‘Gut’ nutrient may cure your chronic insomnia

Are you sick of feeling tired, run-down and stressed out after a night of less-than restful sleep? Well, I have a simple solution that may provide long-term relief to your chronic insomnia.

It doesn’t require a script from your doctor for a potentially dangerous or addictive sleep aid or even a supplement shopping spree at your local health food store. In fact, all you need to do is make sure you’re getting enough of a specific nutrient in your diet — prebiotic fiber.

Now, for many years probiotics have stolen the spotlight for their ability to help with everything from constipation to chronic autoimmune diseases… not to mention what they do for your brain.

But when it comes to good health, prebiotics have a lot to offer you too, like relief from lactose intolerance, better gut health and a bit of anti-aging magic.

And, surprisingly, this “gut nutrient” can even give you a more restful night’s sleep and cure your chronic insomnia.

Prebiotics promise better sleep and less stress

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder recently found that prebiotics can improve non-REM sleep and REM sleep after a stressful event…

In their study, researchers fed one group of rats a typical diet and the other group of rats a prebiotic-rich diet. Then they monitored the rats’ body temperature, gut bacteria and sleep-wake cycle, and here’s what they found…

Rats who ate more prebiotics spent more time in non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep. That’s the sleep that rests and restores you, so you want as much of that as you can get. But that’s not all…

Rats who ate more prebiotics and were exposed to a stressful event got more REM sleep than those who didn’t eat prebiotics.

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Now, you know how much stress can screw with your sleep cycle, so this news is very helpful. Not to mention that stress and chronic insomnia can create a vicious cycle — the more stressed you are, the worse you sleep… and the less sleep you get, the more stressed you feel.

In fact, researchers even emphasized that REM sleep is necessary to recover from stress, and that people who get good REM sleep after a seriously stressful event are less likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

So if you’re stressed, you need your REM. And prebiotics can help. They also protect you from the effects of stress in other ways…

Stress can reduce the diversity of bacteria in your gut. And since prebiotics are the food that fuels gut bacteria diversity, they can nip that problem in the bud. Your body temperature typically rises when you’re stressed, and prebiotics seem to prevent that too.

With all these benefits, putting yourself on a prebiotic-rich diet appears to be the simplest solution to both poor sleep and stress — two of the biggest factors in your overall health.

Your prebiotic diet plan

If you start eating more prebiotic-rich foods today, there’s a good chance you’ll be sleeping like a baby in the weeks to come. Even the stress that typically triggers chronic insomnia won’t be able to do you in.

You don’t need to change your diet much to get more prebiotics, just start eating more of the following foods:

  • Asparagus
  • Burdock
  • Chicory
  • Dandelion root and greens
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Banana
  • Garlic
  • Jicama
  • Avocado
  • Apples
  • Almonds
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Wheat germ
  • Whole grain breads
  • Sorghum
  • Oats
  1. “Dietary prebiotics improve sleep, buffer impacts of stress, says study.” MedicalXpress. https://medicalxpress.com. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  2. S. Thompson, et al. “Dietary Prebiotics and Bioactive Milk Fractions Improve NREM Sleep, Enhance REM Sleep Rebound and Attenuate the Stress-Induced Decrease in Diurnal Temperature and Gut Microbial Alpha Diversity.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2017.
  3. “Examples of Prebiotic Foods.” The San Francisco Chronicle. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  4. “List of Prebiotic Foods.” The San Francisco Chronicle. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.