Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about sleep. I’ve been under the weather, and work has been rather busy, and the boys keep me busy pretty much the rest of the time. I’m no spring chicken, and to live the healthy lifestyle I advocate, sleep is critical.
I recently wrote about the effect your sleep positioning has on your overall posture. And I touched on the subject of sleep deprivation as a migraine trigger. But, sleep is important for so much more than just these two things. In the past I’ve written about the negative health consequences of poor sleep.
Here I want to focus on something perhaps a little odd…indigestion.
As the month of May dragged on, and my body slowly overcame a chest cold and a sinus infection.
Aside: you really don’t want to be fighting two completely separate bugs at the same time. It’s really not a lot of fun.
Anyway, as May progressed, and I slowly began recovering from the illnesses, I noticed a set of problems. First, I had no energy. Second, I wasn’t sleeping at all well. And third, as I was finally getting back to something approaching normal health I noticed that I had no appetite, and at the same time I had serious acid indigestion problems.
So, early June had rolled around, and I finally got back to working out hard, and after my second day back to the gym I noticed I’d entered opposite world. Driving home my stomach was grumbling; for the first time in a month I was hungry. As an added bonus, the indigestion was gone. Proper workouts had finally made me tired enough to get a good night’s sleep.
Now, I expected my appetite to return, and I expected to be able to sleep better, but the indigestion going away? That got me to thinking. Sleep deprivation leads to:
- Cognitive decline.
- Mood swings.
- Lowered immune response.
- Weight gain.
- Increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Lowered sex drive.
- Poorer co-ordination and balance, leading to increased falls and accidents.
But what about indigestion? Could my month of poor quality sleep have led to that? And could the improved sleep from getting back to my exercise regimen have helped to fix it?
Turns out the answer is…Yes.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have begun investigating the relationship between sleep and digestion, and their conclusion is:
We don’t know the exact connection, but we know there is one
So, in addition to all the other benefits of a good night’s sleep, we can now add improved digestion/reduction of acid reflux/indigestion. Consider me sold. I’m off to Inferno Hot Pilates to work on a good night’s sleep, and through that helping my poor old aching tummy.