Sleep Disruption

Study: Sleep Disruption Could Have An Affect On Your Gut Health

If you have trouble sleeping or your sleep pattern is disrupted, you may be surprised to learn that the bacterial colonies in your gut are also being disturbed.

Shift work has long been associated with obesity and other metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes.

Dr Amy Reynolds, a post-doctoral researcher at Central Queensland University, said research in the field indicated gut microbiota may hold the key to these poor health outcomes.

Preliminary results from her research suggest that gut microbiota may have their own circadian rhythm, married to the sleep cycle.

“Some of those microbes in the gut actually display their own circadian rhythm, so they peak and decline at specific times of the day,” she said.

“When you consider that shift work is doing things at different times of the normal biological day, the potential for that interaction is something that we’re really wanting to get at.”

What’s going on in the gut?

The majority of the research done on the relationship between sleep and the gut has been performed on mice and rats.

A recent study published in Nature found that when mice do not get enough sleep, or no sleep at all, they experience negative changes to their gut bacteria.

Dr Reynolds said the sleep-deprived mice had an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria, and bacteria found growing outside the gut.

“What that suggested is that when mice don’t get enough sleep that the balance of bacteria in the gut is changed and the richness of bacteria that lives in that gut is changed,” said Dr Reynolds.

“This results in the lining of the gut not being as preserved or intact to protect against ‘bad’ bacteria getting out into the body.”

The mice also tended to eat more and displayed signs of inflammation.

“We’re really seeing in those mice a profound physiological response that is not promoting healthy wellbeing,” she said.

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