Eat kimchi for a better night's sleep

If you aren't sleeping well, be kinder to you gut. Eating prebiotics such as yoghurt, sauerkraut or kimchi before bedtime could help overcome your insomnia.

Compounds in prebiotics help restore both REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep. The foods feed the bugs in our gut that communicate with the brain and influence
the quality of sleep, say researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

They used mass spectometry technology to witness the gut-brain signals known as metabolites - bioactive small molecules that are produced by bacteria as food is broken down -
in a group of laboratory rats.

The rats were fed either a standard diet or a prebiotic-rich diet, which included compounds in foods such as lentils, cabbage, dairy and kimchi, the Japanese dish of fermented vegetables.

The prebiotic-fed rats had a different metabiome, or a metabolite makeup, and had a deeper, and better, sleep patterns. By comparison, the rats fed a standard diet were producing metabolites that could interfere with a good night's sleep.

The researchers warn that a bad sleeper might have to eat an enormous amount of sauerkraut or lentils to see an improvement, and prebiotic supplements could work better, depending on a person's individual profile.

SciRep, 2020; 10: 3848

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