Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(3):593-603. doi:10.7150/ijms.45512 This issue

Research Paper

Sleep disorders related to nutrition and digestive diseases: a neglected clinical condition

Filippo Vernia, Mirko Di Ruscio, Antonio Ciccone, Angelo Viscido, Giuseppe Frieri, Gianpiero Stefanelli, Giovanni Latella

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Life, Health, and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Piazza S. Tommasi, 1- Coppito, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

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Vernia F, Di Ruscio M, Ciccone A, Viscido A, Frieri G, Stefanelli G, Latella G. Sleep disorders related to nutrition and digestive diseases: a neglected clinical condition. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(3):593-603. doi:10.7150/ijms.45512. Available from

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Sleep disturbances often result from inappropriate lifestyles, incorrect dietary habits, and/or digestive diseases. This clinical condition, however, has not been sufficiently explored in this area. Several studies have linked the circadian timing system to the physiology of metabolism control mechanisms, energy balance regulation, and nutrition. Sleep disturbances supposedly trigger digestive disorders or conversely represent specific clinical manifestation of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. Poor sleep may worsen the symptoms of GI disorders, affecting the quality of life. Conversely, short sleep may influence dietary choices, as well as meal timing, and the circadian system drives temporal changes in metabolic patterns. Emerging evidence suggests that patients with inappropriate dietary habits and chronic digestive disorders often sleep less and show lower sleep efficiency, compared with healthy individuals. Sleep disturbances may thus represent a primary symptom of digestive diseases. Further controlled trials are needed to fully understand the relationship between sleep disturbances, dietary habits, and GI disorders. It may be also anticipated that the evaluation of sleep quality may prove useful to drive positive interventions and improve the quality of life in a proportion of patients.

This review summarizes data linking sleep disorders with diet and a series of disease including gastro-esophageal reflux disease, peptic disease, functional gastrointestinal disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, gut microbiota alterations, liver and pancreatic diseases, and obesity. The evidence supporting the complex interplay between sleep dysfunction, nutrition, and digestive diseases is discussed.

Keywords: sleep disorders, circadian rhythm, diet, nutrition, gastrointestinal disease, digestive diseases