What science is learning about gut microbiome and how it affects your health is still relatively new but what we do know is that gut health is related to your immune system and diseases like IBD, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, along with your mental health. It also affects how well you sleep. As we’ve established, the relationship between sleep and gut health is bidirectional.
A 2023 study published in The European Journal of Nutrition found that social jetlag (having different sleeping schedules) was linked with a higher prevalence of disadvantageous gut microbiome. Senior author of the research, Dr. Wendy Hall shared (via EurekAlert), “We know that major disruptions in sleep, such as shift work, can have a profound impact on your health. This is the first study to show that even small differences in sleep timings across the week seem to be linked to differences in gut bacterial species.”
The study looked at the gut microbiome of 934 participants in two groups– one that was thought to have social jetlag because of irregular sleep patterns and one that didn’t. According to researchers, the social jetlag group had more significant concentrations of three microbiome species that are considered unfavorable to health (via Global News). The study also hypothesized that poor diet quality and higher consumption of sugary drinks could be contributing to this change. However, gut microbiome associations are still in their infancy and there could be more factors other than sleep contributing toward this change.