to your health. A bowel that is irritated leads to the neurotransmitters affecting your sleep. They are thrown off balance.

There are two types of insomnia this could affect: sleep onset insomnia which is where you have trouble falling asleep, and sleep maintenance insomnia, where you frequently wake up in the middle of the night for no reason at all. These both can be related to irritated bowel syndrome or gastric problems. You see, there is a direct relationship between your gut and your central nervous system where the gut sends and receives signals from the brain. Several hormones and neurotransmitters are key to healthy sleep patterns. Your intestinal microbiome produces and distributes some of these same transmitters which help regulate sleep and mood. This makes having the right amount of probiotics and enzymes crucial to stabilizing your gut:

Alleviate Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBS) With Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat at regular times
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day
  • Eat Slower
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Exercise regularly
  • See if adding fiber to your diet helps
  • Avoid insoluble fiber
  • Be careful with dairy products, try to incorporate some non-dairy products into your diet
  • Avoid greasy and fatty foods
  • Avoid nuts
  • Use laxatives with caution
  • Relieve stress in your life

Sleep, Your Diet, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Sometimes all it takes is simple lifestyle changes, like sleeping better, that will alleviate and even fix a bowel that is irritated. However, keep in mind that you are not trying to find quick fixes to the problem but more of a permanent solution. If lifestyle changes are not solving the problem you may have to look into talking to your physician. A doctor can help you with medication, supplements and even give you a special diet in order to really help you feel better overall.

Probiotics and yogurt like kefir can help with the microbial flora in your gut in order to maintain a healthy balance. A healthy balance of this will aid in a better sleep overall and fewer problems within your gut.

Here are other reasons for dietary changes:


Dairy can be a big trigger that irritates a bowel. It is more than just being lactose intolerant. The problem is that dairy products are high in fat and that can really flare up your bowel. Keep in mind fats are one of the easier foods to identify as a problem, but not always. Try to replace dairy products in your diet with yogurt or kefir. Or try to use an enzyme that will help break down lactose and the fat in dairy. More times then not it is just better to avoid dairy altogether. Be sure though that you are still getting enough calcium in your diet.


Irritated bowel and fiber-fiber can be good or bad. In the long run, fiber will reduce constipation, however, it could also make you gassy, bloat, or even cramp up. Choose fibers that are whole grains or from fruits, beans, and vegetables. Keep in mind that soluble fibers are better for you while insoluble fibers can cause a lot of problems and mostly will irritate your bowel further.

Greasy and Fatty Foods

One of the worse trigger foods in IBS is foods that are greasy or have a high fat count. Foods with high-fat content can increase intestinal contractions and trigger a gastrocolic reflex, which will increase your urge to defecate right after a meal. Due to the sensitivity of your digestive tract, it’s best just to avoid these foods altogether.


It’s extremely important to get enough fluids when you are suffering from IBS. However, some fluids are better than others. Water is probably the most beneficial, it aids in keeping the stool moist and gut motility. Other good options include probiotic drinks, dairy alternatives, ice tea, cranberry juice, smoothies and green juices. It’s important to avoid drinks that are highly carbonated such as soda and some alcohol. And while some people say certain alcohols can be beneficial it’s recommended that you avoid all alcohol since it is not known which will flare up your gut specifically. Ample fluids will promote a healthy gut and can improve sleep.

No matter what you do, if you are having problems with an irritated bowel, you really need to make some lifestyle changes. Your overall health and sleep patterns depend on it. Not getting enough sleep, or waking up frequently, will affect your mood and health over time. So you need to look into diets, nutritional coaching and talking to a physician or specialist before the problem gets out of hand.

So What Is the Connection between Adrenal Fatigue and Irritate Bowel Syndrome?

symptoms of Irritated bowelAdrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Irritated Bowel Syndrome can occur simultaneously. When your body and digestive tract slow down due to adrenal fatigue, gut motility slows down as well, causing your bowel to be irritated. Typically this will cause continued constipation rather than diarrhea. In fact, most of the time when you are constipated you will be under a lot of stress.

It is important to know what the root cause of the irritated bowel is. Often times adrenal fatigue is a trigger that is overlooked. However, if the adrenals are weak, irritated bowel syndrome issues will become more common. The best approach, for long-term healing, is to achieve healthy adrenal glands. The biggest problem though is that products that can help your adrenals can further cause bowel irritation, such as green tea, ginseng, and even licorice. Digestive enzymes, magnesium, and probiotics can help IBS. A good combination of DHEA, pantethine, and glutamine will achieve a healthy gut, good microbial flora, and could even help you sleep better at night.

Keep in mind that the only way to really heal IBS, that is related to adrenal fatigue, is by working toward adrenal health. You may be able to solve some of the issues that come with an irritated bowel. However, if your adrenal glands are not working as they should, your only remedy the situation for a little while before you start seeing problems again. So, it’s important to remedy the underlying causes. Many conventional medical physicians may not see how adrenal fatigue is affecting your bowels. So it is also a good idea to talk to a specialist who understands adrenal fatigue syndrome read more…

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