In a new study from the University of Haifa, researchers found specific gut bacterial groups that differ between the early risers and late sleepers.
Many of us can be easily classified as morning or evening people.
Morning-type people tend to get up early and are generally more alert in the morning—for this reason, they are called “larks.”
Evening “owls” on the other hand, tend to be more alert in the evening, they are able to sleep late in the morning, and they prefer activities later in the day.
This diurnal preference has a major impact on our sleep pattern, physiology, health and psychology.
In the study, the team found that certain gut bacteria differ between morning and evening people.
Fecal samples were collected from 91 people in order to extract and sequence the bacterial DNA. Analysis of the DNA sequences from each sample allowed identification of all gut bacterial species and quantifying their abundance.
The chronotype of the participants was determined based on their self-reported sleep times during the weekend (waking up without an alarm clock).
Comparison of the gut bacteria in larks vs. owls revealed two major bacterial groups whose abundance differed between the chronotypes.
The researchers also compared the diet of the different chronotype groups and found that high fiber foods (fruits, vegetables) and drinking water were prominent in diets of larks, while simple sugar and high protein (and sugary drinks) were linked to owls.
This difference may underlie the distinction in the gut bacterial communities.
The team says many owls that need to start work or school at early morning times suffer from various health issues such as obesity, higher cardiovascular risk, and high-stress levels.
The current study provides the first step towards the development of specific diets that will alter the gut bacterial community and ameliorate the negative health and functional correlates of late chronotypes.
If you care about sleep health, please read studies about sleep too little or too much linked to this deadly lung disease and findings of exercising more may help prevent this common sleep disease.
The study is published in The FASEB Journal. One author of the study is Prof. Tamar Shochat.
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