India has emerged as the country with a highly sedentary lifestyle among 18 countries including the US, the UK, Japan, Ireland and others. Indians walk an average of 6,533 steps daily, according to a report by Fitbit. According to the report, Hong Kong is the most active.
Indians also get the least amount of nightly sleep on an average after Japan at 7 hours 1 minute, 48 minutes lesser than the average nightly sleep of users in the UK, and 32 minutes lesser than average nightly sleep of Americans, says the report. Ireland emerged as the country with the highest amount of average night sleep at 7 hours and 57 minutes.
While a lot has been said about sleep and its (ill) effects on our health, a new study has indicated that poor sleep is linked to poor gut microbiome which in turn affects the overall health and wellbeing.
Not sleeping properly can have negative effects on your gut microbiome, which can lead to additional health issues, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
For those wondering what gut microbiome is, it’s all the microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi) and their genetic material found in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Gut microbiome diversity is associated with other health issues, such as Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune diseases, as well as psychological health (anxiety and depression), explained co-researcher Jaime Tartar, PhD, a professor and research director in NSU’s College of Psychology.
Thus, more diverse someone’s gut microbiome is, the likelihood is they will have better overall health.
“We know that sleep is pretty much the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of health. Getting a good night’s sleep can lead to improved health, and a lack of sleep can have detrimental effects,” Tartar said.
So what determines someone’s gut microbiome? According to co-researcher Robert Smith, Ph.D., an associate professor and research scientist at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, there are a couple of factors that come into play.
One is genetics – some people are predisposed at a genetic level to have a more diverse gut microbiome than their friends and neighbours.
Another is drugs – certain medications, including antibiotics, can have an impact on the diversity of your gut microbiome. Your diet plays a factor as well.