A 2019 study by Nova Southeastern University now shows that there is a correlation between sleep and your gut health.
The study, led by Jaime Tartar, Ph.D. showed a positive correlation between sleep patterns and diversity of your gut microbiome. The microbiome, located in your GI tract, houses microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria, both good and bad. The key to a healthy gut is the diversity and balance of these microorganisms. The NSU study found a negative correlation between participants who had bad sleep and diversity in their microbiome.
Sleep and Digestive Health
“We know that sleep is pretty much the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of health,” Tartar said. “Getting a good night’s sleep can lead to improved health, and a lack of sleep can have detrimental effects. We’ve all seen the reports that show not getting proper sleep can lead to short term (stress, psychosocial issues) and long-term (cardiovascular disease, cancer) health problems. We know that the deepest stage of sleep is when the brain ‘takes out the trash’ since the brain and gut communicate with each other. Quality sleep impacts so many other facets of human health.”
Robert Smith, Ph.D, an associate professor in NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, adds that the diversity in one’s gut can also be impacted by outside factors.
“Some people are predisposed at a genetic level to have a more diverse gut microbiome than their friends and neighbors,” a NSU press release states. “Another factor is drugs – certain medications, including antibiotics, can have an impact on the diversity of your gut microbiome. He (Smith) also said that your diet plays a factor as well.”
Once again science has shown the importance of maintaining a solid sleep schedule. It also emphasises the importance of ensuring you are getting the appropriate amount of sleep. Smith also hopes these findings can help those struggling in the future. This will be through novel ideas that can help improve sleep through manipulation of the gut microbiome.
If you or someone you know is having trouble sleeping visit your doctor to determine appropriate next steps in treatment.
To read more about the findings of the NSU study click here.