IBS: How to improve your digestion and sleep


a good nights sleep with IBS

If you have IBS, you may feel that your sleep is not as good as it could be. By reverse engineering, you can improve your digestion – and get a better night’s sleep.

When your stomach is pulling (and you think you’re still hungry)

It is really difficult to know what to do when your stomach is pulling. You know, in the evening in front of the tv when you are having trouble digesting what you ate. You feel that pulling sensation, as if you are really hungry.  And as that uncomfortable pulling sensation gets louder, you reach out for something, maybe biscuits, chocolate, something, anything to get rid of that feeling. Been there, done that. And every time I kicked myself in the morning because I felt so tired. Sound familiar?

That pulling feeling is of course sign that you are having problems with digestion. So let’s go back and see what you can do to improve things.

Do you have Sibo or Candida?

If you feel that you systematically have bloating and digestive problems despite being careful about your diet, then do get your doctor to check you out for Sibo and Candida, both forms of dysbiosis (an imbalance in gut bacteria). I mention this a great deal in articles and on forums because many doctors don’t talk about this. Yet it can be having a major effect on your digestion and your general well-being.

Are eating your main meal in the evening?

There is a tradition of having a main meal in the evening. And sometimes it is difficult to work it otherwise. But this very fact could be keeping you awake at night. In past times people would have their main meal at lunchtime and just have something light and “supplemental” like soup later on. That’s where the word “supper” came from.

Having a warm, light liquid meal in the evening really helps your body digest, helping you to sleep better.

IBS and soup

If you have a growing family, or a hungry husband, soup may not be enough for them.

But it could be their starter – and your main.

I’m not suggesting tinned soup here because of the preservatives it has in it which could just irritate your digestion even further.

Making soup from fresh veg will bring you so much more. And is quicker than you think.

How to make home-made soup (takes 20 mins):

  1. Half fill a medium saucepan with a thinly sliced potato, a leek (if you can tolerate this in small quantities), and different veg of your choice cut up small (tomato always adds flavour) .
  2. Add stock. If you want to buy convenient stock without preservatives, I suggest adding one serving of Knorr’s beef or chicken stock pot.
  3. Cover the veg with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Blend and add a little cream or coconut oil if liked. And voilà! I have mine with some crusty artisanal bread from the bakers (with no preservatives).

Eating well at lunchtime

To eat a light supper, you need to have a decent lunch. This is the best time to consume and digest protein and fat.

If you have a canteen at work, this is do-able. It will take more planning and thinking through if you usually just pop out for a quick sandwich. This won’t sustain you  – and you really will be hungry in front of the tv. And the viscous cyle will continue (you grab something – you spend all night digesting you wake up tired).

At first you may not feel very hungry at lunchtime. After all you are used to eating more later on. So start slowly, gradually increasing the size of your lunch, and reducing the size of your evening meal

Eating earlier is beneficial for your digestion

Make your “evening meal” into your late afternoon meal if you can. Do what you can to have finished eating on weekdays by 6 or 6.30 pm. If you are having something light, it will be quick to prepare too.The earlier you eat, the more time you give your digestion. And the better your night’s sleep will be.

A glass of wine?

wineAlcohol feeds your bad gut bacteria and is a stimulant. And if you have IBS this is not the best of choices. So avoid alcohol as a habit in the evening.

If the thought of this is too much, try keeping it as a treat for Friday or Saturday night. During the week you need quality sleep:)


What you have in the evening directly affects how you digest, how well you sleep, how you feel when you wake up, and how you live your day.