Your Gut Processes Emotion and Regulates Health While You Sleep | Dr. Emeran Mayer

Your Gut Processes Emotion and Regulates Health While You Sleep | Dr. Emeran Mayer


So when we sleep and we have an empty stomach
then the activity, the contractile activity of our gut changes to a very unique pattern. It’s a 90-minute cycle, very powerful waves
of contractions migrate from the esophagus all the way down to the end of our large intestine. And they move very slowly. So this has been referred to as the intestinal
housekeeper that sort of cleans the gut from any residue that’s present. And the rhythm for that is generated by the
brain so it’s dependent on the input of the vagus nerve on the second brain in the
gut. And this has been something that also should
occur when during daytime when in between meals when our stomach and intestinal system
is empty. However with the sort of modern habit of snacking
in between meals so a lot of people don’t have that during the day but have it during
sleep. If you add the microbes into this now it’s
quite likely, not really proven. I mean the microbes obey some kind of a Circadian
rhythm by themselves so they’re different during sleep and during daytime. But it’s quite possible to assume that this
powerful wave that sort of cleans everything out will also affect the microbes, the composition
of the microbes because if we don’t have it – so people that don’t have that for
some reason they will develop abnormal colonization, for example, of their small bowel with a lot
of microbes that don’t really belong there. So clearly an important role in regulating
the populations and the regional distribution of these microbes in our gut. What happens during sleep, so during REM sleep
when we have a lot of activity going on within the autonomic nervous system circuits within
the brain and the signals are being sent to the gut. So our body is inhibited but not our intestinal
activity. So in many ways emotions that we experience
usually in our dreams have their mirror image in terms of gut activity – contractions,
secretions. And again I mean like everything that goes
on within our brain emotionally always is reflected just like our facial expression
reflects our emotions, everything reflects our emotional state either during waking time
or sleep time at the gut level. And the microbes who live in that environment
are affected by it. So it’s an area that’s not studied in
great detail but very important for an understanding of how the microbes, the gut and the brain
interact and maintain health. So sleep is a very important ingredient for
health regulation of the immune system but for the also regulation of gut function and
particularly gut microbial integrity and wellbeing. We know quite a bit about what happens during
sleep and during dreaming. In psychoanalysis this is a big window into
our emotional lives so Jungian or Freudian psychoanalysts have spent a lot of time interpreting
dreams and getting an access to this process. A big portion is probably the processing and
consolidation of memories that have been experienced during the day. Many of these memories have a gut feeling
component because every time we have an emotion during the day there’s always a counterpart
at the gut level that is then through these sensory pathways goes back to the brain. We may not experience it during the daytime
but it’s encoded in this vast database within the brain. So what happens then during sleep there is
this retrieval and then processing and consolidation of these memories including all the gut feelings
that are associated with those experiences that we had during the day. I think it’s a very important point to emphasize
that emotions have an intricate component of gut activity and gut feelings regardless
if you feel it like the butterflies in the stomach or the knot in the stomach. Every emotion has a component that the brain
engages gut activity and that’s being reported back to the brain. And so you have to look at an emotion really
as a circular process within the brain-gut access. And during sleep and during dreaming there’s
almost certainly a consolidation processing of this myriad of gut feelings that are generated
throughout the day.

12 Replies to “Your Gut Processes Emotion and Regulates Health While You Sleep | Dr. Emeran Mayer”

  1. Can anyone make sense of what the hell this guy is saying? I mean, I get what he's basically saying about the gut, but what does he want us to actually learn from what he's rambling about?

  2. So say, you eat to much fat, salt and sugar. That could influence the health of your gut and thereby the quality of your sleep AND the other way around. To me, mental disorder and ibs patient that makes a lot of sense. I'm doing so much better btw recently, by upping the quality of the food I eat. Making a lot of meals at home and such.This video is waaaay too long, could have been 3 minutes.

  3. explains why my ptsd largely manifests as catastrophic anxiety attacks while i am asleep. makes me wake up violently ill, loss of all body functions, and fainting, vomiting,

  4. Great topic, it will be interesting to see how our understanding of the gut / brain relationship grows and how this changes our approach to medicine and wellness

  5. This is exactly what ancient Chinese medicine has been talking about. Not just Gut, each of human internal organ has its emotion type. For negative emotion type, gut is for anxious, indecisive, spleen for complained, wronged emotions, and …

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