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Sleep and Gut Health by Kate Arnott

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The importance of sleep

Many our clients come to us with sleep issues. With the stress of the last year, this problem seems to be on the rise as more and more people are seeking healthy natural alternatives to assist with better sleep. At Nature’s Relief we are passionate about helping people get a better night’s rest as we understand the importance of sleep for overall health. We spoke to gut health specialist Kate Arnott about the importance of sleep and how it affects your mood, gut health, and productivity.

The incredible relationship between your gut and sleep

It is likely that you’ve heard about the bidirectional relationship between your brain and gut. The vagus nerve is a fascinating communication highway that carries information between gut microbiota and the brain and if either becomes imbalanced, the other will be affected.

 Research has shown that the state of your gut microbiota might influence sleep patterns due to the role that the microbiome plays in producing important chemical messengers involved in sleep such as serotonin and dopamine. About 95% of serotonin and 50% dopamine is produced in the gut.

Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin which is released from the pineal gland due to the influence of dopamine. Melatonin is the main hormone involved in sleep.

This is an incredibly sensitive and intelligent balance that plays into our natural circadian rhythm. Owing to lifestyle factors and stress, this balance can very easily be tipped resulting in further microbial imbalance and thus, various other pathologies linked to the wellbeing of our gut.

 In addition to the role serotonin and dopamine have on sleep, one of our stress hormones cortisol can also affect this delicate balance. Chronically elevated cortisol levels due to stress and lifestyle factors influence microbial composition and gut permeability. Thus, further affecting the balance of chemical messengers serotonin and dopamine.

 In addition to this, cortisol and melatonin are the two main hormones which influence your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin increases at the onset of darkness while cortisol spikes when the sun rises – initiating our waking. When we experience chronically elevated cortisol levels, we might battle to fall asleep due to the suppression of melatonin release.

 So how can we support our sleep cycle by means of lifestyle adjustments?

Manage stress

Stress is a rather broad term which can take into account mental, emotional, physical stresses such as work, relationships, finance, trauma, exercise, injury, chemical exposure, diet, unhealthy lifestyle choices to name a few.

It is essential that we address any factors that might be causing imbalance in our lives as this is ultimately what induces chronic stress. Take time to contemplate the underlying causes of your stress and either find solutions yourself or seek professional support.

Other means to managing stress include:

  • Meditation and breath
  • Yoga
  • Slowing down
  • Simplifying your life
  • Simplifying your diet and eating fresh, nourishing, whole foods
  • Drink more water
  • Do more of what you enjoy doing
  • Listen to calming music
  • Give more and also receive
  • Spend time in nature


Include protein at each meal to balance blood sugar levels and supply the body with amino acids which are involved in sleep cycle. Protein is also very grounding and settling for high energy and stress especially at the end of the day.

Support your gut microbiome by including more fibre in the form of whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Some people find benefit from including fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi or yogurt, however this is not the case for everyone.

Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, flax, nuts, (some) fish for example are very nourishing for the system as a whole and also offer anti-inflammatory benefits which support the gut microbiome and facilitate the lowering of physical stress on the body. Fats are also effective for brain health and function.

Try and avoid high sugar foods, excess saturated fats and animal protein, alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine and coffee as you approach evening time. Avoid eating very large portions at one time and drinking liquids during a meal. These foods (in excess) and habits are linked to imbalances in the gut microbiome.


Lifestyle factors which might influence the state of your gut microbiome include excess stress, diet, alcohol consumption, antibiotic use, chronic medication, exposure to chemicals, smoking, under and over exercise.


Supplements that you might consider taking should ultimately facilitate the body in coming back into balance. Adaptogens are a class of natural medicines that support the body in adapting to stress through the neurological, endocrine and immune systems.

Some adaptogens include:

  • Ashwaganda
  • Eleuthero
  • Schizandra
  • Medicinal mushrooms
  • CBD

Nature’s Relief CBD Sleep

CBD is also effective in facilitating balance through the endocannabinoid system which is ultimately responsible for restoring balance to the body and mind. Nature’s Relief CBD sleep has been shown to positively influence gut health owing to its effect on regulating cortisol levels.

Nature’s Relief CBD has been shown to facilitate REM sleep which has been shown to contribute towards emotional wellbeing. On the whole, owing to CBD’s effect on muscle relaxation, calming of the mind, anti-inflammatory and pain alleviation, it has been shown to support a healthier sleep cycle.

Nature’s Relief CBD can assist with sleep issues due to it’s anti-anxiety properties and ability to promote relaxation. Our blend of CBD and lavender terpenes will help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Our CBD promotes restoration and healing through rest and you should wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.

Nature’s Relief Lion’s Mane and gut health

Lion’s mane may help digestive health by fighting inflammation, which could be beneficial for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The mushroom may also boost immune function and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

Nature’s Relief Lion’s Mane Mushroom is most commonly known for it’s benefits for the brain. This mushroom contains bio-active substance that target your body’s brain, heart and gut.

More about Kate Arnott

Kate is Nutrition Scientist using herbs and medical mushrooms in her clinical practice. She weaves ancient teachings and philosophies into her modern day scientific background. Kate consults both online and in Ballito/ Salt rock. To reach Kate, please see

Nature’s Relief Moringa
CBD Sleep by Nature’s Relief



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