Every night when you fall asleep, your body goes about cleaning house. Sleep’s influence on the body’s ability to maintain proper cleansing and rest cycles is vital for performance - we know how sluggish we feel when we don’t sleep well.
What is also becoming increasingly clear is the relationship between the brain and the gut – the gut-brain axis – and research suggests that a lack of sufficient sleep for even two nights can significantly reduce the populations of gut flora that control appetite and keep us lean.
A 2016 study conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden sought to investigate in nine healthy normal-weight male participants whether restricting sleep to about four hours per night for two consecutive days as compared with conditions of normal sleep (about 8 hours of sleep opportunity) may alter gut bacteria. The sleep-deprived study participants were found to be 20% less receptive to insulin and their gut flora began to mirror the reduced combinations of gut flora which had been previously observed by those who were clinically obese or had established, diagnosed metabolic disorders.
Additionally, lack of sleep has been shown to increase gherlin, the “hunger hormone” that stimulates appetite and can lead to overeating. And gherlin levels are also controlled by - you guessed it – gut bacteria.
Reversing the Damage
It has been shown that supplementing with prebiotics such as Gut Garden’s Resistant Starch Prebiotic Fiber Blend positively improve gut function and the levels of bacteria that control metabolic disorders, weight gain, and gherlin levels.
A 2012 study demonstrated that prebiotic intake increased not only satiety levels, but also the bacterial populations that are associated with leanness, while reducing the types of bacteria that are commonly found in obese and metabolically compromised individuals.
The truth is that there are far too many of us experiencing malaise, weight gain, and all manner of digestive issues for which we are put on pharmaceuticals to cope with daily life. Achieving a quality 8 hours (at least) of sleep every night is just as important as diet, exercise and stress reduction when it comes to achieving optimal health and feeling your best.