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Lack of Sleep May Disrupt Healthy Gut Bacteria

Changes in gut microbiota  and chronic sleep loss have previously been linked with diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. A recent study suggests that not getting enough sleep may change the bacterial gut species that are associated with curtailed human metabolic health.

Participants in the study included nine healthy, normal weight men. All of the men underwent two in-lab situations: two nights of partial sleep deprivation that included four hours of sleep and two nights of normal sleep that included eight hours of sleep. The researchers collected fecal samples 24 hours before and after each intervention. They also conducted an oral glucose intolerance test before and after.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found an increase in the ratio between firmicutes and bacteroidetes bacteria; a higher level of the families coriobacteriaceae and erysipelotrichaceae; and a lower level of Tenericutes after the partial sleep nights, when compared with the full sleep nights. They also noted a 20% lower resistance to insulin after the partial sleep nights.

Researchers from Uppsala University and the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke conducted the study. It was published in the 2016 issue of Molecular Metabolism.

Previous studies have linked not getting enough sleep with faster cognitive decline, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Some methods to try to improve your sleep include eating less high fat foods, eliminating “blue light” (such as the light from your phone) just before bed, and increasing exercise levels.

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