The Curious Bidirectional Link Between Gut Health and Sleep

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Mounting research suggests your gut microbiome helps regulate not only your mood but also your sleep cycle through what’s known as the gut-brain axis — a bidirectional communication “highway” that links your central and enteric nervous systems
  • Your gut microbiota affect brain function through the immunoregulatory pathway, the neuroendocrine pathway and the vagus nerve pathway, all three of which have this bidirectional flow
  • Research shows the microbiota in your gut are under circadian control, which means disruptions in sleep can affect the composition and health of your microbiome, which can have significant impact on your overall health
  • The microbes in your gut can also affect the actual quality of your sleep. Total microbiome diversity is positively correlated with increased sleep efficiency and total sleep time
  • Recent research shows the composition of your gut microbiome, the quality and quantity of your sleep, your immune function and cognition are all connected

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