You read that right – probiotics may help reduce stress, which can help you sleep better. “Impossible!” you say. “Absurd.” “Hooey.” – All common reactions, but hear me out on this and we may be able to change your mind (and improve your sleep!).
Probiotics and Stress
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has an enormous job to do on a daily basis. Not only does it have to breakdown and absorb nutrients from whatever we put into it, it also provides a substantial amount of immune protection. In fact, over 70% of your immune system function takes place in your GI tract. These two functions alone – digestion of the foods and drinks we consume and immune function – create a tremendous amount of stress on the body. Probiotics can help reduce that stress.
It has been estimated that our diets – not deadlines, lack of sleep, car trouble or even life circumstances – create the largest stress burden for most people. Accumulated stress can lead to numerous detrimental changes in the body, including altering your immune function as well as your sleep-wake cycle. For many people this means poor quality sleep, which only exacerbates the stress and usually leads to (continued) poor food choices. Poor food choices over time lead can lead to a state called “dysbiosis”, which causes all sorts of changes that increases stress on the body. Restoring proper flora balance using probiotics can help reduce stress.
Ways to Improve Gut Flora
There are many ways to improve gut flora and eliminate dysbiosis. One is by consuming a healthy diet containing plenty of fiber. Another is to eat as many fermented food products as possible. A third method, and one that we recommend for almost everyone, is to take a high-potency, strain-verified probiotic – we use one called Ortho Biotic – 1 capsule 1-2 x/day on an empty stomach. This probiotic is great because it has been processed so that it doesn’t require refrigeration and is guaranteed to contain 20 billion CFUs at its expiration date, which helps with compliance while giving you the biggest bang for your buck.
Use Probiotics to Help Reduce Stress and Sleep Better
Improving gut flora – by eating a healthy diet with lots of fiber (i.e., vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds), eating plenty of fermented foods and taking a high quality probiotic – can help ease the stress burden created in and by the GI tract. This will reduce your overall stress level, allowing you to calm down and sleep better.
“Impossible?” – Not in the least bit – take these simple steps and you’ll be sleeping better in no time.