The gut biome plays an important role in a much wider range of health issues than previously thought, and showing patients how to clean your gut microbiome can bring numerous benefits
There is well-established research regarding the importance of good intestinal health, particularly when it comes to diet and gut microbiome. Most people think about digestive bacteria only in terms of gastro-intestinal issues, such as bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, as well as fermented foods that are meant to improve the “good” bacteria in the gut, such as yogurt or kombucha.1,2 However, recent research has shown that gut biome may also play an important role in a much wider range of health issues than previously thought, with direction on how to clean your gut microbiome.
Such gut-related issues can include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic inflammation.1,2 Some of the more recent and intriguing research into the gut biome has also examined its potential connection to nervous system and neurological disorders, particularly those affecting sleep. Read further to discover more about how gut biome and diet may also affect sleep, and how to clean your gut microbiome for patients.
Diet, sleep, and the gut
An article published just last year in Scientific Reports used laboratory mice to examine the connection between gut biome, diet, and sleep patterns.3
The researchers theorized that changing the gut biome may affect serotonin levels in the brain, which may then affect sleep patterns. For the study, 25 male mice were divided into two groups, one of which was given water supplemented with four common broad-spectrum antibiotics. The other group was provided with standard drinking water.
How to clean your gut microbiome for better sleep
At the end of four weeks, the mice drinking the antibiotic water had approximately 200 fewer metabolites than the control mice, including 60 of the most common ones. Furthermore, EEG and EMG studies of the animals’ brains showed that the mice given the antibiotic water had more REM and non-REM sleep cycles at night, which is when mice are usually the most active.
Conversely, they also showed less non-REM sleep during the day, which is when they would normally be sleeping.3
The researchers concluded: “We found that microbe depletion eliminated serotonin in the gut, and we know that serotonin levels in the brain can affect sleep/wake cycles. Thus, changing which microbes are in the gut by altering diet has the potential to help those who have trouble sleeping.”
A 2019 study in PLoS One also examined the connection between gut biome and sleep. However, it used human subjects to measure this relationship by using a number of quantifiable measures for sleep physiology.4
All subjects wore a wrist monitor for 30 days that measured average bed time and wake up time, time in bed and total sleep time, how long it took to fall asleep, sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, and number of awakenings. Subjects also underwent a series of cognitive tests to assess brain function and provided saliva for samples of their individual gut biomes.
Similar to the other study with mice, the researchers found that greater biome diversity was positively correlated with greater sleep efficiency and total sleep time, and negatively associated with waking after sleep onset. Furthermore, there were also links between gut microbiome composition, sleep physiology, the immune system, and cognition.4
The impact of diet and pre- and probiotics for patients
Clearly, both studies are in the preliminary stage, and further research is needed with more diverse groups of human subjects.
Nevertheless, these findings appear to show that following a more healthy diet, including both prebiotics and probiotics, could very well improve the gut biome in such a way as to improve sleep, as well as cognitive function for your patients. For patients that suffer sleep difficulty, showing them how to clean your gut microbiome is likely something they have never tried.
- Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: Mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013;5(4):1417-1435. Published 2013 Apr 22.
- Zarrinpar A, Chaix A, Yooseph S, Panda S. Diet and feeding pattern affect the diurnal dynamics of the gut microbiome. Cell Metabolism. 2014;20(6):1006-1017.
- Ogawa Y, Miyoshi C, Obana N, et al. Gut microbiota depletion by chronic antibiotic treatment alters the sleep/wake architecture and sleep EEG power spectra in mice.Scientific Reports. 2020;10(1):19554. Published 2020 Nov 11.
- Smith RP, Easson C, Lyle SM, et al. Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans. PLoS One. 2019;14(10):e0222394. Published 2019 Oct 7.