A few things happen at the same time every day: your first cup of coffee, the Today show, and, probably, when you poop. And while having a daily poop time might seem like a sign that you’re amazing and regular, the scheduled time is actually pretty common. According to Kyle Staller, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, your colon, which helps push poop through your body, has an internal clock of sorts. Most people’s colons are quiet during the night while you sleep (which is why you probably rarely get up to go poop during the night), but it has a wake response in the morning. In other words, once you wake up and start your day, your colon does the same.
In the morning your colon will start contracting to move poop along your intestines, getting you ready to have a bowel movement. Eating can also trigger your colon to contract: Your stomach essentially signals to your colon that food is coming in, and that you need to make room for it by pooping soon after you eat. Couple that with coffee, which is a colon stimulant, and most people are primed and ready to poop in the morning after you’ve had breakfast.
Some people may poop at the same time every morning, and have another BM around the same time in the afternoon, while others just typically tend to go around the same time every day or every other day. It’s not that your body suddenly develops poop, Staller explains, it’s just that your colon decides it’s the right time to push it out.
That also explains why you don’t poop as often when you travel, especially if you head to another time zone. “Your body is expecting to wake up around the same time, but the cues are shifted,” Dr. Staller says. “With that, your colonic clock shifts, and it can take a few days to adjust.”
Of course, you can’t always head to the toilet whenever you want—sometimes you’re stuck on the phone, are in a meeting, or there’s no bathroom around. Holding it in here and there is fine, Dr. Staller says, but doing it regularly can make you constipated.
But if you find that your typical go time isn’t convenient for you, Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, California, says you can actually train yourself to poop at a time that is more amenable to your schedule. First, he recommends finding a time in your day that you know you’ll always be free to hit the bathroom, like 9:00 A.M., when you’ve had something to eat but before your office gets crazy. Then start going to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet for a few minutes at the same time every day.
“Don’t do anything and don’t force it or push it,” Dr. Farhadi says. “Your goal at first is not to have a bowel movement; it’s to condition your colon.” After about two weeks, Farhadi says your body will get used to this routine and should be ready to go at the time of your choosing.
Sure, you don’t have to train your colon, and you can keep pooping however you like, whenever you like. But if you find that you’re regularly getting the urge during a time that kind of sucks for you, it’s good to know you have options!
- 8 Gross Things Your Body Does In Your Sleep & A Few Things That Can Help
- Why You Have to Poop in the Morning, According to Science
- Signs of a Healthy Morning Poop
- Fecal Incontinence in Women: Q&A with an Expert
- What is fecal incontinence?
- What causes fecal incontinence?
- What are treatments for fecal incontinence?
- People Who Poop At This Time Of Day Are Healthiest, According To Experts
- Nocturnal Diarrhea
- The Facts on Fecal Incontinence
- How Your Sleep Habits Might Affect Your Poop
8 Gross Things Your Body Does In Your Sleep & A Few Things That Can Help
Once you take a few in-depth courses on nutrition, any human bodily functions fail to gross you out. (I remember an entire chapter on what one’s poop says about their overall health.) That being said, there are some weird (sometimes gross) things your body does while you sleep. And honestly, very few of them are all that pretty. As a human, your body does gross things all the time, but it’s your choice as to whether you want to look at it as a giant collection of mucus, bacteria, and excretions, or as a mini-miracle. I’m choosing the latter because I have to live in it for a while, and it tends to help my self-esteem.
Some fascinating things happen to your body while you’re sleeping: Not only is everything doing a major overhaul (like your brain, your skin, and your organs), but the entire thing slows down, so that you can heal yourself from the inside out. While scientists still don’t know everything there is to know about sleep, they’ve gathered that it’s entirely essential. In fact, without it, people simply drop dead, so all that gross stuff your body does while you’re asleep at night definitely has its purpose.
1. You Produce A Lot Of Gas
Apparently, you’re far more likely to pass gas while you’re sleeping, as the muscles in your sphincter are just as relaxed as the rest of your body. That being said, your sense of smell is nowhere near as powerful while you’re passed out, so no harm, no foul. Just hope your S/O is sleeping, too.
