(AscendHealthy.com) – Longing for a good night’s sleep? When counting sheep isn’t helping, changing your diet might just do the trick. Adding high-fiber foods to your meals just may help you replace insomnia with restful slumber.
How Fiber May Improve Sleep
If you constantly feel sleep-deprived, you’ve probably tried various options. But could simply changing your diet be the answer? University of Colorado researchers have discovered that certain types of fiber, called prebiotics, can help you sleep better and even improve your ability to cope with stress, according to Science Daily.
You might have already known that fiber can help your digestive system. But the study’s details about how it could improve sleep may result in new ways to ease insomnia. Prebiotics can have “powerful effects on our brain and behavior,” according to one of the study’s researchers.
The study showed that people who were on a diet higher in prebiotics enjoyed more restorative and recuperative sleep. As a consequence of the diet, participants exhibited more non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which restores the body. But after periods of stress, they also exhibited more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, during which the body recovers from stress.
“We know that this combination of dietary fibers helps promote stress robustness and good sleep and protects the gut microbiome from disruption,” explained senior author and Integrative Physiology Professor Monika Fleshner, director of the Stress Physiology Laboratory.
How Much Prebiotic Fiber Helps Sleep?
Scientists have shown that prebiotic dietary fiber benefits your body. The researchers now need to determine exactly how much it takes to improve your sleep and whether there are other factors.
For example, you can find cabbage and lentils, as well as prebiotic supplements, in grocery and natural food stores. But Fleshner clarified that researchers must determine the safety and efficacy of a prebiotic solution for all types of individuals.
“These are powerful molecules with real neuroactive effects, and people need to exercise some caution,” she said while offering hope for the future. She explained that the data they collected could allow researchers to develop therapies that increase the molecules that help buffer stress while subtly decreasing the ones that interfere with sleep. “It’s exciting to think about,” Professor Fleshner said.
Fiber Benefits Your Body In Multiple Ways
In addition to helping you get a better night’s sleep, fiber can help your digestive system, improve your immunity and even boost your mood.
Only 5% of the nation meets the daily fiber recommendation. The recommended amount is at least 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men.
Here are some easy ways to enjoy more foods rich in fiber:
- Munch on vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas.
- Replace white rice with brown or wild rice.
- Opt for whole-grain breads and pastas.
- Switch out cereals that are high in sugar with oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts.
- Snack on fruit, nuts, or vegetables with hummus or avocado rather than chips and cookies.
Getting a more peaceful slumber is just another reason to eat more fiber. Ultimately, researchers hope that, with further investigation, they can recommend more specific foods and supplements to help you enjoy a good night’s sleep.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
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