Chronic sleeplessness wrecks your gut bacteria

There’s nothing more frustrating than lying in bed… exhausted… yet wide awake.

It’s a vicious cycle – because, as the minutes tick by, you get more and more desperate to get some shuteye. And the more desperate you become, the less likely you are to fall asleep.

If you don’t get enough sleep at night, it can really ruin the next day.

But even worse, it wrecks your immune system – which makes you more susceptible to catching a cold or flu.

But according to the latest research, something else you can’t see or feel is going on when you’re deprived of sleep – and just sleeping through the night might be the trick that your diet has been missing.

We’ve known for a while that long-term sleep deprivation is somehow associated with diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes, but we haven’t understood exactly how or why.

A study published in a recent issue of the journal Molecular Metabolism found that lack of sleep can throw off your balance of gut bacteria – which makes sense, since we also know that obesity and type 2 diabetes have been linked to bacterial changes in the gut, too.

In this study, European scientists analyzed gut bacteria samples from people who slept for eight hours and then again after sleeping just four hours.

The people who lost sleep had a less diverse group of gut bacteria – and, as you know, the more diverse your gut flora is, the healthier you are.

Now, there are four main types of bacteria that make up the complex colony of bacteria that lines your intestinal walls, but Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes are the most prevalent.

Interestingly, the levels of these two types of bacteria in the sleep-deprived subjects were thrown out of balance, favoring Firmicutes over Bacteroidetes.

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

Sure, you can nurture your microbiome by taking a probiotic and eating plenty of probiotic foods like yogurt, sour pickles, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi (Korean spicy pickled cabbage). You can even drink kombucha.

And yes, the food you eat does matter when it comes to both obesity and type 2 diabetes. (I recommend the Paleo Diet as a no-brainer for both.)

But there’s no substitute for consistently getting a good night’s sleep.

Besides, as I’ve shared with you before, even if not sleeping enough doesn’t necessarily make you obese, it certainly can contribute to weight gain. It tends to lead to some poor food choices, and it can make you too tired to exercise!

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing

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Sleep loss tied to changes of the gut microbiota in humans,

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