A news report from The Huffington Post examines the emerging research on the relationship between sleep, the microbiome, and gut health.
The human microbiota is a complicated, dynamic ecosystem within the human body. The microbiome appears to interact in some important ways with another fundamental aspect of living: sleep. As with much about the microbiome, there is a tremendous amount we don’t know. That said, there are some fascinating possible connections and shared influences between the microbial world of the gut and sleep.
Scientists investigating the relationship between sleep and the microbiome are finding that this microbial ecosystem may affect sleep and sleep-related physiological functions in a number of different ways: shifting circadian rhythms, altering the body’s sleep-wake cycle, affecting hormones that regulate sleep and wakefulness. Sleep, in turn, may affect the health and diversity of the human microbiome.
The microbial life within our bodies is in perpetual flux, with microbes constantly being generated and dying. Some of this decay and renewal naturally occurs during sleep. There’s no answer yet, but the question is very important: what role does sleep itself play in maintaining the health of the microbial world that lives inside us, and appears to contribute so significantly to our health?