It has come to light that disrupted and insufficient sleep, factors thought to exacerbate a number of chronic diseases, may contribute specifically to loss of bone mineral density. In an early study with a small group of men raging in ages from 25 – 65 scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University altered and shortened sleep patterns for three weeks.
All the men showed reduction in P1NP, a marker for bone formation; the reduction was 27% for the younger men and 18% for the older men. More worrying, perhaps, is that none of the men showed a reduction in CTX, a marker for bone breakdown. This means that normal bone breakdown continued apace while bone formation slowed between 18 and 27 percent. This study followed a larger study of sleep disruption and circadian rhythm at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“These data suggest that sleep disruption may be most detrimental to bone metabolism earlier in life, when bone growth and accrual are crucial for long-term skeletal health,” lead Oregon Health and Science study investigator Christine Swanson said. “Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to explore if there are differences in women.”
Following another path, scientists are discovering a necessary relationship among gut microbiome profile, sleep patterns and health.
Scientists are virtually certain of a direct relationship between the human gut’s microbiota profile and human health and they are on a hunt to discover factors that influence the balance of beneficial gut flora – those microorganisms that promote optimal digestion, for instance, and control the feeling of hunger – and those gut bugs that have a deleterious effects. For example there is much evidence that pesticide-free food and prebiotics, a beneficial bug’s favorite foods, support a thriving healthy gut ecosystem while processed food and refined carbohydrates support detrimental bugs that shortcut the complex digestive processes and feed a population explosion among the bugs that can defeat even an indigenous healthy colony.
Now there is evidence that disturbed sleep disrupts the gut too, causing disturbances in mood, stress, pain and hormone balances – and that the an unfavorable gut ecosystem may disrupt circadian rhythm, trigger sleep disturbances and the knock-on effects on health, including but not limited to bone mineral density decline.
The body is a cybernetic system, and the the gut seems to be a control center that may influence even epigenetic changes in our favor.
Prolonged sleep disturbance can lead to lower bone formation
Unlocking the Sleep Gut Connection
More on bone turnover markers including CTX