How to Improve Your Gut Health. Simple Steps that You Can Take Today!

Lately you’ve taken a keen interest in gut health. You realize you are having gut issues as you are struggling with bloating, constipation and sometimes diarrhea.

You’ve read about gut dysbiosis, leaky gut and natural ways to heal your gut after a round of antibiotics.

You are ready to make a change, but just don’t know where to start!

Good News! I have some simple steps you can take to improve your gut health. You can start taking these steps immediately. Keep reading to begin your journey in healing your gut!


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The content of this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always talk to your doctor regarding any medical conditions or taking any new supplements.  Click here for The Gut Nerd’s medical disclaimer. 

Step 1: SLEEP


Sleep can improve gut health

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our gut health, as well as our overall health. Not getting enough sleep can increase inflammation in the body and can lower the immune system. I wrote a blog post here on the importance of sleep.

There are a few studies that have been done that show sleep deprivation can alter the gut microbiome. Therefore, aim for getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If this seems unattainable, then start small. Tonight, start going to bed 5 minutes earlier then you normally would, then slowly increase this time until you are getting the hours of sleep that work best for your body.

If you are having trouble getting into this routine, a visual reminder or an alert on your phone can help you to remember to go to bed earlier. I use the “Bedtime” icon in the clock app of my phone to remind me that it’s time to go to bed. This reminder helps me to keep on schedule and not be tempted to watch “just one more show” on Netflix.

Step 2: Stop Eating 3 Hours Before Going To Bed

Stop eating 3 hours before bed

For those of you who love to snack before bed, this one may be hard. However, one of the best ways to begin the journey of gut healing is to STOP eating after dinner.


Digesting food takes a lot of energy for your body. If you eat a big meal, or a sweet high calorie snack too close to bedtime, then your body will not be able to properly digest this food. Your body needs energy to sleep and also needs energy to digest food and absorb nutrients. However, it cannot do both things at the same time efficiently.

Eating too close to bedtime will cause poor digestion. This means that your body will not have digested the food properly. Not enough of the food will be broken down properly, leaving excess food particles in your gut. This food then sits fermenting. This fermentation then feeds the opportunistic bacteria.

Eating at least 3 hours before bedtime gives your body the time it needs to digest the food, and break it down for the nutrients to be absorbed properly into the blood stream. Then when it’s time for bed, your body will be able concentrate on making necessary repairs to your body as you sleep.

Step 3: Exercise

Want to improve your gut health? Then start moving that body!

You don’t have to go out and join a gym or pay for a yearly online workout program to get your body moving. If this seems overwhelming or something you are just not ready for, then a simple daily walk is a great start. Plus going for a walk outside is great for your body and gut microbiome.



Decide what you like to do and just start doing it! Pick a time of day that will work best for you. A time when you won’t be disturbed by kids or by daily demands. I wake up early and do my workout in the morning as I know I will have fewer distractions and won’t be disturbed by my kids.

Step 4: Hydrate



Our bodies are made up of about 75% water. We lose water every day through breathing, going to the bathroom, and sweating. Our body is in a constant state of balance between fluid intake and fluid loss.

Drinking water daily helps to keep the body in balance. When the body is out of balance and doesn’t have enough water, that is when dehydration occurs. Not drinking enough water can cause constipation and acid reflux. Both of these issues can do a lot of harm to the gut flora.

Aim to drink about half of your body weight in ounces. My daily water intake goal is 70 oz. Some days I drink more then this, and other days I don’t quite make that goal.

I find drinking plain water can sometimes get a tad boring so I will usually add some lemon juice and ginger to my water. I will even add a few drops a Stevia if I’m looking for a bit of that lemonade taste without the sugar.

Fruit infused water is also another great way to stay hydrated while drinking water that has a yummy flavor to it.

Step 5: Eat Until You Feel 80% Full

At one point in time or another, all of us have over eaten. You know the feeling, your stomach feels heavy, you feel tired and your guts gurgle and are gassy. This over eating puts a lot of stress on your digestive system. Overeating causes food to ferment, and this fermented food becomes food for opportunistic bacteria, yeast and fungus.



To avoid overeating, follow the 80% rule. This rule is simple: eat until you feel 80% full.

It’s as simple as that. This rule is covered in the book Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger, M.D.

