The Gut-Sleep Connection /Part 1

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We spend on average about a third of our lives sleeping.

Sleep is a vital part to our every day, yet it seems to elude a good number of us. And for others, it rarely makes the priority list. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 35% of U.S. adults do not get enough sleep (CDC 2016). Some 50-70 million people suffer from at least one sleep disorder, with 30 million struggling with insomnia (Institute of Medicine 2006). Sleep aids are a multibillion-dollar market (Consumer Reports 2016).

A lack of sleep brings deeper implications as research finds connections to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, depression, and cancer (Cappuccio & Miller 2017; McHill & Wright 2017; Mullington et al. 2009; Vaughn, Rotolo & Roth 2014; Walker 2017).

As sleep scientists continue to explore the questions of why we sleep, what happens when we do, and how it affects our health, results are providing a clearer understanding of the extraordinary ways humans function. One that fascinates is the unraveling of the amazing link between sleep and the gut.

The gut and sleep? There’s much more to it than snacking on too many chips while binge-watching your favorite show.. then tossing and turning all night. Home to thousands of bacteria that make up the microbiome, the gut affects appetite, metabolism, weight management, and whether or not a sound sleep arrives at night. To understand how nutrition, the gut, and sleep interact, take a closer look at the purpose and physiology of sleep. Then discover the intricate web that ties together food and drink, the gut, and the health benefits of sleep.

In the next part of this series, we’ll dive into WHY we need sleep and WHAT regulates it.


References from IDEA Fitness Journal March-April 2020 “The Gut-Sleep Connection” by Teri Mosey, PhD