Conference Coverage

Sleep quality linked to gut microbiome biodiversity



Better sleep quality and less sleepiness, but not sleep duration, are significantly associated with greater species richness and diversity of the gut microbiota, according to results from a population sample of adults.

Dr. Erika W. Hagen, epidemiologist, University of Wisconsin, Madison Doug Brunk/MDedge News

Dr. Erika W. Hagen

“These findings are preliminary and very early in the growth of this field,” lead study author Erika W. Hagen, PhD, said during an interview at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies

According to Dr. Hagen, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, experimental studies in mice have shown that disturbed sleep is associated with gut microbiota composition, and a few small experimental studies in humans have found associations between curtailed sleep and measures of gut microbiota richness and diversity.

In an effort to examine associations of subjectively and objectively assessed sleep metrics with indices of gut microbiome richness and diversity, Dr. Hagen and colleagues assessed 482 individuals who participated in the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin and completed in-home study visits in 2016. They provided fecal samples, participated in a week-long wrist actigraphy protocol to measure sleep, and completed questionnaires about sleep, diet, and other health and sociodemographic factors, and an assessment of physical activity by waist-worn actigraphy.

Metrics of species richness included the Chao1 and the ACE, which estimate the number of species. Metrics of the diversity of the gut microbiome included the Inverse Simpson index and the Shannon index. All metrics were regressed on self-reported sleep duration, extreme daytime sleepiness, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and actigraphy-measured sleep duration and wake after sleep onset (WASO). Next, the researchers estimated associations between each of the sleep and diversity measures separately, adjusting for age and sex and then additionally adjusting for body mass index, moderate-vigorous physical activity, and dietary fat and fiber.


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