3 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Poop, According To Gut Health Experts
If you ask integrative gut health expert Vincent Pedre, M.D., a healthy person poops on average one to three times per day. Look: If pooping three times a day sounds unimaginable to you, you're not alone. But if pooping at least once every day also feels out of the question, you might be a little backed up.
Simple things like changes in routine, certain foods, and even stress can disrupt regular bowel movements, but with the right attention, it's pretty simple to get things back on track. Here are gut health experts' top three tips to get your digestion going:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule.
Going to sleep at the same time every night can help maintain regularity.
"Changes in sleep patterns can affect our circadian rhythm, which controls both our sleep/wake cycles and our digestion," dietitian and nutrition expert Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., tells mbg.
"This may be why most people have their bowel movements in the morning. Any change to your sleep cycle can cause changes in colonic motility, leading to delays in bowel movements," she says.
2. Take a probiotic supplement.
Board-certified physician Taz Bhatia, M.D., recommends taking a probiotic supplement to "help regulate your digestion and build a healthier gut microbiome."* Studies have shown that these beneficial bacteria help to increase the speed in which poop travels through the intestines (i.e., gut transit time).* In order to make probiotics a regular part of your routine, Bhatia suggests taking "a high-quality probiotic each morning with [a] breakfast smoothie."
3. Try intermittent fasting.
"Since we're trying to give [the gut] a rest from all the digesting it's been doing, the first thing you should do is try to fast for at least 16 hours," she tells mbg, "which means you leave 16 hours between your last meal of the day and breakfast."
For example, eating the last meal of the day at 8 p.m. and the first meal of the day at 12 p.m. the next day would equate to a 16-hour fast. This also leaves room in the morning for proper hydration, which can help support digestion.
Maintaining a sleep routine, taking a probiotic supplement, and intermittent fasting are a few expert-backed ways to promote regularity on a daily basis.* If those don't seem to work and you need to get back on track, check out this comprehensive guide to speeding up digestion.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.