Human and rat gut microbiome composition is maintained following sleep restriction

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Feb 21;114(8):E1564-E1571. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620673114. Epub 2017 Feb 8.


Insufficient sleep increasingly characterizes modern society, contributing to a host of serious medical problems. Loss of sleep is associated with metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurological and cognitive impairments. Shifts in gut microbiome composition have also been associated with the same pathologies; therefore, we hypothesized that sleep restriction may perturb the gut microbiome to contribute to a disease state. In this study, we examined the fecal microbiome by using a cross-species approach in both rat and human studies of sleep restriction. We used DNA from hypervariable regions (V1-V2) of 16S bacteria rRNA to define operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of the microbiome. Although the OTU richness of the microbiome is decreased by sleep restriction in rats, major microbial populations are not altered. Only a single OTU, TM7-3a, was found to increase with sleep restriction of rats. In the human microbiome, we find no overt changes in the richness or composition induced by sleep restriction. Together, these results suggest that the microbiome is largely resistant to changes during sleep restriction.

Keywords: cognition; gut; microbiome; sleep deprivation; sleep restriction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Dysbiosis / physiopathology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / microbiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sleep Deprivation / microbiology
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S