What poor sleep does to your gut

There's a lot you'll notice when you miss out on sleep.

You'll notice yourself yawning... being slower and duller... and maybe even how cranky you are. (If you don't spot that last one, your friends and family sure will!)

But it's what you DON'T notice that matters most, because the real damage of missing sleep is completely invisible.

Poor sleep can weaken the immune system, mess with your mind, and even make it tougher to control blood sugar.

Now, the latest research shows more hidden damage from missed sleep.

When you fall short, changes take place inside your gut. You end up with a less diverse array of the bacteria needed to digest food, absorb nutrients, and even crank out the neurotransmitters that help set your mood.

In a series of experiments, healthy adults were limited to four hours of sleep per night for two nights.

And in that short space of time, there were remarkable changes. Specifically, the ratio of two essential types of bacteria shifted, with an increase in Firmicutes and a decrease in Bacteroidetes.

The study doesn't go any further to show what this means.

But I've spent nearly two decades studying the gut, its bacteria, and our relationship to them -- and I can tell you right now these aren't good changes.

In fact, an increase in the Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio is something that happens to ALL of us, as we get older -- so, in a very real sense, missing out on sleep is actually aging you from the inside.

And that's not all.

When it comes to your gut, balance is key. More balance in your bacteria means better digestion, better nutrition, and better overall health.

When they fall out of whack, you could face a higher risk of insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and inflammation -- including the "systemic" inflammation that leads to heart disease, dementia, and more.

Poor balance can even cause the bacterial diversity to fall apart, which has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome.

So let me give you two tips.

The first one is obvious: Sleep. If you're not getting good sleep, get to the bottom of your sleep problems with a holistic doctor who can figure out what's wrong and treat you naturally.

Don't turn to sleep meds; but if you need a little help in the short term, try melatonin supplements.

And second, take a probiotic supplement to increase the levels of healthy bacteria in your gut and promote good balance and increased diversity. I recommend one with multiple human-tested strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for maximum protection.