Scientists say analyzing Israelis’ droppings has taught them to eliminate our button snooze habit and make us all early risers.
In peer-reviewed research, they’ve identified very different patterns of bacteria in the bowels of early risers and late sleepers, and say this opens the door to solutions that get everyone to their desired sleep pattern.
Scientists in Haifa advertised Israelis to participate in a “shit in the mail” program, which involved them grabbing a stool out of a box and mailing it to their labs.
They waded through their smelly mailbag, examined around 90 samples, and identified different “signatures” in the gut bacteria that determine whether we are larks or owls, finding that both have high levels of the bacteria alistipes or lachnospiraceae, respectively.
Some work to date suggests a link between gut bacteria and sleep tendencies, but this study establishes the clearest correlation, Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, told The Times of Israel. one of the researchers. .
The team behind the study, from the Technion and the University of Haifa and led by Professor Eran Tauber, wrote in a recently published journal article that their findings “may represent the first step towards development of dietetic interventions “.
“This research raises the possibility of changing our sleep patterns by altering the microbiome, using probiotics, special molecules, or changing diets. It could become a way to help larks or owls adjust their bodies to change their sleeping patterns, ”said Geva-Zatorsky.
“It’s largely the owls, who are frustrated at not being able to get up in the morning, that would change their habits and this could potentially help them.”
She acknowledged that it is possible that the differences in the microbiome are a result of sleep patterns and not the other way around, and said this would be verified in the next stage of the research.
The research will also shed more light on the links between diet and the microbiome. At this point, the data suggests a correlation between fatty foods and nighttime tendencies and one between high-fiber diets and early rising. But Geva-Zatorsky cautioned against jumping to the conclusion that changing diets will alter sleep patterns.
She noted that night owls high in lachnospiraceae tend to eat more fatty foods, while early risers with rich alistipes tend to eat less fat and more fiber. But she stressed that it’s not clear if this causes the microbiome patterns and / or the sleep patterns, or if it’s a byproduct of a nightlife lifestyle and / or of the microbiome that goes with it.
An ongoing series of experiments in mice will clarify the correlations and also allow scientists to see exactly how the change in the microbiome affects sleep. “All of this brings the possibility that we can modify the inside of the gut to help people sleep and get up the way they want,” Geva-Zatorsky said.