Like many things, sleep is directly connected with your gut, and your gut is directly connected with your sleep.
Much like your internal body clock responds differently depending on the time of day, your gut microbes work in a similar way. However, your microbes have different functions, depending on whether it is day or night.
Going to sleep is almost like a bell going off for changing shifts at a factory. It tells some microbes they’re finished for the day and lets the others know it’s time to start work. A lack of sleep, poor quality sleep or shift work can easily disturb the delicate balance of your microbes. Basically, you’re confusing them as they don’t understand when their shift begins or ends.
Not only can poor sleep impact our microbes, but it can also have an impact on our waistline. Studies have found that a lack of sleep decreases the hormone leptin (which helps us feel full) and increases ghrelin levels (which makes us feel hungry).
Also, another study found that those who sleep better and for longer (aim for 7-9 hours a night) improved their gut microbiome diversity. This suggests that better quality sleep can improve your gut health.
Finally, although the research is in its infancy, some now believe that those with poor gut health may have lower serotonin levels. Serotonin helps us regulate our sleep cycle, and our gut microbiome helps control the levels in our body.
In summary, there needs to be more research into the gut and sleep. However, we are learning that a healthy gut may help you sleep better, and better sleep can help improve your gut microbes.