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Probiotics — the Missing Ingredient to Better Sleep (and Skin too!)

When we talk about a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise usually take center stage. But good sleep, which is just as important to optimal health, doesn’t always get the emphasis it deserves. We regularly talk aboutmethods to improve sleep, but did you know that ahealthy probiotic may be one of the keys to success? 

Best known for theirgut health benefits, probiotics are also showing promise to help you fall asleep faster and sleep better. Plus, these beneficial bacteria may help yourskin look more radiant upon waking from your beauty sleep. Let’s learn a little more about why sleep is so important,what probiotics are, how they can help you sleep better, and how your skin will benefit from it all.

How much sleep do we really need?

Better sleep means you wake rested and feeling your best, and your overall health benefits too. When you’re sleeping, your body is recharging from the day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults should have between 7 and 9 hours each night for optimal health, though a growing body of science is suggesting that it is actually thequality of that sleep that matters, not just the  quantity. In other words, getting 6 quality hours of uninterrupted  sleep is much better for the mind and body than 7 hours of disrupted, tossing-and-turning sleep. 

Research shows a lack of sleep could lead to impaired immune function, cognitive function issues, and problems with regulating body temperature. Not to mention that sleep is a much-needed time for your body to repair tissues and blood vessels as well as to regulate hormones, fluids, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. 

Experts suggest that to improve sleep, you should try some of the followingstrategies:

  • Setting a consistent bedtime and waking time to put your body on a routine (even on weekends). This helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, which is the natural wake/sleep cycle in the body.
  • Creating a bedtime routine to help you unwind from the day that includes ending all screen time about an hour before bed, turning down the lights, and limiting noise in your bedroom.
  • Exercising regularly to help your body use up energy so you can sleep better (but not too late in the day).
  • Avoiding alcohol, heavy meals, and smoking which are not only bad for your overall health, they can cause disruptions in sleep.

In addition to these strategies, new and promising research is showing that probiotics can help improve sleep too.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are microorganisms such as bacteria that can provide health benefits to their host. Some bacteria that live in the gut help to digest food, destroy pathogens, and produce nutrients like vitamins. Probiotics are now being recommended to help with many health conditions likedigestive and bowel issues, allergic disorders like eczema, and even the common cold

Probiotics, Skin, and Sleep

When it comes to probiotics and sleep, research shows great promise for these beneficial bacteria to help improve shut-eye. A 2019 study looked at the effects of sleep on mood and cognitive reactivity. Study results show that a 6-week treatment of healthy volunteers with probiotics resulted in reduced depressive symptoms, anger, and fatigue as well as an improvement in sleep quality as compared to the placebo group. 

A 2018 study analysis looked at the effects of probiotics on insomnia, Circadian rhythm, anddepression. This study report shows that sleep loss in humans is linked with gut bacteria dysbiosis and potential metabolic disturbances. Researchers suggest that taking a probiotic could help improve balance in the gut and in turn improve sleep. 

When it comes to skin health, research shows that some probiotics may help with skin conditions likeacne, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. Also, research shows that dysbiosis of the gut microbiome can lead to impaired skin function. Probiotics may help with these skin issues, and have been shown to improve elasticity and hydration of the skin too. 

So when you take a daily probiotic, it can not only help you feel better, but your skin may feel more refreshed too. 

How to fit probiotics in your daily routine

When choosing to adaily probiotic, here are some basic tips you’ll want to follow to ensure you pick a good one. It’s important that it contains at least 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs) with...

  • Numerous strains since diversity in the gut aids in restoring balance
  • A good prebiotic
  • Soil-based strains that won't fail without refrigeration or when they come into contact with stomach acid

The are also probiotic-rich foods, so you can fit some of these fermented foods into your meals and snacks, such as: 

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Refrigerated sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Aged cheeses (in small amounts)

No matter what way you choose to incorporate probiotics into your day, don’t forget to also consume prebiotics. Prebiotics will help feed the beneficial bacteria so they can flourish so you can reap their full health benefits. Examples of prebiotic foods include: 

  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Garlic 
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Non GMO Soybeans
  • Sprouted Whole-wheat foods

If these foods are not a normal part of your daily diet, you can also look for a probiotic supplement that already contains prebiotics that can help the good bacteria thrive in your gut. 

The Bottom Line

Probiotics are not just for digestive issues. Since the balance of gut bacteria affects inflammation all over your body, it’s not surprising to learn that restoring gut balance can help improve other health factors like sleep and skin care. Whether you consume them through a capsule or through probiotic-rich foods, or both, these good bacteria can help you feel better from the inside out. They can help reduce inflammation throughout your body and in turn help you sleep better and improve the way your skin looks and feels. So, consider adding aprobiotic (and prebiotics!) to your healthy lifestyle routine today to start enjoying the benefits of these good bacteria.

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