2. You Shed Your Skin Cells All Over Everything
Your skin cells are constantly rejuvenating themselves, but the turnover rate is especially fast while you sleep. Old skin is pushed to the surface by newer cells, which means that every time you use your bed, you’re adding to the build-up of dead skin in your sheets.
Experts suggest washing your sheets at least once a week, and an all-natural before-bed exfoliant like Aria Starr Coconut Milk Body Scrub reduces build-up by removing the layer of old skin with sea salt, and then using healthy oils to encourage new cell turnover.
Aria Starr Coconut Milk Body Scrub, $16, Amazon
3. Your Muscles Are Paralyzed
When you start to drop into the deepest phases of REM sleep, your muscles actually freeze up, and you’re unable to move your arms or legs. Most of us are dead asleep by this point, but here’s the creepy part — some people experience a disorder in which their brain partially wakes up during this stage, though their body is still entirely paralyzed (called sleep paralysis). My best friend had it growing up, and hers was accompanied by terrifying hallucinations and nightmares.
4. Your Eyes Produce Discharge
Ever wonder what that crud is in the corner of your eyes when you first wake up? It’s a mixture of natural mucus, dust, and skin cells, and while you’re awake, your body washes it away with tears, but while you’re sleeping, it builds up.
You can use a lubricating eye drop like Wisdom of the Ages drops to keep your eyes clean and well-flushed, and because it uses entirely natural ingredients, it’s safe to use it before bed or when you wake up in the morning.
Wisdom of the Ages Eyebright Drops, $16, Amazon
5. Bacteria Overtakes Your Mouth
Especially if you sleep with your mouth open, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva while you sleep to effectively flush out bacteria. As a result, it grows rampant on your tongue and teeth, and you wake up with a bad case of morning breath — sometimes bad enough that it sticks around post-brushing.
If you’re frustrated by lingering morning breath, try out a breath tonic. This organic peppermint one from Herb Pharm is made out of all organic essential oils that help to cleanse your mouth, fight bacteria, promote salivary flow, and leave your mouth tasting fresh and minty all day long.
Herb Pharm Organic Peppermint Herbal Breath Tonic, $6, Amazon
6. Your Organs Are Squeezing Things Out
Sleep is a form of detoxification for your whole body, including your filtering organs. Some practices (like Chinese Medicine) believe that your body’s on an internal clock, and early in the morning is the best time for your liver to process waste, your gall bladder to squeeze bile, and your intestines to move bowels. That being said, it never hurts to give your body a hand.
A before-bed detox bath with AHAVA Dead Sea mineral bath salts eases the load and replenishes your body and muscles with essential minerals, so you can sleep easier and detoxify more efficiently at night.
AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Bath Salts, $18, Amazon
7. You Drool
During the day, you probably just swallow all your saliva, but at night, your facial muscles are relaxed and the accumulated drool drips down your face onto your pillow. This can be an indication of deeper health issues, like allergies or a reaction to medication. However, it could also just be your body telling you, “Quit sleeping on your side.”
This travel neck pillow is ridiculously comfortable with its memory foam interior, helps to keep your head cradled in an upright position (yes, even when you’re at home in your bed), and because it’s made from bamboo, it’s hypoallergenic, so no stuffy sinuses worsening the drool issue.
Essence of Bamboo Travel Neck Pillow, $18, Amazon
8. Your Body Holds Onto Its Pee
While you’re awake, you pee every few hours, but while you sleep, your kidney function slows down so you don’t have to get up all the time to use the bathroom. That means less urine is produced, but since your body’s holding onto it all night (and without adding any more hydration into the mix), most people’s pee is especially yellow in the morning, because the Urobilin isn’t as diluted.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.
Images: Fotolia (1); Giphy (8); Amazon (5)
Why You Have to Poop in the Morning, According to Science
How many times a day should you poop? It’s a very real medical question with a fairly precise answer: Ideally once a day, preferably in the morning. (Note, this is for adults, not baby poops.) The morning bowel movement is the best of all bowel movements, if it isn’t morning diarrhea, a common occurrence that could be a sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Morning poops are great because the human body is best equipped to evacuate during this time. So, please, when you have to poop in the morning, don’t hold them in.
