CBS NEWS – Researchers are learning more about how our gut health affects so many parts of our body and its processes — even our sleep.
And it’s not just a tummy ache that can keep you up at night — experts say your sleep schedule and gut microbiome have a relationship on a more cellular level that we’re gaining a better understanding of.
“There’s extremely solid evidence now that the gut microbiome… influences all types of brain processes. Sleep, of course, is of the brain, by the brain and for the brain,” explains Dr. Allison Brager, neurobiologist and author of “Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain.”
Serotonin, which regulates mood, emotions and sleep, also plays a role and is highly present in the gut.
“Serotonin does regulate wakefulness and the quality of sleep at night,” Brager says. “The two places where you see the greatest prevalence of serotonin is in the gut, and then also in the brain. And actually, there’s far more serotonin in the gut than there is in the brain.”
The relationship appears to go both ways too, with both the gut impacting sleep and sleep impacting the gut.
For example, a study published in The European Journal of Nutrition last month found irregular sleep patterns are associated with harmful bacteria in your gut.
“We know that major disruptions in sleep, such as shift work, can have a profound impact on your health …