probiotics help sleep

Can probiotics help sleep?

Have you ever suffered through a night of poor sleep? Then you’ll know the effect sleep disturbances can have on your day. And chances are you may have taken notice of recent studies on how probiotics help sleep?

Beyond daytime sleepiness, sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of e.g. obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. So the quest for quality sleep is worth pursuing!  

So, what is the relationship between gut health, probiotics and better sleep? And, should you consider probiotic supplements for sleep?

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There is growing interest in the link between sleep and the gut microbiome – the trillions of microbes that live in our gut.

Commonly associated with digestive health, the trillions of microbes in your gut are now thought to affect sleep.

Understanding the relationship between probiotics and sleep can help us find new ways to improve sleep quality and overall well-being. And whilst I personally didn’t suffer with any sleep problems, I wanted to see for myself whether probiotics help sleep.

Before delving into the details of how probiotics help sleep, let’s take a quick look at what they are.

Probiotic foods contain live microbes, often bacteria and yeasts. They are primarily found in fermented foods and supplements. You may have heard them referred to as ‘friendly bacteria’; this is because they help maintain a healthy balance of microbes in the gut.

Probiotics can be found in various forms, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi.

Probiotic supplements are increasingly popular and offer a very convenient way of improving your gut microbiome (more about choosing the right ones, below).

A fascinating area of research is the relationship between sleep and the gut microbiome. Recent studies have suggested that an imbalance in the gut microbiome, known as dysbiosis, may contribute to sleep disturbances and disorders.

Your gut microbiome may influence your sleep through various mechanisms. For example, certain gut bacteria help sleep by producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin.

Understanding the intricate relationship between sleep and the gut microbiome can help us develop good probiotics for sleep.

Your gut microbiome and brain communicate through a complex network of signals, known as the gut-brain axis. This communication system extends to various aspects of health, including sleep.

Growing evidence suggests that alterations in your gut microbiome can influence your sleep patterns and sleep quality.

Probiotics, by influencing the gut microbiome and gut-brain axis, have the potential to improve sleep.

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Melatonin, often referred to as the ‘sleep hormone’, regulates the sleep-wake cycle and helps you fall asleep, and stay asleep. Research suggests that certain probiotic strains may enhance melatonin production, leading to improved sleep quality.

For example, one study found that specific probiotic strains increased melatonin levels in the body and improved sleep in individuals with insomnia.

While the potential connection between probiotics and sleep is promising, it is essential to consider the current state of research to fully understand the implications.

Several studies have investigated the effects of probiotics on sleep quality, with varying results. Some studies have reported improvements in sleep quality, while others have shown no significant effects.

For instance, one trial demonstrated that a specific probiotic strain improved sleep quality and reduced symptoms of insomnia in patients with depression, suggesting the potential use of probiotics for sleep.

If you are considering probiotics for better sleep quality, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Probiotic-rich foods and supplements

You can increase your probiotic intake by consuming foods that naturally contain live cultures, such as yogurt, fermented vegetables, and kefir.

Additionally, probiotic supplements are available, offering a convenient alternative. Personally I’ve not had a major sleep problem, but do regularly wake during the night. What’s more, I wanted to personally try the below renowned brands to see for myself whether probiotics help sleep. And I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Especially as I woke up feeling really rested.

For example, the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum 1714 has been found to improve sleep quality and duration in human studies. You’ll find it in Microbiome Lab’s Zenbiome Sleep.

Holland & Barrett Gut Powered Night Capsules contain 10+ billion live probiotics, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus paracasei. These probiotics are combined with chamomile flower powder, vitamin B6, and magnesium to support better sleep and overall gut health.

Backing up the evidence that probiotics help sleep, the probiotic supplement Bicrome Stress-Care Probiotics contains Lactobacillus reuteri NK33 and Bifidobacterium adolescentis NK98. This probiotic was found to improve sleep, stress and anxiety. At the time of writing, Bicrome by Navipharm is only available in South Korea. I’m intrigued and keeping an eye out for when it arrives in the US and Europe.

It’s important to note that not all probiotics are the same. Different probiotic strains have varying effects on the body. Therefore, it’s essential to choose probiotic supplements or foods that contain specific strains known for their desired health benefits.

In addition, when choosing a probiotic supplement, look for products that contain well-studied strains and have undergone rigorous quality control measures. Ideally, the supplement itself should be studied (not just the ingredients) as manufacturing can make a difference.

Bear in mind the effects of probiotics on sleep can vary, so try to monitor your sleep patterns and evaluate any changes over time.

While probiotics are generally considered safe for most individuals, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Overall, while more research is needed to fully understand how probiotics help sleep, the existing evidence suggests a potential relationship worth exploring.

Take care of your microbiome health with probiotics and prioritize healthy sleep habits to help you get a good night’s restful sleep.

Microbiome Labs is a leading provider of evidence-based probiotics and provide a series of educational resources you might find useful:

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