Sleep And The Gut Microbiome

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Sleep-and-the-Gut-MicrobiomeWe all know that lack of #sleep can leave us with feelings of lethargy and in a bad mood, but if this becomes prolonged it can be to the detriment of our overall physical health.  Continuous lack of sleep can put you at risk of serious illness including #obesity, #heart disease and #diabetes, all impacting upon life expectancy. New research from the University of Missouri has now shown that lack of sleep is also altering our #gut #microbiome and may be promoting the aforementioned morbidities.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (#OSA) is a chronic sleep condition which is thought to affect more than a billion people worldwide. The researchers found that in a study of mice they could see that when OSA-related sleep disturbances were present an effect on the gut could also be shown.  When this effected gut bacterium was transplanted to other mice, sleep disturbances were then reported. The mice in the study had been exposed to either room air or intermittent hypoxia, which was designed to mimic OSA, for six weeks. After this time a third set of mice were given a faecal transplant from either the room air mice or the intermittent hypoxia group. After three days of sleep recordings it was found that those recipients of the intermittent hypoxia group were sleeping longer and more often during their usual wakeful time, indicating tiredness had increased.


The lead author of the study, David Gozal, MD, concluded that the study clearly showed the major role the gut plays in sleep regulation. The research offers hope for future treatments that could target the gut microbiome in humans suffering with OSA. Gozal goes on to explain,

“For example, if we combine continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) with customized probiotics that change the patient’s gut microbiome, we might be able to eliminate some of the tiredness and fatigue and reduce the likelihood of the comorbidities associated with OSA that affect cognition, memory, cardiovascular disease or metabolic dysfunction. If we can do any one of those things, then this is a major movement forward in the way we treat OSA.”


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