Studies suggest a possible link between insomnia and a lack of diversity in gut bacteria. The scientists say there is plenty in this for them to chew on.

Bad night’s sleep? It’s not uncommon to crave the comfort of a full-fat, sugar-encrusted doughnut. Equally, a large dinner of fried food might leave you tossing and turning in bed and waking drained the next day. But food isn’t necessarily the common denominator here. Increasingly, evidence suggests that the gut microbiome – the bacteria and other micro-organisms in our digestive tract – can influence the quality of our sleep. 

Research into the microbiome and its role in health and behaviour has been a hot topic for several years, with research suggesting links between gut bacteria and various diseases and mental health disorders, including cancer and depression. Now scientists believe that there seems to be a relationship with sleep too.

Dr David Gozal, professor of child health, medical physiology and pharmacology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, is one of those scientists. 

“Sleep is very likely to influence the gut microbiome,” he says. “Conversely, it is very likely that changes in the microbiome will influence sleep.” 


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