Research Identifies A Potential Link Between Sleep Quality & Gut Health

mbg Editorial Assistant By Abby Moore
mbg Editorial Assistant
Abby Moore is an Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
Asian woman sleeping and well rested in bed

The gut is connected to pretty much every system in the body. Feeling moody? Constantly constipated? Coming down with a cold? The gut could be contributing to all of it.

Now, research from University of Missouri School of Medicine says the gut may also affect sleep regulation—primarily in cases of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The study, which was published in the journal Experimental Neurology, found altering the gut microbiome can influence and improve sleep patterns in mice. 

How does the gut microbiome affect sleep?

For this study, researchers started with two groups of mice: one group breathed normally, while the other was given what mimicked human OSA. 

After six weeks, researchers introduced a third group of mice and gave them each fecal transplants. Half of the mice received a fecal transplant from the normal breathing group, while the others received a fecal transplant from the apnea group. The sleep patterns of this third group were then monitored for three days.

Those who received microbiota from the apnea group showed signs of increased tiredness, including longer sleep periods and more frequent napping throughout the day. The other group slept normally. 

Advertisement

So, what's next for the research?

Lead researcher David Gozal, M.D., says that this study shows that manipulating the gut microbiome could eventually help prevent and manage sleep apnea issues. 

"For example, if we combine continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) with customized probiotics that change the patient's gut microbiome," he says, "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."

However promising, this preliminary research was conducted on animals, so more research is needed to verify the results in humans. Once that happens, Gozal says "then this is a major movement forward in the way we treat OSA."

Want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach! Enroll today to join our upcoming live office hours.

Advertisement

More On This Topic

Beat Inflammation

Beat Inflammation
More Health

Popular Stories

Advertisement

Latest Articles

Latest Articles
Advertisement

Sites We Love

Your article and new folder have been saved!