Prebiotics and sleep health
Getting a good night’s sleep is foundational for overall health and wellness. However, in the last decade we have evolved into a 24-hour society vs a 12-14 hour one - which has impacted our sleep dramatically.
It is estimated that as many as 16 million adults suffer from sleepless nights, and a third (31%) say they have insomnia.(1)
People struggling to sleep is definitely increasing around the world (as is the use of prescription sleep medications) and many are searching for natural alternatives, such as prebiotics.
Can prebiotics help you sleep better?
Coming up in this article:
- Poor sleep - a global epidemic
- Benefits of sleep
- The connection between prebiotics and sleep health
- What are prebiotics?
- Sleep & gut health
- Can sleep be improved by prebiotics?
- When is the best time to take prebiotics for sleep?
- What is the best source for prebiotics?
Poor sleep - a global epidemic
Poor sleep has been documented globally as being on the rise.(2) In the UK, 22% of people struggle to fall asleep every single night, and the demand for insomnia medication prescriptions has skyrocketed. In May 2019, there were 438,399 prescriptions for the sleep medication Zopiclone and by May 2019, monthly prescriptions for Melatonin rose by 148% since June 2014.(3)
And as many as 40% of people experienced insomnia and sleep problems during the Covid-19 pandemic, which will most likely have affected an even further increase in the use of sleep medications.(4)
Lack of sleep affects personal social relationships, school productivity and overall decision-making in addition to an array of health issues. We should never underestimate the power in a good night’s sleep!
Research suggests that your sleep can be affected by gut health, and vice versa due to the connection between your brain and your gut microbiome. Some researchers believe that by changing and improving your gut microbiome that your sleep can be improved.
Benefits of sleep
Although many people associate a good sleep to reduce tiredness and fatigue, achieving a restful night’s sleep can go far beyond waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to meet the day.
A good night’s sleep can also be beneficial for:
- Day-to-day cognitive function
- Improving mood
- Mental health
- Feeling re-energised
- Reducing stress
- Allowing muscles time to recover
- Cardiovascular health(5)
- Improved complexion
Lack of sleep can have an impact on your digestive health and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart problems, gastrointestinal diseases, obesity and even influencing the types of foods you choose to eat.
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” Thomas Dekker
The connection between prebiotics and sleep health
When we are struggling to sleep, it is natural for us to focus on things like our mattress and looking to improve our sleep environment to create a more peaceful and calming area. However, what many people do not know about is that the secret to achieving better sleep health can be related to gut health.
A study was conducted by the University of Colorado to find out if sleep can be improved by prebiotics – which are a special type of dietary fibre that feeds the ‘good’ bacteria inside the gut. (7)
“We found that dietary prebiotics can improve non-REM sleep, as well as REM sleep, after a stressful event”- Robert Thompson, the first author of the study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a special type of fibre that is the unique food scientifically proven to increase healthy microbes, (probiotics) in the gut.
Without prebiotics, probiotics don't have the right food that they love (and need) to not only survive, but thrive and flourish.
Prebiotics are ultimately the cornerstone to gut health - and overall health and well-being.
You can read more about prebiotics here: What is prebiotic fibre?
Sleep & gut health
More and more research is proving that there is a definite relationship between the ‘good’ bacteria that live in our digestive system and our overall health and well-being, including supporting mental health via what is known as the ‘gut-brain axis.’
This gut-brain axis can help support improved sleep health by nourishing the good gut bacteria living in the gut microbiome, which comprises trillions of bacteria.
Researchers found that gut microbiome diversity is associated with human sleep physiology in another study.(8) This study found that the more diverse the gut microbiome is, the more it correlated with better and longer sleep.
In this video, Dr Benjamin Snider discusses how prebiotics can help you sleep better, and even cure insomnia:
Anxiety and depression can be gut-health related
Did you know?
90% of serotonin (the 'happy hormone') is produced in the gut, by consuming prebiotics, you're helping to create a happier and healthier gut microbiome.
Can Poor Sleep Affect Gut Health?
A limited study carried out by the Uppsala University in Sweden compared the effects of gut bacteria and varying levels of sleep in individuals. This study suggested that after just two nights of a reduced amount of sleep, certain strains of bacteria significantly decreased by nearly 50% in participants.(9)
When is the best time to take prebiotics for sleep?
The best time to take prebiotics for sleep is right before bed.
This is because "the gut is pretty inactive at night. If you think about it, you don't usually wake up in the middle of the night to poop," says Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterology and internal medicine physician.
What is the best source of prebiotics for sleep?
Chicory root fibre!
Not only is chicory root fibre the best source of prebiotic fibre, it is also a mild sedative. (Yes, you can still operate heavy machinery when consuming chicory root fibre.)
The number one source that's high in prebiotics is chicory root fibre (inulin). Approximately 68% of chicory root fibre comes from the prebiotic fibre, inulin.
ió fibrewater delivers 100% of your daily intake of prebiotics with soluble chicory root fibre. And 20% of your daily intake of dietary fibre, too!
"Absolutely love this water. I felt instant benefits after just a few days! My energy levels improved and my sleep has been so much better!" Sigi G.
You can read Sigi's full review here.
ió fibrewater proven to increase probiotic bacteria
In a recent study of ió fibrewater by Dr. John Butcher and Dr. Ryan Kean from Glasgow Caledonia University, showed 4 million percent increase the probiotic S. Boulardii and a 25,000 percent increase in the probiotic B. Coagulans within 48 hours compared to regular flavoured water.
You can read the Glasgow Caledonia press release about this exciting study here.
(In fact, this study has been shortlisted for the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Innovation of the Year award 2023. You can read the press release about the award here.)
We all know that a good sleep is necessary – but very few know how important it really is.
Research has found there is a definitive connection between prebiotics and sleeping better.
Ready to try prebiotics to sleep better? Here's a 20% discount code for your next order of ió fibrewater 'SLEEP20' to help get you on the road to better sleep.
(1) As many as 16 million UK adults are suffering from sleepless nights as a third (31%) say they have insomnia, Aviva, https://www.aviva.com/newsroom/news-releases/2017/10/Sleepless-cities-revealed-as-one-in-three-adults-suffer-from-insomnia/
(2) Sleep problems: An emerging epidemic? PubMed, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3397790/
(3) Insomnia statistics UK, Linen Bundle, https://www.linenbundle.com/blogs/news/insomnia-statistics
(4) Can Covid-19 cause insomnia and sleep problems? https://www.sleepfoundation.org/covid-19-and-sleep/covid-insomnia
(5) Sleep plays an important role in heart health, American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/sleep-disorders/sleep-and-heart-health
(6) Why is inflammation worse at night? https://thesleepdoctor.com/2019/01/01/5-things-to-know-about-sleep-and-inflammation/
(7) Better sleep? Prebiotics could help
(8) Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6779243/
(9) Sleep loss tied to changes of the gut microbiota in humans, Uppsala University, https://www.uu.se/en/news/article/?id=7512&typ=artikel
*28 participants drinking one bottle of ió fibrewater daily for 12 days.