“In the morning, when we first wake up, an internal alarm clock goes off in our colon, and the colon starts contracting more vigorously,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Sarina Pasricha. “In fact, the colon contracts and squeezes three times as hard in the first hour we are awake compared to when we are sleeping.”
When people are asleep, the small intestine and colon work to process all the food leftover from the previous day. About 30 minutes after waking the urge to poop sets in. Morning routines like stretching, drinking water, and of course, coffee helps to move digestion along. About 30 percent of people report the need to go after a hot cup of joe.
“Drinking early morning coffee works synergistically with gut motility to create healthy bowel movements,” Pasricha says. Another effective trick is a glass of warm salt water (with a little lemon to improve the taste). While it won’t “detox” your body as some claim, it definitely helps to get things moving.
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Still, that’s not to say everyone should be pooping every morning, or that there’s no such thing as pooping too much. Anywhere from three days a week to three times a day is considered normal. Constipation is common, especially when traveling (an estimated 40 percent of people experience constipation while on vacation). Occasional morning diarrhea happens, too. But if you have diarrhea every morning, you should check with a doctor, as it could be a sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or another health concern.
What can you do to have a regular and healthy morning poop? Diet and exercise make the biggest difference between weekly and daily dumpers, and traveling can disrupt a person’s digestive cycle as well. Regular sleep is also important. “Sleep disturbances alter the natural colon peristalsis,” Pasricha warns. “People can have irregular bowel movements. Uninterrupted deep sleep is important in maintaining healthy pooping behavior.”
Ultimately, taking a morning poop is not vital for a person’s health, Pasricha says. But it sure is a healthy way to poop. “Typically the best time of the day to have a bowel movement is in the morning. However, some people may not have morning bowel movements and this does not necessarily mean there are any issues,” Pasricha. “It is okay not to have morning bowel movements as long as people are having regular daily bowel movements.”
Signs of a Healthy Morning Poop
Bowel movement frequency is an important sign of health. A healthy daily routine should include:
- About one poop a day.
- A poop about 30 minutes after waking is normal (although no one should panic if this isn’t their window).
- Coffee or even a glass of salt water can help keep you “regular.”
- If you’re pooping a lot more than twice a day, you should check in with your doctor. (Three times a week to three times a day is considered a normal range).
- If you have diarrhea every morning, you should check with your doctor as this is a common sign of Iritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS.
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Fecal Incontinence in Women: Q&A with an Expert
Like the kids’ book says, everyone poops. And at some point, some of us feel like we’re going to poop in our pants. It might be during the onset of a stomach bug, the weeks you spend recovering from childbirth or when that laxative kicks in while you’re out shopping.
Fecal incontinence is not something anyone wants to talk about, but it’s extremely common, affecting up to one in four women at some point in their lives. Many women who experience occasional or chronic stool leakage may feel embarrassed about it, but they should know that treatment can help.
Grace Chen, M.D., a urogynecologist at the Johns Hopkins Women’s Center for Pelvic Health and Reconstructive Surgery, talks about the causes and treatments of fecal incontinence.
What is fecal incontinence?
Fecal incontinence means your body can’t control its own bowel movements, resulting in leakage of stool. Here’s how that happens: Muscles in your gastrointestinal tract move the contents of your gut (food you’ve eaten that’s being digested) through your body. Once all of the nutrients are absorbed, what’s left is stool, which sits in the colon until you have a bowel movement.
Your anal sphincter is a muscle that holds the anus closed so stool doesn’t leak out until you’re ready to go. When the sphincter doesn’t do its job — or if your stool is too loose or even too hard — leakage can happen.
Fecal incontinence can occur once in a while or it may happen all the time. Symptoms include:
- Inability to resist the urge to defecate
- Not getting to the toilet fast enough
- Being unaware of the need to go
What causes fecal incontinence?
Age is the biggest risk factor for fecal incontinence; it’s a condition that primarily affects older women. But it can also occur in younger women. Other risk factors and causes of fecal incontinence include:
- Constipation: “When you’re constipated, you can have liquid stool around impacted feces in your colon,” says Chen. “Hard stool makes it difficult for one of the anal sphincters to contract, allowing liquid material to seep through.”
