I recently received this heartwarming note from a reader. She said:
“I cannot express how surprised and grateful I am for your blog on sleep and digestion. Wow! I have a bad habit of going to bed really late and I had been wondering why I get this burst of energy around midnight that enables me to stay up until 2 or 3 am working. Along with that, I would get hungry, which I knew would interfere with my sleep, but I was really hungry! Just recently, I noticed that my bowels weren’t moving daily consistently as they did in the past. It’s like I had (unknowingly) crossed some threshold with how late I could retire and still be regular. Now, I am in the uphill battle of training my body to go to bed earlier. This is really hard, but worth the reward.”
I thought this comment was significant enough to share with you and repeat the blog this reader is referencing. It’s such a simple dynamic that you can embrace without costing you a cent. You are where you are and that may be just fine. But if you are sleeping late and have digestive problems, maybe you can readjust your hours so that they serve you better. Like most of my Wellness Tips from the Future or my Future Health Now! program, it’s up to you to recognize if the information resonates with you.
Today I want to emphasize another major factor that can lead to constipation or loose stools: Lack of quality sleep.
Daytime is the time for eating and assimilation. It’s during the night that much of the process of elimination takes place. But if you’re not getting enough deep sleep then your body isn’t able to process your pooh properly.
Before electric lights our ancestors had little reason to be awake at night. Your body assumes a warring tribe across the river is preparing to attack if you’re not sleeping deeply. This state of “fight or flight” diverts energy to your arms and legs and away from your stomach and colon.
As I explain in module 38 of Future Health Now!, getting to sleep before 10pm (11pm Daylight Savings Time) is key to avoiding this fight or flight mode.
Otherwise, after ten, your body will rev itself up. You’ll probably get hungry and eat some cold food from the fridge. Instead of letting your body process it’s pooh… it’ll be forced to assimilate even more food — dividing its energies with double duty night shift. (Don’t think I can’t hear the punsters out there reading double do-do into the previous sentence!)
So if you’re not moving at least two large stools a day (that are the consistency of a ripe banana) try getting to bed earlier and see if it makes a difference. In future pooh posts I’ll talk more about when to have those bowel movements and that sometimes one or two in the morning may be enough.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
RESOURCES: Along the borders and in the links of my web site you can find my books, writings, and my call-in radio show. Email your questions to: email@example.com.