Published on October 31, 2019

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

There are plenty of things you can blame for your lack of sleep: that assignment with a looming deadline, that awkward conversation with your friend, or that scary movie you unwisely decided to watch after sunset. But as it turns out, there also might be some biological factors at play. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS One, when your gut health is less than great, you get less than great shuteye—and when you can’t snooze for enough hours, your gut health gets even worse.

It’s basically a potentially vicious cycle—one that researchers studied by looking at the quality and duration of sleep experienced by 26 male participants, and comparing that data with the diversity of their gut microbiome (AKA, what makes it healthy). They found that subjects with more diverse microbiomes had better and longer snoozes. The good news: “[Our findings] may lead to mechanisms to improve sleep through the manipulation of the gut microbiome,” head researcher Robert P. Smith, Ph.D, writes.

There’s an easy first step you can take if you have a sneaking suspicion that your gut health is affecting your slumber: Take a probiotic. It will help to rebalance your microbiome, improve your digestion, and even make your skin look glowy and healthy—in addition to assisting you in getting that much-needed rest. What’s not to love?

See more sleep stories:
The Magical Mineral That Can Improve Your Sleep and Energy
Read This If You Keep Waking Up at Night
You Don’t Need to Log 10,000 Steps Each Day to Sleep Well—This Is Plenty

 

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