29 Oct Link between sleep and overall good health
A new study indicates that poor sleep can negatively affect your gut microbiome, which can, in turn, lead to additional health issues.
We all know what it can feel like to be sleep deprived and the impact this can have on our body. In the short term you may feel stressed and suffer psychological issues, or develop much worse health problems long term, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Now researchers from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) are investigating what may be happening in our stomachs, or more specifically to our ‘gut microbiome’, when sleep denies us. A lack of diversity in our gut microbiome has been associated with health issues such as Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune diseases and psychological health, whereas having a healthy diverse microbiome is more likely to lead to better overall health.
So what is a gut microbiome?
It’s all the microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi) and their genetic material found in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. We all have these in our GI tract, but not all at the same levels (diversity.)
It’s this diversity that could be the key. What the researchers found in this study was that those subjects who slept well had a more diverse, or better, gut microbiome.
So what determines someone’s gut microbiome?
- Genetics: some people are predisposed at a genetic level to have a more diverse gut microbiome than their friends and neighbours.
- Drugs: certain medications, including antibiotics, can have an impact on the diversity of your gut microbiome.
- Diet: what you put into your gut will influence the balance and diversity as well.
While there is still more work to be done and to learn in this space, it provides promise that people may eventually be able to manipulate their gut microbiome for a better night’s sleep.
Nova Southeastern University. “New study points to another possible correlation between sleep and overall good health: Your gut microbiome and quality sleep are interconnected.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191028164311.htm>.