Sleep deprivation’s certainly a vicious cycle. You can’t sleep because you’re stressed, then you’re more stressed because you can’t sleep, preventing you from sleeping at all. For many, stress-induced insomnia is no joke. But new research suggests that by consuming some prebiotics (foods that aren’t completely digestible and help gut health), we may be able to catch a little bit more shuteye.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience suggests that prebiotics can release byproducts that improve your brain’s ability to rest.
Building off of previous studies indicating that stress can change gut bacteria and disrupt the sleep rhythm, researchers wanted to see whether ingesting prebiotics might help. Prebiotics are known to bolster the gut’s friendly bacteria, and are found in garlic, onions, leeks, chicory, artichokes, chicory and plenty of other good-for-you foods.
So, scientists fed two groups of rats different diets. The control group got regular rat food, while the other group got rat food supplemented with prebiotics. Scientists were then able to identify an increase in the healthy gut bacteria by snooping through the prebiotic-fed group’s droppings. And surprisingly, brain scans also revealed that those on the prebiotic diet became less stressed and slept longer than those in the control group.
Basically, scientists were able to confirm their hypothesis that the consumption of prebiotics can help to reduce the unpleasant physiological impacts of stress. For rats, at least. Though, as scientists often do, they think it’ll have the same impact on us.
It’s a good thing we love garlic and onions. Now who wants a kiss?