- Diarrhea: Loose stool is harder to control, and even the rare bout of diarrhea can cause leakage.
- Childbirth: “Research shows if you have a vaginal delivery, particularly an assisted delivery, you may be at more risk for developing fecal incontinence,” says Chen. Assisted delivery techniques include forceps, vacuum or episiotomy, where the doctor makes a cut in the tissue between the vagina and anus for easier delivery.
- Nerve or muscle damage: Any damage to the nerves that signals the need for a bowel movement or the muscles that control bowel movements can cause fecal incontinence. Causes of nerve damage include surgery, childbirth, spinal cord injury or other chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
- Rectal conditions: Rectal scarring from surgery or radiation therapy can keep the rectum from stretching. This can allow stool to leak out. Rectal prolapse, where the rectum slips into the anus, can also cause fecal incontinence.
- Bowel problems: Any condition that causes diarrhea raises your risk of fecal incontinence. These conditions may include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Mobility problems: Leakage is more likely to happen to people who have trouble getting to the bathroom fast enough. This can be due to physical disability or age-related mobility problems. Inactivity can also cause constipation that contributes to fecal incontinence.
What are treatments for fecal incontinence?
Because of the wide variety of causes, treating fecal incontinence might involve seeing multiple medical professionals. But the good news is that it isn’t just something you have to live with, and you’ll have many experts in your corner. “You should try to get your bowel symptoms managed as best as possible,” says Chen. “Gynecologists, gastroenterologists, physical therapists and colorectal surgeons all work together to treat fecal incontinence.”
Your medical team will focus on approaches such as:
- Improving stool quality: Regulating your stool consistency can reduce the likelihood of leakage. Medicine can help control chronic diarrhea or constipation, while fiber supplements can help increase the bulk of your stool.
- Physical therapy: Research shows physical therapy can help control fecal incontinence, such as in cases with nerve damage from childbirth.
- Medical devices: Nerve stimulation devices appear to work as well as surgery to improve muscle control in the anus. Other devices to improve bowel control include a vaginal insert designed to prevent stool from leaking out of the anus.
- Surgery: If you have a condition such as rectal prolapse, surgery may be able to help.
So when should you get treatment for fecal incontinence? Chen says women should see a doctor when fecal incontinence bothers them, even if it only happens once in a while.
“If fecal incontinence is lowering your quality of life or causing other problems, such as skin irritation, you may want to see a doctor,” says Chen. If you’re nervous about what the doctor might recommend, Chen says the important thing to know is that talking to a doctor doesn’t mean committing to treatment. “The more informed you are, the more empowered you’ll be to make an educated decision,” she says.
People Who Poop At This Time Of Day Are Healthiest, According To Experts
As a lot of us probably feel, the best time to “go” is whenever the moment strikes. But for the vast majority of us — aka everyone besides babies — it isn’t so easy.
Maybe you’re at the office or a gas station or even, god forbid, on a date. It just never seems like a great time.
That being said, there is an ideal window for pooping. Dr. Kenneth Koch, certified poop expert (JK I made that up), recently revealed the best time for doing your business, and not-so-surprisingly, it’s in the morning.
Right after you wake up, to be precise.
It has to do with your small intestine and colon working overtime while you sleep so that, come morning, you’re ready to unload all the Fritos and Bagel Bites you binged on the night before. By 8 am, your body’s all like, “Get that crap outta here!”
The key, though, is regularity. A morning dump is really only beneficial when you make it an everyday thing. As Dr. Koch explained to Women’s Health,
You can think of 100 reasons you don’t have time, but have that breakfast, recognize that urge to have a bowel movement, and then take the time. That’s how you get into a regular movement.
So make sure to pencil in a little “me time” every day if you want to keep your insides happy and healthy.
Oh, and probably lay off the Fritos, too.
