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寝不足が便秘の原因になるメカニズムと対処方法

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便秘に悩まれる方は多くおられます。便秘の原因についてはさまざまな可能性が考えられますが、便秘の原因の一つとして寝不足ということが挙げられます。

便秘の原因というと運動不足や食事バランスなどがイメージされがちですが、実は寝不足と便秘には大きな関係があります。寝不足はどうして便秘の原因となるのでしょうか。また、寝不足が便秘の原因である場合、その対処方法はどのようにすれば良いのでしょうか。

本稿では寝不足と便秘の関係、その対処法などについてまとめています。

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寝不足が便秘の原因になることは経験済み?

寝不足の女性

便秘は美容や健康の大敵と言えます。また、ごくまれなケースですが、便秘により腸閉塞を引き起こしてしまい死亡してしまった方もおられます。(また死亡までは至らずとも、便秘により気分が悪くなるなどして救急車で病院へ運ばれるケースなどは実は少なくありません)。

このように便秘は決して甘く見ることはできないものです。「たかが便秘、されど便秘」です。

この便秘の原因の一つとして寝不足が挙げられることはご存知でしょうか?寝不足の日が続くと便秘になりがちです。このことは経験上ご存知の方もおられるかもしれません。

なぜ、寝不足が続くと便秘となるのでしょうか。

寝不足が便秘を引き起こす理由

寝不足が便秘を引き起こすのは、副交感神経という私たちの体の中にある神経の働きが関係しています。

副交感神経は自律神経(私たちの意思とは関係なく活動する神経)の一つであり、リラックスなどをつかさどる神経です。この副交感神経はリラックス時に優位となりますので、睡眠中というリラックス時には非常に活発になることになります。

一方で副交感神経は腸の運動にも影響しています。つまり、副交感神経の働きが優位だと便が作られやすいということになります。

しかし、寝不足となると、副交感神経の働きが優位となることができない(あるいは副交感神経が働く時間が短い)ので、便が作られにくくなり、便秘となりがちになります。これが寝不足が便秘を引き起こす大きな理由です。

また、もう一つ、寝不足が便秘を引き起こしてしまいがちな理由があります。つまり、寝不足になるということは、生活リズムが乱れてしまっていることを意味します。すると、例えば朝食を食べる時間がずれ込んでしまったり、ぎゃくに深夜に食事をするなどして体内のリズムが乱れてしまいがちとなり、便秘の遠因となる可能性があります。

このように、寝不足は副交感神経の働きや生活リズムの乱れを導くことで便秘を引き起こしやすくなるということになります。

寝不足による便秘の解消のポイント

では、寝不足による便秘が続いている場合にはどのようにして対処すれば良いのでしょうか。

寝不足で便秘なのですから、寝不足を解消して睡眠を十分に取ることができれば直接の解消法となるでしょう。しかし、仕事などの関係で寝不足を解消することが難しいことも多いかと思われます。

そこで、いくつか便秘解消の「テクニック」を実施することが効果的といえます。

まずお勧めできるのが食事の改善です。具体的にはオリゴ糖を含んだ食事をたくさん摂ることです。オリゴ糖は、たまねぎ、きゃべつ、ごぼう、じゃがいもなどの野菜にとても豊富です。

オリゴ糖は腸内細菌を増やしてくれて便秘解消に大きく貢献してくれます。

また、便秘解消のサプリメントなども数多く販売されています。これらのサプリメントも決して悪いものではないかとは思われますが、寝不足が原因で便秘の場合、まずは便を輩出して便が体内に残っているという状態を解消すればよいわけですので、継続して飲まなければならないサプリメントまでを購入する必要性は少ないと言えます。

便秘が長く続く場合には、端的に下剤を利用することで一時的に便を排出することが健康維持のためとコストパフォーマンスの観点からは良いと言えるでしょう。

また、寝不足が極端に続くことで肌荒れなども出てきている場合には、多忙な生活リズム
そのものを見直すことが重要と言えます。

寝不足を可能な限り解消し、オリゴ糖を含む野菜を取り、(一時的な処方としては下剤で対処するとしても)可能な限り生活リズムを見直すというある意味「当たり前」のことを実行されることが便秘を解消し、健康と美容を維持するためにはとても重要と言えるでしょう。

伊藤園 1日分の野菜 900g×12本
伊藤園 (2012-03-05)
売り上げランキング: 50

まとめ:寝不足と便秘についてのまとめ

以上、本文で述べました寝不足と便秘について、その関係や対処方法のポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • 寝不足が便秘の原因となるのは、寝不足により副交感神経の働きが乱れてしまうことが大きな原因となります。また、寝不足により食生活・食事時間のリズムが崩れてしまうことも間接的な原因となりえます
  • 寝不足による便秘を解消するためには、何より生活リズムを見直して可能な限り睡眠時間を確保することができる生活を取ることが重要です。ただ、食事についてオリゴ糖を含む野菜(たまねぎ、きゃべつ、ごぼう、じゃがいもなど)を多く摂ったり、下剤を利用して一時的に症状を改善することも効果的です   

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