“The Science of Sleep” is a 2006 French fantasy/sci-fi flick that suggests for many folks the line between being awake and sound asleep is pretty fuzzy and an awfully romantic zone to be in.
But in reality, the science of sleep suggests that too little or erratic sleep is risky business. Turns out when you snooze, so do the trillions of bacteria in your gastrointestinal system (well, sort of). And they need their nightly beauty rest so they can do such vital tasks as regulate your sleep-wake cycle and blood glucose, promote healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients, keep your immune system healthy and protect you from weight gain. Disrupting the little critters’ 24-hour circadian rhythm also puts you at risk for metabolic disease such as diabetes and makes you more vulnerable to infections.
According to a new study published in Cell Host & Microbe, a poor diet also disrupts your guts’ 24-hour clock and, consequentially, yours. And that’s how a high saturated-fat diet contributes to problems you may have with sleep.
So if you’re not eating healthfully or getting enough sleep, think of the trillions of resident bacteria you’re harming! You’re supposed to be their conscientious caretaker. Try this: Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. And keep digital devices and TV out of the bedroom.
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For help establishing such good sleep habits and more, check out the Cleveland Clinic’s online info “Lifestyle and Behavioral Treatments for Sleep Disorder,” or sharecare.com’s “Better Sleep in 9 Steps.”
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.