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Stress and chronic constipation are in a vicious cycle together. Not having a regular bowel movement can cause stress and it can further aggravate constipation. For older-adults, constipation and poor bowel movements are common due to their impaired metabolism.

Chronic constipation is defined as emptying your bowels once in three days, that too with hard stools. The condition can cause a variety of stress-related issues and also a lot of discomforts such as:

  • Start affecting your social life
  • Cause stress and anxiety
  • Affect your sex life
  • Affect your health
  • Make you tired
  • Mess up with your sleep

Co-relation between emotions and the bowel

Stress can affect the gut and tense the muscles. This can aggravate constipation. Stress reduces the serotonin levels in the body, a hormone which is responsible for well-being and happiness in humans. Low levels of serotonin can may cause anxiety and affect sleep. It can also affect the way food moves in the digestive tract.

Add your disrupted sex and social life to this, and you have a tricky situation. Your stress won’t let you empty your bowels, and your constipation will keep causing further stress. This is why it becomes important to manage stress for a better digestive health.

Co-relation between sleep and the bowel

Sleep is an important part of our physical health and it ensures everything in our body functions smoothly. It allows the body to rest and repair, boosts brain functions and repairs muscles.

It allows the digestive system to catch a break. During the day, when we eat, there is a constant break down of glucose. During sleep, the digestive system and metabolism both, slow down and take rest. This allows the digestive system the energy it needs to perform when you are awake. Without an adequate supply of energy, your digestive system won’t be able to break down your food as efficiently, leading to a wide range of unpleasant symptoms.

Lack of proper sleep has been linked to a variety of digestive issues:

  • Makes you vulnerable to inflammation: Lack of sleep can cause inflammatory disorders like IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome. Some forms of IBS can cause auto-immune diseases, wherein the immune system starts to attack the intestinal tract, causing widespread inflammation in the digestive tract. Sleep deprivation can aggravate this problem, as it increases inflammation throughout the body.
  • Makes you crave for sugary food: Sleep is important for energy. But if you have had a sleepless night, your body will be craving for unhealthy sources of energy to fuel itself after you wake up. That’s why binge eating is so common when you haven’t slept well or sleep late. Your levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, will be elevated after a poor night’s sleep while your levels of leptin, an appetite suppressor, will be reduced. Eating unhealthy snacks can affect your digestion and cause constipation.

What can you do to sleep better and manage stress?

It is no surprise that when you manage stress and sleep, your constipation can also be relieved. Here are a few simple tips to follow:

  • Indulge in physical activities. It can be yoga, gardening, swimming or walking. Keep moving to better your digestive health.
  • Indulge in yoga and meditation to manage stress and thoughts. A calm mind will create a calm body.
  • Talk to your family and friends instead of dealing with emotions alone. It can be a good release and help you manage constipation.

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