Researchers out of Nova Southeastern University have established a connection between the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract and the quality of our shut-eye.
For the study, subjects wore a Tartar (described as an “Apple Watch on steroids”) to bed to monitor how much sleep they got. The next day the researchers tested their microbiome.
They found those who slept well had a more diverse range of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi) than those who slept poorly. Lack of diversity has been associated with a slew of health issues, like Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune conditions, even depression and anxiety.
“Given the strong gut-brain bidirectional communication they likely influence each other,” Jamie Tartar, a professor and research director in NSU’s College of Psychology explains. “Based on previous reports, we think that poor sleep probably exerts a strong negative effect on gut health/microbiome.”
Tartar – who’s work focuses on sleep deprivation and how it impacts out emotion processing and physiological functioning – describes sleep as the “Swiss Army Knife of health.”
“Getting a good night’s sleep can lead to improved health, and a lack of sleep can have detrimental effects,” he said. 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 stages 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.”