Probiotics for Sleep: The Key to Restful Nights and Rejuvenated Mornings
Have you been struggling with getting a good night's rest? Feeling sluggish in the morning even after eight hours of shut-eye? If so, you're not alone: up to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep-related issues.
Current research shows a connection between the gut microbiome and sleep patterns, and evidence suggests that improving your gut's healthy bacteria can lead to more restful sleep. Read on to discover how probiotics for sleep can help lower your stress, activate opiate receptors for better quality sleep, and help you get more rest.
What Is Gut Health?
Gut health refers to the physical state and physiologic function of the parts that make up the gastrointestinal tract. Anxiety, fear, excitement, and nerves of all kinds can affect digestion. And, if the digestive system is not working optimally, it may create the nervous feelings you're experiencing. Research suggests taking probiotics can help strengthen gut health, and therefore improve immunity and reduce stress and anxiety.
The Second Brain
Your enteric nervous system is known as the "second brain." The microbiome produces molecules that communicate with both brains and interacts with the nerve cells of the enteric nervous system.
The enteric nervous system communicates with your brain by triggering emotions and anxiety, and changing your mood. This is the feeling of a 'gut instinct.' When your flight-or-fight response is triggered, the central nervous system communicates with the enteric nervous system to slow down or stop digestion.
Anxiety, fear, excitement, and nerves of all kinds can affect digestion. And, if the digestive system is not working optimally, it may create the nervous feelings you're experiencing. Research suggests taking probiotics can help strengthen gut health, and therefore improve immunity and reduce stress and anxiety.
The Importance of Sleep
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, healthy sleep patterns are essential for overall good health. The average adult ideally gets a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night, with eight to nine hours being optimum. Without enough sleep you can experience:
Sleep deprivation is known to cause hallucinations and trouble communicating, and can shut down the immune system.
The Microbiome's Role in Sleep
Current research shows that the microbiome may change with the body's circadian rhythm, your internal clock that signals when it's time to wake up and fall asleep. It follows the rising and setting of the sun. This rhythm also influences the body's hunger cues. Research from the Weizmann Institute points to the gut microbiome altering the body's overall circadian rhythm.
If your gut is not at optimum health, there may be an effect on your body's sleep cycle, and vice versa: working against natural sleep rhythms might affect your gut health. The link between gut health and sleep rhythm is important because so many sleep disorders result in insomnia, sleep apnea, and lack of rapid eye movement (REM) cycle, a stage of sleep associated with dreaming and memory consolidation.
The microbiome affects sleep through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, part of the parasympathetic nervous system, works with the immune, digestive, and emotional systems. If the relationship between gut health and sleep health is clear, it's beneficial to explore strengthening the microbiome with any probiotics that can help you sleep. Read our in-depth post here to learn more about how gut health impacts sleep.
Can Probiotics Help You Sleep Better?
Because your microbiome influences your sleep cycle, ensuring a healthy diversity of bacteria is important to support the gut-brain connection and healthy serotonin levels. The right probiotics can help with sleep but not all probiotics are the same.
Serotonin is essential for experiencing signals from our brain that you’re ready for sleep. This signaling could result in a more relaxed and good control of the sleep cycle or it could adversely affect it.
Without creating enough serotonin, the body will struggle to experience a night of sound sleep. Increasing the healthy diversity of your microbiome may help produce more serotonin, as 90 percent of serotonin is produced in the digestive tract.
Stress is also a well-known factor in influencing quality of sleep. High levels of stress affect mood, anxiety, and irritability. Stress and lack of sleep are linked with depression and other mood disorders.
A stressful mental state affects your gut health by altering the healthy bacteria. Current studies show that adding fiber-rich foods like berries and avocados, and prebiotics and probiotics to your diet increases better sleep.
Best Probiotics for Sleep
The best probiotics that help you sleep are ones that are targeted to boost the resilience of the microbiome. Diverse gut health leads to a strong immune response. By keeping your body's systems strong, you'll manage stress easier and sleep better.
Research shows a robust immune system leads to a lowered stress response.
Adding a probiotic to your daily routine that strengthens the digestive system and reduces inflammation may lead to increased energy. Keeping energy levels optimized during daytime hours will prevent those feelings of sluggishness and fatigue.
Our Simple Slumber probiotic was designed to help the body produce metabolites that promote sleep and relaxation, reduce inflammation and decrease the pathogen load. Together, these six bacteria form a stable, sustainable bacterial community, and help restore a healthy gut microbiome and more importantly, promote healthy and sound sleep.
Here are the unique strains that differentiate Simple Slumber:
Bacillus subtilis (DE111 ® ): shown to promote a healthy microbiome for enhanced Immune function, as well as disease control through the production of bacteriocins. It also helps maintain healthy levels of antioxidants and metabolites that promote sleep.
Bifidobacterium longum: shown to improve sleep and mood quality in humans, especially during periods of stress. This is accomplished by the production of metabolites that restore gut health, reduce oxidative stress, and stimulate the sleep centers of the brain for restful sleep.
Lactobacillus plantarum (TBC0036™): shown through genetic analysis that this organism produces metabolites that have been shown to promote a good sleep quality by expanding the blood vessels, thus, increasing blood flow and the flux of sleep-inducing hormones as well as the production of melatonin. It also metabolizes fiber and other carbohydrates to produce anti-inflammatory substances.
Lactobacillus acidophilus (DDS ® 1): helps reduce sleep-perturbation markers of stress and inflammation, thus, reducing circadian disruption and promoting sleep. As a member of the formulation, it persists in the gut and promotes long term stabilization of the sleep cycle.
Lactobacillus casei: improves sleep under psychological stress, primarily by reducing anxiety and helping to stabilize a healthy gut microbiome. Synergistically with other bacteria in this formulation, it helps in the production of serotonin, melatonin and antioxidants.
Leuconostoc mesenteroides (TBC0037™): the principal converter of sugars into mannitol and produces anti-inflammatory substances, protects the lining of the gut and makes vitamin B12. B12 keeps nerves and blood cells healthy and helps with normal, healthy sleep. This strain of Leuconostoc mesenteroides produces melatonin, a key metabolite controlling the sleep cycle as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that counteract the adverse effects of stress.
You Deserve a Restful Sleep
While many factors contribute to a sound night's sleep, adding probiotics for sleep to your routine may help you achieve deep rest. The best probiotic for optimizing your circadian rhythm is one that increases melatonin and serotonin production, supports your immune system, and benefits your overall health.
If you’re looking for a probiotic to support sound sleep, be sure to check out our new Simple Slumber formula. It will only be available for a limited time!
Martha Carlin, is a Citizen Scientist, systems thinker, wife of Parkinson’s warrior, John Carlin, and founder of The BioCollective, a microbiome company expanding the reach of science. Since John’s diagnosis in 2002, Martha began learning the science of agriculture, nutrition, environment, infectious disease, Parkinson’s pathology and much more. In 2014, when the first research was published showing a connection between the gut bacteria and the two phenotypes of Parkinson’s, Martha quit her former career as a business turnaround expert and founded The BioCollective to accelerate the discovery of the impact of gut health on all human health, including Parkinson’s. Martha was a speaker at the White House 2016 Microbiome Initiative launch, challenging the scientific community to “think in a broader context”. Her systems thinking background and experience has led to collaborations across the scientific spectrum from neuroscience to engineering to infectious disease. She is a respected out of the box problem solver in the microbiome field and brings a unique perspective to helping others understand the connections from the soil to the food to our guts and our brains.