How Rest Can Help With Better Digestion

How Rest Can Help With Better Digestion

Mar 06, 2024

Have you noticed a connection between your stress levels and your digestion? That’s because our digestive function is closely linked with how relaxed or overwhelmed our body and mind are. Digestion involves a symphony of physiological events that break down, assimilate, and ultimately transform food into nutrients and nutrients into energy for our bodies to use and function optimally. However, this intricate system thrives on a foundation of calm and relaxation, a state often overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Let’s delve deeper into the science of how rest impacts digestion.

The Rest and Digestion Connection

It all has to do with our nervous system, especially the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for functions we don’t have control over, such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion. This system is further broken down into two sections:

  1. Sympathetic Nervous System aka “Fight or flight”

This part of the nervous system is activated when we perceive threats or stress, like a last-minute meeting with the boss or running late to pick up the kids from soccer practice.  It diverts blood flow from the digestive system towards the heart and muscles, so you can make a quick escape.

  1. Parasympathetic Nervous System aka “Rest and digestion”

This part is activated in times of calmness and it shunts blood flow to the vast digestive system - helping it produce saliva, release digestive enzymes, move food throughout the system, and ultimately absorb nutrients for all cells to use.

How well we digest our food depends on the intricate balance between these two nervous systems. When we’re too stressed, the rest and digestion function slows down, resulting in:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Heartburn

Here’s how you can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, to be well-rested and better digest your meals:

  1. Don’t watch your favorite crime documentary – or any TVfor that matter - while enjoying a meal. Even though you think you may be relaxing by watching your favourite TV show, your body might think otherwise.
  2. Take a few deep breaths before you begin your meal. This activates the vagus nerve which shifts the body into a rest-and-digest mood.
  3. Build a habit of meditating and being mindful. In the long run, this will help keep your rest-and-digest active and help you become more resilient to stress.
  4. Prioritize your sleep. When you don’t sleep enough, you’re more likely to be stressed the following morning, which can dampen your digestive function. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try Jamieson’s Melatonin Gummies!
  5. Manage your long-term stress with supportive Ashwagandha. Jamieson’s Ashwagandha helps your body resist stress, so the result is a calm and well-rested you!

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