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Says Hayden, treatment for fecal incontinence includes:• Dietary changes. “Adding fiber to your diet can add bulk and make it easier to control your stools if they are watery. Sometimes avoiding certain foods like coffee, tea, or chocolate can help as well.”• Medication. “Some medicines help you make bowel movements on a regular basis. These are called laxatives. Other medicines slow down the movement of stool through the bowel.”• Bowel training. “These are exercises that help you relearn how to control bowel movements. One kind of bowel training is called biofeedback.”• Exercise. “Strengthening exercises (called Kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises) can help control fecal leakage. They involve contracting the muscles of the anus, buttocks, and pelvis, and then holding as hard as possible for 5 seconds, and then relaxing. A series of 30 of these exercises should be done three times a day.”• Injectable tissue-bulking agent. “Materials are injected to improve the bulk and thickness of the anal walls.” • Surgery. These procedures include sphincteroplasty, colostomy, sphincter replacement and sacral nerve stimulation. “Many of these procedures involve the repair or replacement of a part of your anus or sphincter. With sacral nerve stimulation, a transmitting device is implanted under the skin of the upper-buttock area to send electrical impulses to the nerves that control the sphincter.”Talking with a physician and acknowledging the problem is the first step. “Help is here and you do not have to live with incontinence,” says Hayden. “It is critical that everyone understands that normal aging does not include loss of bowel control.”
Mild to severe diarrhea can be caused by:
- infections, including those due to viruses or bacteria
You may find that you experience diarrhea at night due to one of these causes, but it’s unlikely that you will experience the condition for an extended period of time.
Chronic nocturnal diarrhea is likely the sign of a more serious condition. The condition may even help your doctor make a diagnosis. Several gastrointestinal conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome and other functional bowel diseases, do not generally cause nocturnal diarrhea.
It is common for secretory diarrhea to cause nocturnal diarrhea. Secretory diarrhea occurs when your intestine cannot properly absorb or secrete electrolytes and fluid. You may experience secretory diarrhea from an underlying health condition or from an external factor like alcoholism, surgery, or medication use.
Here are a few health conditions that can cause chronic nocturnal diarrhea:
Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease can be caused by several different conditions, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It occurs when you experience chronic inflammation within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Ulcerative colitis occurs in your large intestine. Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere from your mouth to anus. Both are autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation in the GI tract.
You may experience blood or mucus in your bowel movements in addition to other diarrhea content. Other symptoms of these conditions include pain during bowel movements, fatigue, weight loss, anemia, and chronic abdominal pain. This chronic condition can be severe at times and in remission with therapy for others.
The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not known, but you may be more susceptible to it if you have a family history of it, smoke tobacco, or take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
Microscopic colitis can cause nocturnal diarrhea even if you are fasting. The condition inflames your large intestine at a microscopic level. You are more likely to get this condition as you age. You may experience this condition if you take certain types of medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, for a prolonged period of time. It may develop for a separate reason as well.
Diabetes mellitus may be the cause of nocturnal diarrhea. You may be more susceptible to nocturnal diarrhea if your blood glucose level is poorly controlled and if you depend on insulin. You may be more likely to experience nocturnal diarrhea if you have diabetes with peripheral and autonomic neuropathy. You may experience nocturnal diarrhea frequently or only occasionally.
The Facts on Fecal Incontinence
Not being able to properly control passing stools is a medical condition known as fecal incontinence. This lack of control over the bowels means stools can leak out if you can’t recognize the signs of an impending bowel movement and make it to a bathroom in time.
Fecal incontinence isn’t limited to any particular age group or gender. Although it more commonly strikes older people and women, anyone — even children — can have fecal incontinence; it affects over 5 million Americans.
Fecal incontinence often occurs when nerves around the anal sphincter, the muscle that helps control a bowel movement, become damaged in some way. Common causes of damage to the anal sphincter and fecal incontinence include:
- Constipation — the most frequently cited cause
- Straining too hard to have a bowel movement
- Conditions and diseases that affect the nerves, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and tumors involving the spinal cord
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Radiation therapy or surgery near the rectum
- Delivering a baby
- Weakness or abnormalities affecting the pelvic floor
Symptoms of fecal incontinence include:
- Leaking stool, even if infrequently
- Inability to prevent the release of gas
- Stools that leak during some sort of exertion
- Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
Diagnosing Fecal Incontinence
Although the occasional bout of severe and sudden diarrhea can cause fecal incontinence, regular uncontrolled bowel movements aren’t considered normal. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms — he can perform some tests to help diagnose the cause of your fecal incontinence. Possible tests include:
- Anorectal ultrasonography. This is a small probe with a camera that is inserted into the rectum to look for abnormalities with the anal sphincter.
