According to a new study, poor sleep quality was linked with composition of the gut microbiome and cognitive flexibility in healthy older adults. Low amounts of bacteria in the phyla Verrucomicrobia and Lentisphaerae, were associated with poor sleep quality as well as performance on specific cognitive tests.
Stool samples were provided by study participants. Data on sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index were also given by participants. Cognitive flexibility was assessed through the completion of tests like the Stroop Color Word Test. Results showed that when participants experienced better sleep both higher proportions of Verrucomicrobia and Lentisphaerae were present and improvements were seen in better cognitive flexibility.
The bidirectional interaction between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract which is called the gut-brain axis has been increasingly gaining attention from both consumers as well as scientists. Research links the microflora found in the digestive system to many markers of health including reduced anxiety levels, depression and overall general mood. Scientific evidence shows partial sleep deprivation may change the gut microbiota. Also seen in scientific literature is dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance, caused by shift work and jet lag which may actually promote glucose intolerance and obesity.
A 2014 survey by Datamonitor Consumer ranked insomnia as the fourth most relevant health issue experienced by Americans by percentage after stress, tiredness and fatigue, and allergies. Middle aged women were the most worried about insomnia.
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