The links between gut health and sleep are becoming clearer. Did you know that better sleep improves your gut microbiome?
One in three people in the UK now sleeps for just five-to-six hours per night, significantly less than the standard seven or eight hours that conventional wisdom tells us we need. Sleep research suggests that mental and physical problems become more pronounced if we regularly sleep for less than six hours.
It appears that the amount of sleep you have directly impacts the quantity and quality of the microbes in your gut. In 2016 a study deprived 9 healthy men of sleep for two nights and found that there was a decrease in the types of beneficial bacteria in their gut - and we know diversity is key to health - and changes that are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Sleep is an incredibly powerful, and often overlooked, superpower when it comes to boosting our health. Here are 5 ways not sleeping properly impacts your health
1 It makes you cranky and you grab sugary snacks
Poor sleep quality can lead to crankiness and irritability, affecting our mood and making it difficult to concentrate during the day. This can have a ripple effect on other areas of our life, such as exercise and diet. For instance, if you do not get enough sleep, you might feel too tired to work out, which can ultimately affect your fitness goals. And studies have shown that sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to crave sugary and high-calorie foods, leading to poor dietary choices. Therefore, getting enough sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
2 Your Liver works at night time
Sleep plays a crucial role in the body's restorative processes, including liver function. During sleep, the liver works to detoxify and regenerate itself, helping to remove toxins and waste products from the body. Also, the liver is responsible for metabolising fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, so disruptions to sleep can impair these important processes. We all have bad nights here and there, but chronic sleep deprivation can lead to an accumulation of toxins in the body and an increased risk of liver disease. Seven to nine hours of quality (that's the key!) sleep each night will support your liver and other vital organs.
3 Sleep affects hormone production & leaky gut
Did you know that sleep is key to regulating your hormone production and cycle? If you mess up that cycle through any means (including lack of sleep) it can cause all sorts of problems, like increased stress levels, messed-up hunger management, and more. Plus, if you're deficient in melatonin - the hormone that helps you sleep - it has been shown to be a cause of leaky gut. Leaky gut is a condition where the intestinal lining becomes more permeable, allowing harmful substances such as toxins, bacteria, and undigested food particles to pass through the gut wall and enter the bloodstream. So, make sure you're getting enough shut-eye each night to keep your hormones and gut health in check!
4 You may be more prone to accidents
Getting enough sleep is crucial for safety. Studies by the National Sleep Foundation have shown that sleep-deprived individuals who get less than six hours of sleep per night are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident. Other accidents such as falls and workplace incidents may also occur due to fatigue and essentially lack of concentration caused by sleep deprivation.
5 You may get sick more often
Your immune system weakens when you don't get enough sleep, making it harder to fight off illnesses.
If you're looking for a way to support your body's sleep regulation then you can do this is by supporting the secret workforce of your whole system: your community of microbes, or microbiome. Research suggests that taking a probiotic supplement may improve sleep quality by positively influencing the gut microbiome, which can help reduce inflammation, balance hormones, and enhance the production of sleep-promoting neurotransmitters, ultimately leading to better sleep and overall well-being. This is why we made microbz sleep (previously Bio-Live Sleep). Check it out on the website here.
Want to find out more? We love this video from sleep expert Matthew Walker about the amazing effects that sleep has, plus some surprising scientific developments that he's involved with in the area of sleep study.