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Can Lack of Sleep Cause Stomach Problems?

The Importance Of a Good Sleep For Your Health

Can lack of sleep cause stomach problems? Does lack of sleep affect digestion? While the occasional sleepless night will not lead to health issues, it has been shown that chronic bouts of insomnia can have a negative impact upon digestion.

Time and again, people are told about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation. From your mother’s warnings to you as a child all the way to those annoying ads about night-time herbal supplements as you watch videos online, sleep is without doubt one of the most important aspects of your health.

Not getting enough sleep may sound like a simple problem on the surface, but it can take a long time to remedy. Sleep deprivation can result in difficulty concentrating; it can also cause long-term damage when it happens to you regularly.

In fact, researchers from George Washington University reveal that sleep deprivation can lead to more serious medical conditions down the road, such as hypertension, strokes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.

Sleep Deprivation Effects

Additionally, Maryville University researchers point out how chronic diseases will affect an estimated 164 million individuals in the USA in the coming years. It’s unfortunate to think about how part of this impending public health problem may arise from the growing issue of sleep deprivation.

Therefore, aside from the usual image of students falling asleep in class or shrieking toddlers, the effects of not getting enough sleep run deeper than you think. That’s because sleep is so crucial to the functioning and health of most of your body’s systems.

Lack of sleep and digestion

Does food digest when you sleep? Believe it or not, many metabolic processes are carried out during the overnight hours, and digestion is included. The digestive system, for one, relies on sleep as a chance for it to rest after a full day of breaking down glucose for the rest of your body. Additionally, sleep gives you much-needed energy that is necessary for digestion to happen efficiently.

Another point to mention is that lack of sleep effects can go far beyond mere digestive issues; it also tends to slow down our metabolism (because we are tired throughout the day), leaving many individuals much more prone to weight gain.

Does Sleep Affect Digestion

Sleep deprivation symptoms

Unfortunately, many individuals do not obtain the proper amount of rest throughout the night. The deprivation of sleep is actually quite pervasive in modern society, and a host of health problems may be just around the corner.

Without the benefits of a good night’s sleep, your digestive system will be compromised in various ways. Here are some lack of sleep effects:

  • Bloating, indigestion and stomach cramps
  • An upset stomach throughout the day
  • The overall health of your digestive system


Let’s now take a look at some specific indicators that a problem may exist.

Sugar cravings

Since sleep is necessary for replenishing energy, a lack of it will result in an exacerbated need for additional energy sources. On top of this, your leptin levels, which control your appetite, are greatly reduced. This will affect the way you crave food, which most likely means you will reach for unhealthy snacks more than you usually do.

This is true even for the smartest and most health-conscious people. Psychology Today notes how sleep deprivation damages high-level brain function, making you more inclined to poor decision-making — which explains the pile of junk food when you’re stressed and sleep-deprived.

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Similar to how stress can trigger gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a lack of sleep can also have detrimental effects on people who suffer from acid reflux. Increased cytokine levels as a result of sleep deprivation can worsen certain GERD symptoms, leading to problems during digestion.

Adding to the problem, individuals who suffer from GERD will have a hard time sleeping, as they often fall victim to heartburn at nighttime. This, in turn, contributes to sleep-onset insomnia.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Speaking of stress, the most common effect you are probably aware of is that you get grumpy or moody when you don’t get enough sleep. It’s not surprising then that a lack of sleep makes you more vulnerable to the effects of stress, which includes Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

With your body struggling to send nutrients to your other organs, your digestive system will begin to feel the effects as it is not considered a priority compared to your heart or lungs. As a result, you will likely suffer constipation or diarrhea with all the waste sitting in your digestive tract.

Tips to prevent stomach pain from a lack of sleep

All in all, sleep deprivation can affect more than just your mood and your ability to stay awake in class or at work — it can also have adverse effects on how you consume and even think about food. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to avoid these consequences to finally get some much-needed sleep.

Lack of Sleep Stomach Issues
  1. Avoiding late night carb-heavy meals. Easily digestible foods include white rice, bananas, apple cause, and sweet potatoes.
  2. Giving yourself half an hour to just relax in bed.
  3. Sleeping for at least seven hours each night.
  4. Sleeping in a more comfortable position. The best side to sleep on for digestion is the left side.
  5. Turn off your phone and laptop.
  6. Save the rest of your work for tomorrow.
  7. Skip that next episode from a series you’ve been binging.


Can lack of sleep cause digestive issues? Can sleep deprivation cause stomach pain? The answers should be clear at this point. If you are hoping to enjoy a comfortable evening of rest while maintaining a healthy body weight, please take a look at what the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon has to offer.

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