The Gut Microbiome and Sleep

November 29, 2020
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

There is still much we don’t know about the gut microbiome, but what we do know is that when your teeth and gums are healthy, your gut microbiome may be healthier, too. That’s because the bacteria in our mouth that gets swallowed can cause the gut microbiome to be ‘off,’ but healthy teeth and gums eliminate much of this bacteria, allowing the healthy bacteria in our gut to flourish.

But now, a new study has revealed that the gut microbiome may affect how we sleep, too. According to a recent study by MU School of Medicine and MU Health Care, our sleep patterns affect the microbiome, which is comprised of an estimated 100 trillion bacteria that live in the gut and gastrointestinal tract, with the majority in the colon.

In the study, researchers altered the gut microbiome of mice and were able to alter the sleep patterns of those mice, just by modifying the gut bacteria.

According to the authors of the study, this proves that sleep apnea and the gut microbiome may be linked closer than we thought. In fact, according to the study, approximately one-third of patients with sleep disorders also suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as GERD.

So how can a patient with sleep apnea use this information to their benefit? What do these findings really mean?

According to the researchers, it means that eating a healthier diet could be the key to helping ease some of the issues in the gut microbiome. This includes reducing or eliminating GERD and other gastrointestinal problems.

Eating a diet rich in fiber, including foods with probiotics, could help with sleep. Researchers also say getting regular exercise could also help. These lifestyle changes can also help sleep apnea patients lose weight, which has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Another way to reduce sleep apnea symptoms is with a custom sleep device from Dr. Mingus. These orthotics are custom made to fit your individual mouth and fit comfortably in your mouth to position the airway open and allow you to breathe and sleep more soundly.

To learn more about sleep orthotics, schedule a consultation with Dr. Mingus today.