When people think of gut health, often they think of eating extra fiber or taking probiotics.
The thing is, lifestyle has a huge impact on our digestive health, and shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to supporting your gut. The way that you start and end your day can play a significant role in your digestive functions.
This post will walk you through some suggestions for a gut-friendly morning and evening routine, that you can start and finish your day with, to support optimal gut health long term.
Gut-Friendly Morning Routine
Start your morning with these 5 recommendations.
1. Brush your teeth first thing to reduce populations of bacteria in the oral cavity that boom overnight when saliva production is down.
Many studies are showing that populations of bacteria found in the mouth, are able to translocate and contribute to imbalances in the microbiome later down the digestive tract (especially in things like SIBO). Brushing your teeth first thing can minimize the ability of these bugs to impact your gut health.
2. Drink a large glass of water. Room temperature or warm water is best for digestion. You can add lemon or apple cider vinegar if you like.
This helps to rehydrate the body after many hours of not ingesting fluids overnight, and can start to stimulate digestive processes in the body.
3. Spend 10-15 minutes (or more) doing something that nourishes your nervous system before you check your phone or laptop.
This could be a walk, breathing exercises, meditation, stretching, self-massage, a shower, etc. This will help your nervous system to remain in a parasympathetic state (or rest-and-digest state), where things like digestive processes and hormone production and secretion happen optimally.
4. Make time to have a bowel movement. If you’re constipated, sitting on the toilet at the same time every morning for 5-10 minutes can help to form a bowel habit.
Rushing through your mornings can leave you in a sympathetic state (in fight-flight-or-freeze mode), where digestion doesn't work optimally. Trying to have slow mornings as much as possible, and even making "time to go" a routine, can really help with motility.
5. Eat your breakfast within 1-2 hours of waking up, and before you have your coffee or matcha if those are part of your morning routine.
This helps to keep your blood sugar balanced, and stress hormones managed. To learn more about how blood sugar levels impact digestion, definitely check out this blog post that goes much more in-depth on this topic.
Gut-Friendly Evening Routine
Wrap up your day with these 4 recommendations.
1. Put away all screens at least 30 minutes (but ideally an hour or two) before bed.
This helps to reduce exposure to blue light before bed, which can impact the body's ability to produce melatonin. Lowered melatonin production can impact the quality of your sleep, which can have a domino effect on things like stress hormones, blood sugar levels, and digestive function the following day.
2. Spend 10-15 minutes (or more) doing something that nourishes your nervous system before bed.
This again helps to coax the body back into the parasympathetic nervous system. This is where your body does its best healing!
3. Brush your teeth to reduce populations of bacteria before going to bed.
This will help lower the populations of bacteria from the oral cavity making their way downstream and affect populations in the microbiome further down the digestive tract, potentially impacting symbiosis.
4. Set yourself up for success tomorrow.
Fill up a glass of water for the next morning and leave it next to your bed to start your morning routine tomorrow.
So you're sure to rehydrate tomorrow morning!
If you loved this post, and want to learn about more ways you can support your gut health, check out FREE Beginner's Guide to Gut Healing.