To most people, sleep is something we look forward to after a long day’s work and that we dread stopping when the alarm clock starts blaring in the morning. We love to sleep. Sleeping doesn’t only provide us with a chance to reignite our energy and brain, it gives our body a chance to repair damage and restore hormone levels.
Did you know that probiotics can help enhance your slumber? Disrupted sleep is unhealthy and there are several remedies available to help us achieve the sleep we need, some full of unwanted chemicals.
A natural solution is always in our best interest and like mattresses for side sleepers, probiotics are there to aid our ability to fall asleep naturally, without the use of drugs.
It’s All In The Rhythm
Circadian rhythms to be exact. Some of us know it as our internal biological clock. This human feature runs on a 24-hour period and our circadian rhythms regulate alertness and feelings of fatigue. This personal clock is driven by outside stimuli as well, like whether it is light or dark outside and when we work or when we play.
External factors also can also confuse this clock, like getting to bed late several nights in a row, or not going to bed at all. The result in continual disruption of sleep will start appearing in your functionality in both your brain and body. Probiotics are helpful in maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm flow.
Probiotic-rich food are mostly fermented foods. Who would have thought that they too, had an awesome role in sleep-wake cycles. Some of these include:
Let’s start with microbiome, this term refers to the vast community of microbes that call your body home. Their numbers run well into the trillions and just like the Earth depends on the harmony of its inhabitants, so do our bodies.
When the microbes we carry around are balanced our bodies function well, when they are out of whack, our physical and mental abilities suffer.
This is the system in our biology that carries communication from our brains to our guts and vice versa. Your microbiome plays a major role in the gut-brain axis, particularly when stress is introduced into our lives.
There is no shortage of information on stress and its effects on our well-being, and we all know from personal experience that life without adequate sleep swells our levels of stress.
Probiotics are essential in balancing the hormones needed for our gut-brain axis to run smoothly.
You may have heard of tryptophan when talking about turkey and how it puts us to sleep. This hormone along with melatonin, serotonin, cortisol, and chemicals like GABA are all involved in regulating our sleep pattern and probiotics are responsible for making sure these hormones are in good supply.
When your gut microbiome is filled with adequate flora, or probiotics, your sleep is much more sound than when your stomach is filled with energy boosting foods that can be high in sugar.
These healthy bacteria spike the level of tryptophan in our blood, which aids in the development of serotonin, which in turn makes melatonin, the key hormone that induces sleep.
GABA is the chemical in the brain that calms us down and strengthens brain receptors and cortisol is the hormone that peaks when we are stressed. Probiotics not only aid in the production of GABA they also lower cortisol levels during stressful moments.
Just as probiotics aid in leveling off hormones and chemicals to aid our sleep, they also help when we are feeling fatigued even though we slept a good eight hours.
The healthy foods we need to function properly throughout the day are assisted in their absorption with probiotics. Also, our good gut bacteria produce B vitamins, which are the very vitamins that produce energy.
The Proof Is In The Science
At the University of Colorado, a recent study on rats showed that animals given a diet rich in probiotics slept more soundly than those that did not. The good bacteria in their systems were increased over a 4-week period and the findings were that probiotics, which produce beneficial bacteria, enhanced the rat’s sleep.
They believe that when we sleep, some of these bacteria in our gut wake up and begin to consume calories and nutrients need for energy.
Don’t Forget Prebiotics
While they sound similar, prebiotics and probiotics are opposite. While the body eradicates probiotics, prebiotics are not destroyed, they are consumed by probiotics. Resistant to heat and bacteria, this dietary fiber serves as food for the good bacteria, which produce the many hormones that help you sleep better.
Probiotic foods like garlic, onions, asparagus, and bananas contain the prebiotics you need to keep your probiotics fed. You can also go for lactic acid bacterium supplement to boost the health of your gut flora. Some of these probiotic supplements and probiotic strains include:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus gg
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bacillus laterosporus
Probiotics and prebiotics may sound the same buy they have a slight difference. While probiotics are live bacteria that promotes a healthy gut microbiota, prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredient that encourages growth of these organisms. It’s important for an individual to focus on prebiotic diet to support probiotic bacteria necessary for optimum gut health, a goodnight REM sleep, and overall health and well-being.
Prebiotic fiber for good digestive health can be found in the following foods:
- Raw garlic
- Acacia gum
- Raw chicory root
- Raw leeks
- Raw gicama
Other Benefits Of Probiotics
Sleep isn’t the only area of our lives that is better off with the addition of probiotics in our human microbiome or gut flora. Along with healthy sleep probiotics will help better our mood, promote weight loss, reduce stress, result in oral health, release bloating, play a role in managing allergies, prevent irritable bowel syndrome and improve digestive issues. Click here to read more about bad bacteria.