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  • Writer's pictureisaacmathu

How to Poop At the Same Time Each Day: Tips for Regular Bowel Movement




What’s a privilege that most people act as if it isn’t? My answer to this common Twitter/X question is the ability to poop at the same time everyday. 


Having a regular poop routine that runs like clockwork is such an underrated flex, especially if it always happens in the morning before you leave home. You don't have to worry about pooping at work or in a public restroom. 


The good news is that this is a privilege that most people can enjoy through some simple lifestyle changes. Here's a quick guide on how to make your bowel movements regular or, in other words, how to poop when you want


Factors That Affect Bowel Movement 


Before I researched it, I thought pooping is a pretty straightforward process. Once the rectum fills up, your body tells you it’s time to go to the bathroom. But it’s not as simple as that. There’s a whole complex mechanism behind bowel movements. 


Many factors determine when you poop, how often you poop, how regularly you poop and the consistency of your poop. 


The biggest takeaway from my research is that we have lots of control over our bowel movements. With a few changes in your lifestyle you can make your bowel movements regular and easy. 


Here are some of the factors, many of them within our control, that affect bowel movement. 


Diet 


Food takes between 10 and 72 hours to pass through the body, with most of that time spent in the colon. What you eat greatly determines how fast food passes through your digestive system.


Simple carbohydrates like rice and pasta are quickly digested in a matter of hours while proteins like fish and chicken can take days to be fully digested. 


You want a balance between the two extremes. Too fast digestion spikes your sugars and leaves you feeling hungry soon after. Too slow digestion on the other hand can lead to constipation and other issues like hemorrhoids. 


The best way to get this balance is adding lots of fiber to your diet from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other fiber-rich foods. Fiber slows down digestion so that you feel fuller for longer and to even out absorption of glucose into the blood. It also keeps food moving along, to prevent constipation. 


A balanced diet with plenty of fiber will result in regular and comfortably soft bowel movements. 


Hydration


Still on diet, make sure you drink enough water. The main role of the colon is to absorb water from digested food. Sometimes, it can absorb too much water, causing dry and hard stool. 


How much water the colon absorbs partly depends on how much water is available in the body. If you are dehydrated, it will absorb more water to supply to your body. This slows down bowel movement, causes irregular poop times and results in constipation. 


Meal Times


This is an obvious one. When you eat affects when you poop. Constantly changing your meal times leads to irregular bowel movements. You can never predict when the urge to poop will strike. 


The time you eat also matters. As we’ll discuss shortly, bowel movements occur in concert with the circadian rhythm. When you sleep at night, your digestive system also slows down. It’s why, unless you have a digestive disorder, you normally don't wake up to poop at night. 


If you eat a large meal at night, it will move through your digestive tract slower than usual. This can cause bloating, nausea, heartburn and constipation. It also messes up with your pooping schedule. 


Exercise 


How active you are is a major factor in your bowel movements. In one study, researchers found that moderate exercise reduced food transit time through the gut from 51.2 hours to 34 hours. That’s huge! 


Exercise helps stimulate intestinal contractions (partly by improving blood flow), which improves digestion and allows food to move quicker through the gut. Movements like jogging, running and jumping can also literally move food along. 


Circadian Rhythm 


Any disruptions to your circadian rhythm also disrupts your bowel movements. That’s because, like many other processes in the body, your bowel movements are tied to the 24-hour circadian clock in your body. 


Many body processes, including digestion, peak during the day when we are active and slow down when we sleep. That’s why forcing your body to digest a large meal at night is a bad idea. It can lead to constipation and other issues. 


Flying across time zones, sleep deprivation, seasonal changes in day and night length and anything else that throws off your circadian rhythm will also have an impact on bowel movements. 


Stress & Anxiety


Stress tends to slow down movement of food through your gut, causing the colon to absorb too much water and leading to constipation. In fact, there is something like stress constipation. Anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders can also negatively affect bowel movement. 


How to Get Regular Bowel Movements 


If you want to poop at predictable times, here’s what you need to do. 


  • Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber. 

  • Try to eat your meals around the same time each day. Tip: Eating first thing in the morning can trigger a gastrocolic reflex (your body’s way of making space for more food) that makes you feel like pooping. 

  • Have an active lifestyle. Tip: If you’d prefer skipping breakfast, working out first thing in the morning can also trigger a defecation reflex, which makes you feel like pooping. 

  • Stay hydrated to maintain efficient digestion and prevent constipation. 

  • Eat a light and early dinner to ensure you don't interfere with the gut’s circadian rhythm cycle. 

  • Find ways to manage stress, anxiety or depression including therapy, socialization, spending time outdoors, yoga, exercise and more. 


Final Thoughts


Often, a person’s bowel movements are a reliable indication of their general health. Our gut is so closely linked to the rest of the body that anything that affects another part of your body also affects your digestion and bowel movement. 


So if you find yourself with highly irregular poop times, frequent constipation, diarrhea, going too long without pooping and other issues, something is definitely not right somewhere.     


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