How is your mood when you do not sleep well? You may feel more irritable and unhappy. You may even notice that your productivity decreases during the day. If you are among those who cannot fall asleep at night and who long for quality sleep, it is possible that your internet search history is full of searches like “How long should I sleep for an ideal sleep? Between which hours should I sleep? What is the secret to quality sleep? My brain cannot fall asleep, what should I do?”
Do you know that the bacteria in your gut function better when you are asleep? At the same time, these bacteria also need light to function…
Your circadian rhythm, i.e. your biological clock, is controlled by your pineal gland. When you are exposed to light, the release of melatonin from the pineal gland is suppressed, and you become active during the day instead of sleeping. However, when the sun begins to set, your exposure to light decreases, and your pineal gland begins to secrete melatonin, preparing you for sleep. This process works perfectly if you are someone who does not suffer from sleep problems. If you feel you are one of the many people who have sleep disorders, you need to find the root cause of your problem. Remember that the root cause of the problem leads you to the solution! How can you balance the release of melatonin and improve your circadian rhythm? If you want to learn the answer, keep reading!
First of all, let’s get to the root cause of the problem and investigate why you have insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
When it comes to your problem of not being able to fall asleep, first of all, what prevents you from falling asleep? Have you ever thought about the reasons? There may be multiple reasons for insomnia…
Do you spend too much time in front of the screen? Your pineal gland is adversely affected if you are exposed to too much light from the television, computer monitor, or phone screen. This is because these screens radiate blue light, so when you look at them, your circadian rhythm decreases and it becomes difficult to sleep!
Have you ever heard of the harmful effects of fluoride in toothpaste and water? Your pineal gland is adversely affected and melatonin secretion is suppressed when you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, breathe fluoridated air, and drink fluoridated water. So be careful with the fluoride in your life!
Stress… You need melatonin secretion in your body to sleep. But if you are under stress, your body is too busy producing cortisol. Think about it yourself, can you do two things at the same time? Your body acts the same way. Suppress your stress to help your body, and get ready for sleep!
Importance of Sleep for Humans
The word “sleep” evokes a peaceful world in our minds. However, according to studies, as soon as we fall asleep, our body starts to operate with all its might, evaluates the stress of the day, and enters the renewal and repair processes in order to recharge our battery. This is exactly why an ideal sleep pattern is important for a sustainable quality of life.
Of course, knowing how valuable sleep is and its contribution to our health does not mean that we will have good sleep; moreover, a bad sleep pattern is often not a choice. Many people around the world state that they have sleep problems at least once a week. In search of solutions, meditation, breathing exercises, a hot shower, and herbal teas are often the first remedies that come to mind. However, recent studies have concluded that the gut microbiome and the metabolites it produces have a significant effect on our sleep patterns. If you have tried everything to improve your sleep quality and still haven’t found a solution, maybe you need to look deeper, i.e. into your microbiome!
What kind of changes does your immune system experience when you are sleep-deprived? Keep reading to find out!
How Does Insomnia Affect the Immune System?
The most dominant immune cells in the intestines are Type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s). These cells fight for you by persevering against infections, aiding in the absorption of fats and proteins, and repairing the tight junctions in the intestines.
In addition, these cells can communicate with neurons. When you experience insomnia, you may trigger the inflammation of these cells. Thus, you should keep in mind that these cells are important in the gut-brain axis and treat them well!
The ILC3s are most active when there is light and you are eating. Hence, during the daytime your ILC3s work very well. As you eat, they give you energy by helping you digest fat. When you finish your meal, these cells return and fight pathogenic bacteria. Since these cells are actually immune cells, it is their primary function.
The gut decides where these cells will be localized using receptors. If your circadian rhythm is disrupted, receptor and immune cells are also affected. Since the communication between them will be disrupted, they will not know where the cells should be localized. This causes problems for your cells, and negatively affects your immunity!
Biological Clock of Immune Cells
Studies have concluded that immune cells in the intestines also have a biological clock. In other words, they need light to be able to work and produce things like you do.
Your body works as a whole. Just as you turn the lights off to rest, some of your systems also slow down and rest. However, several systems consider this rest to be an opportunity for producing important hormones!
Microbiome and Sleep Quality
The gut microbiome is involved in many physiological processes in our body, be it producing hormones, communicating with the immune system elements, or using the brain-intestinal nerve pathway. They can even affect how our body responds to external stimuli. Our brain and intestines are connected to each other by the “vagus nerve,” which has bidirectional communication. Key signals that determine hunger, stress, and emotional state are transmitted through this neural network. As for the metabolites, which are produced by the bacteria in our intestines, they proceed through this path to reach our brain which controls our body, and become involved in the mechanisms of action. In case of an imbalance in the microbiome, neuroinflammatory metabolites are produced, and the stress level of our body and even our heart rate can increase with the effect of these metabolites. This, unfortunately, leads to the impairment of our sleep pattern.
When considering the relationship between the microbiome and sleep in terms of hormones, “melatonin” is the first word that comes to mind. Melatonin is actually produced through serotonin, which is known as the happiness hormone. Many bacteria in our gut produce serotonin, which is associated with mood. Serotonin later turns into melatonin, which affects our biological clock and sleep patterns. If you do not have sufficient serotonin-producing bacteria in your microbiome, both your mood and your disrupted sleep pattern may be trying to tell you something!
A balanced microbiome profile is also effective in the strong functioning of the immune system and in fighting against factors that cause diseases in your body. Inflammation is the response of the immune system as it fights agents that destroy the body. Increased inflammation in the body is associated with many diseases, as well as fatigue and poor sleep quality. By having a strong microbiome, you can increase the resistance of your body and acquire an ideal sleep pattern.
Therefore, we can say that the secret to quality sleep lies in the trillions of bacteria that live in a harmonious and balanced manner in your gut. It is up to you to maintain your microbiome balance by feeding your gut with proper foods in order to achieve the sleep pattern you have been longing for!