Time to up the probiotics and head to snooze-town. A healthy gut is helpful for digestion and to ease bloating, but is it important for mental health, and for sleep too?
You bet! As mentioned in this academic study, sleep quality improved by 34% in 6 weeks with a daily probiotic.
Another clinical trial found when under stress (which probably pertains to 99% of Aussies right now), 11 weeks of a daily probiotic was able to preserve slow wave sleep (SWS). This is the sleep type you need to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
This study also noted those taking the probiotic fell asleep faster, slept longer, and felt more refreshed upon waking. Yep, you got it girls (and guys), probiotics are a weapon for sleep - and here’s why.
Gut health = sleep supportive nutrient absorption
Magnesium, omega 3s and tryptophan (an amino acid subunit) are three nutrients, amongst many, vital for healthy sleep. While optimal intake is important, so too is your capacity to digest and absorb them.
Physiologically, a healthy gut microbiome is essential for nutrient absorption, particularly that of protein. And when it comes to sleep, this is imperative.
Melatonin is a hormone, which has the building blocks of amino acids. Put simply, without protein intake or protein absorption, we aren’t able to produce melatonin.
To support this notion, research shows a low protein diet can correlate with sleep initiation difficulties, and waking up unrefreshed, an another academic paper found those with a low protein intake were more likely to report evening restlessness.
Gut health = serotonin production = melatonin production
You’ve probably heard that 90% of serotonin, our key happiness hormone, is made in the gut - exactly why gut health is emerging as increasingly important for our mental health (see below).
For our sleep, this is important on a whole other level: serotonin, in darkness, is converted to melatonin, our sleepiness hormone to help you fall and stay asleep.
Gut health = mental health = sleep health
Following on from above, gut health is pivotal in mental health, and so too is mental health pivotal for sleep health:
Anxiety - it’s the self-reported leading cause of sleeplessness
Depression - 97% of those with the condition report sleep disturbances
With this in mind, in improving gut health, we uplift both mental health and sleep collectively.
The research highlights too: another clinical paper highlighted 24 weeks of probiotics shortened time spent in light sleep in favour of deep sleep, reduced anxiety and lowered stress hormone cortisol.
Source: Body and Soul