Following this rule will help you to slow down when you are eating and to take mental note of how your are feeling while you are eating. As soon as you feel satisfied and full (but not overfull…..if you know what I mean), then STOP eating.

Take Back Your Gut Health!

Starting on the journey of healing your gut can seem daunting, however, these five steps will help you to get started.

The great thing about these steps is that none of them cost any money and you can begin incorporating them into your life TODAY!

What are you waiting for? The power to change your health is in YOUR hands!

What do you think?

Are these steps attainable for you? Comment below and let me know!


The Gut Nerd

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on any of my links and purchase the product, I will receive a small commission. Thank you! 

12 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Gut Health. Simple Steps that You Can Take Today!”

  1. Hi, there’s some really useful tips here! I’m definitely going to try the bedtime app, I need to try to get more sleep and I didn’t know that this would improve my gut health, sleeping helps so many things.
    Also eating until your 80% full, fantastic advise and I will have to get the book!


  2. This is really enlightening. I hadn’t heard of sleep actually changing the gut biome. Or lack of sleep. I hadn’t connected exercise to the gut either, but it makes sense. I have heard that not eating before bed is good for sleeping, but I didn’t connect that to the gut. These are totally attainable goals. Thanks so much!

    • Paula, I know! It’s crazy how connected our gut is to everything in our body! But at the same time it makes sense. There are still a lot of studies yet to be done on sleep and the gut microbiome, but it is an ever growing field of information.

  3. Hi Anna

    Thank You for writing such an informative article. The simple steps that you have provided cannot only help improve gut health, but they can improve our overall health. I am guilty of not going to bed early. So, sometimes, I do not get the 7 to 9 hour of sleep that is so important to my health.

    When I was working, I usually went to bed early. However, at this time, I am looking for a job, so I do not see the need to go to bed early. I need to start working on that.

    I am guilty of eating later than I should, because I am up until late, I get hungry, and I eat. I know that it is not good to eat late, and I need to do better in that area as well.

    I also need to do better in establishing a regular exercise routine. Since, I am not working at this time, I do not move around as much.

    I can say, I am not doing to badly when it comes to drinking water. I love drinking plain water, because I do not use a lot of sugar.

    In regards to eating until you feel 80% full. I am trying to do that now. I have been trying to reduce the amount that I eat. Since I am not very active at this time, it is easy to get overweight.

    I learned a lot from reading your article, and realized that my gut is not as healthy as it should be, because I am not taking the steps that are needed. Thanks again for you article.

    • Hi Jackie,
      Thanks for your reply. Being good to your body also means to be gentle on yourself. Not working and being on a different schedule will totally throw off your eating patterns. If you end up eating later some days just make mental note of how you slept. If you notice that your sleep quality is diminished then that may help you to remember to not eat so late into the night. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so don’t beat yourself up about this! I’m not perfect and there are days when I eat later then I should!
      The eating until feeling 80% full works so well! It really causes me to focus on what I am eating and really take note of how my body is feeling. I find I eat slower and my body digests the food so much easier!

      Remember that small steps will get you to a healthier gut! Just take it one day at a time and be kind to yourself!!


  4. Thank you for this post Anna. Reading through these 5 amazing steps, the only one I seem to have a pass mark on will be number 5. My sleep pattern needs to be adjusted I sleep for a maximum of 6 hours right now. My big challenge would be to stop eating 3 hours before I sleep. Late night snacks is the comfort I run to on my lonely nights. Now I know the harm it does to the body I’ll work at it. 

    • Hi Juliet, yes the snacking before bed for me was a tough one too. It’s not an easy habit to break, but it can be done. You are doing great for sleep! You may find 6 hours is all you need! I know 7 hours is my lucky number, but there are some days I do not get this amount of sleep.  Thank you for your thoughtful insight!

  5. I didn’t know that sleep, eating, and working out had any relation to gut health, but it doesn’t surprise me. In my case, I’m terrible at doing all the steps you mention. I don’t sleep as much as I should nor do I eat as healthy as I should, although I’m trying to do that.

    As you mentioned, these steps are not hard to follow. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Enrique, Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! Yes, when there is a will to do better there is always a way! Start with one small thing you can do TODAY and that one small step will lead to bigger steps down the road!

      Have a great day!



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