- Proctosigmoidoscopy. This instrument has a narrow tube with a camera to reveal tumors or other abnormalities in the lower part of the colon and the rectum.
- Proctography (defecography). This diagnostic test evaluates the capacity and function of the rectum. A tube containing liquid barium is placed in the colon. The patient sits on a specially constructed toilet. As the patient expels the colon’s contents, an X-ray is taken.
- Anal electromyography (EMG). With this test, small electrodes are inserted into the anus to assess nerve damage.
- Anal manometry. A tube is inserted into the rectum to see how strong it is and how well it can detect sensations.
Treating Fecal Incontinence
Once your doctor knows the cause of your fecal incontinence, he can recommend treatment options, which may range from diet changes to surgery:
- Bowel training. This treatment is used to teach better control over the bowels and can include creating a schedule for having bowel movements to prevent untimely (and uncontrollable) bowel movements. Biofeedback is one method you can use to train yourself to recognize and control the muscles required to hold in stools.
- Changing your diet. Adding fiber to your diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and sticking to small meals can help improve digestive health and control bowel movements. Keeping a log of foods that cause you to have diarrhea can also help by showing you what triggers to avoid.
- Medications to improve stools. Fiber or anti-diarrheal medications can change the consistency of stools and make them more regular, providing better control over fecal incontinence.
- Surgery to correct abnormalities. If there is an abnormality affecting the anal sphincter, surgery may be needed to repair it.
Though this can be an embarrassing issue to discuss, ignoring fecal incontinence won’t help. If you are dealing with uncontrollable bowel movements, talk to your doctor about possible causes and ways to better control your bowels.
How Your Sleep Habits Might Affect Your Poop
Not getting enough sleep (a habit that many of us are guilty of) can throw off your entire day. But a lack of sleep is more than just a mood ruiner. It’s also associated with some pretty negative effects on your health—and, believe it or not, your bathroom behavior.
Digestive health experts have long believed that sleep quality and GI symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are connected in some way, especially among people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Research even suggests that sleep disruptions might trigger flare-ups of inflammatory bowel disease. Sleep disorders and poor sleep may also affect the immune system and, in turn, GI health.
RELATED: What the Color of Your Poop Can Tell You About Your Health
But there’s still some uncertainty around whether a lack of sleep or low-quality sleep can be considered a direct cause of poop problems, Kyle D. Staller, MD, MPH, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells Health.
Certainly, he says, people who already deal with IBS or other gastrointestinal discomfort may very well notice that their symptoms get worse when they aren’t sleeping well: “Poor sleep is likely going to exacerbate or worsen certain GI issues.” It’s possible, he says, that you could go several nights without quality rest and notice an increase in discomfort, diarrhea, or suboptimal poops in the following days.
But, he adds, there’s also a chance your GI issues are so intense that they actually interfere with your sleep, thus reversing the cycle. Waking up in the middle of the night with the urgent need to poop is sure to mess with your sleep—although for the record, it’s also likely a sign of an infection and worth discussing with your doctor.
RELATED: How Often Should You Poop a Week? A Doctor Weighs In
Until more research is done, a sort of chicken-or-egg question remains: Does poor sleep cause poop problems, or are poop problems wrecking your sleep? Dr. Staller suggests that it’s better to think of sleep as a “volume control” for preexisting gut issues than as a direct trigger for them. Getting a good night’s rest can act as a solid preventive health measure and, if you’re already living with GI discomfort or IBS, it won’t hurt to work on improving your sleep schedule.
“It’s a way to potentially control symptoms, without going to the medication route,” Dr. Staller says. “And many patients are interested in a more natural approach to their IBS.”
If you’re among the 10 to 15% of U.S. adults with IBS, try establishing a bedtime routine that features a consistent schedule and rituals that ensure restful, high-quality sleep, like keeping your bedroom dark, cool, and free of screens. If nothing else, better sleep could reduce the amount of stress you live with—which, by the way, could improve your digestive health too.
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