Yes, gut health affects sleep too
In Japan, researchers from the University of Tsukuba state that the quality of sleep depends on the bacteria that help produce neurotransmitters.
To sleep well, everything happens in the stomach. In Japan, researchers from the University of Tsukuba, led by Professor Masashi Yanagisawa, investigated the power of bacteria in the gut. In a new study, they detailed how they can alter the environment and the contents of the intestines in mice. A role that would also affect behaviors such as sleep.
For this experiment, the researchers administered a potent antibiotic cocktail to a group of mice for four weeks. They then compared their gut content with control mice on the same diet. The research team found significant differences between metabolites from microbiota-depleted mice and others.
"We found more than 200 differences in metabolites between groups of mice. In mice with reduced microbiota about 60 normal metabolites were missing, and the others differed in quantity, some more and some less than in control mice," say the authors of This studio.
The researchers then found that the biological pathways most affected by antibiotic treatment were those involved in the manufacture of neurotransmitters. Additionally, the team found that the mice were deficient in vitamin B6 metabolites, which accelerate the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
The team also analyzed the mices sleep by examining brain activity. They found that the microbiota-deprived mice had more REM and non-REM sleep at night, the time when mice are believed to be active. In contrast, they showed less non-REM sleep during the day when the mice should primarily sleep. Specifically, the microbiota-depleted mice switched between sleep and wake stages more frequently.
For Professor Yanagisawa, the lack of serotonin is to blame for these sleep abnormalities: "We have discovered that microbial depletion eliminates serotonin in the intestine, and we know that serotonin levels in the brain can affect sleep and wake cycles. So changing some microbes in the gut by altering the diet has the potential to help those who have trouble sleeping.