The link between sleep and a healthy gut

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As a regular reader of The Daily Health, you know that I believe good health starts in your gut. That’s because more and more research are linking the good bacteria found in your gut to a range of health conditions ranging from diabetes to depression.

So, keeping your gut and digestive track healthy is essential to enjoying optimum health.

Sleep on it

And now it turns out that sugary and processed junk food, taking chronic prescription drugs and antibiotics aren’t the only things that wreak havoc on your gut health.

According to the latest research, published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, lack of sleep (or sleep deprivation) can throw the balance of your gut bacteria totally out of whack.

Now, we already know that consistent sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of developing diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, until now, researchers have not been able to fully understand this link.

But these recent research findings seem to bring us closer to understanding this link, since we also know that obesity and type 2 diabetes have been linked to bacterial changes in the gut, too.

And as you’ll soon see, the balance in your gut flora is extremely delicate.

But first, let’s get a bit more technical.

There are four main types of bacteria that form the basis of the complex colony of bacteria that lines your intestinal walls. Two of these, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes are the most prevalent.

For the study, researchers analysed gut bacteria samples from people who slept for eight hours (the average time considered a good night’s sleep) and then again after they just slept for four hours.

The results showed that after being sleep deprived, participants had a less diverse colony of gut flora, compared to those when they enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

In particular, the balance between Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were thrown out of balance, with Firmicutes being favoured over Bacteroidetes.

And that’s the same type of imbalance that’s been associated with obesity.

Now you may think that you can keep your gut healthy by supplementing with probiotics and eating plenty of probiotic foods like yoghurt, sour pickles, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi… and of course, following a healthy balanced diet is absolutely pivotal when it comes to combatting diabetes and obesity, but still there’s no substitute for consistently getting a good night’s sleep.

Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


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  • It looks more and more to me that the gut and digestive system is the health center of our bodies. It actually makes perfect sense… just wonder why the mainstream doesn’t recognize it.

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