A study reveals that even little variations in sleep patterns between work and relaxation days may result in unfavourable modifications to the microorganisms in our guts.
According to UK researchers, this may be in part due to “social jetlag” sufferers’ slightly worse diets. It is well known that shift work, in particular, severely disrupts sleep, has a detrimental effect on health.A balanced diet and regular bedtimes and wakeup hours may help lower our risk of illness.
Researchers from Kings College London discovered that even a 90-minute variation in the middle of your night’s sleep over the course of a typical week could affect the kinds of bacteria that are present in the human gut. The study involved around 1,000 participants.
It is crucial to have a variety of diverse bacterial species in your digestive system. While some are more effective than others, finding the appropriate combination is essential to preventing a number of disorders.
The author of the study and senior nutrition scientist at the health science firm Zoe, Kate Bermingham, stated that
“[social jetlag] can encourage microbiota species that have adverse associations with your health.”
Social jetlag is characterised by waking up and going to bed at times that are significantly different during the week compared to the weekend.
According to the study, it is believed to impact more than 40% of the population in the UK. It is most prevalent in adolescents and young adults, then decreases as we get older.
Participants in this study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, had their sleep and blood evaluated, stool samples were taken, and they completed a food questionnaire to record everything they consumed.
Social jetlag (16%) increased the likelihood of eating a diet high in potatoes, including crisps and chips, along with sugary drinks, and decreased the likelihood of eating fruit and nuts.
Previous studies shown that those with social jetlag consumed less fibre than those with more regular sleep schedules. In other research, it was discovered that mental weariness, disease, and social jetlag were all related.
Poor sleep affects decisions and makes people seek foods heavy in carbohydrates or sugar, claims Dr. Bermingham.
The quantity of particular bacteria in the gut might then be impacted by a poor diet. Three of the six microbiota species that were observed in greater abundance in the social jetlag group’s stomachs were discovered to be associated with poor diet quality, obesity, elevated levels of inflammation, and an increased risk of stroke.
The research team notes that there is still more to learn about the intricate interaction between sleep, nutrition, and gut flora. Their recommendation is to maintain consistency during the course of a week, if you can.
According to Dr. Sarah Berry of King’s College London, “Maintaining regular sleep patterns, so when we go to bed and when we wake up each day, is an easily adjustable lifestyle behaviour we can all do.” This may have a positive effect on your health via your gut microbiota.
A healthy diet is what?
- Every day, consume five pieces or more of a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Base meals on starchy foods with more fibre, such as potatoes, bread, rice, or pasta
- Choose lower-fat or lower-sugar options whenever possible, and include some dairy or dairy substitutes.
- Eat some fish, eggs, meat, beans, lentils, and other sources of protein.
- Select unsaturated oils and spreads, and consume them sparingly.
- Hydrate yourself well (at least six to eight glasses each day).