Hacking Sleep with Fiber
What’s in your gut? The answer might unlock the key to your long term health! Sometimes the out-of-the-box solution just doesn't cut it. You need custom solutions to address your case. In this lesson, we help you discover how to uncover the makeup of your personal Microbiome.
Thanks for the advances in genomic tests these days you can become a Citizen Scientist without having PhD and millions in the bank. All you need to do is take your sample and send to one of the companies offering sequencing-based clinical microbiome screening tests. They will send you detailed and accurate information about your gut health. It’s like a blood test, but without pain.
To understand the influence of different ingredients on your microbiota, you can make tests before altering your diet, and a couple of weeks after (it’s enough to see the progress). This opens the door to amazing experiments like the one below, that I found in the uBiome blog (first and best company for such types of analyses).
Hacking my sleep with uBiome, by Richard Sprague
About a year ago, I started to notice my sleep becoming less regular. Nothing serious — thankfully, I’ve never had sleep problems — but I was waking up too early, and I didn’t seem to be quite as refreshed. Maybe it’s just a sign of age, I thought, until I read in Martin Blaser’s excellent
book Missing Microbes (p.304) that most (80%) of the sleep- and mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin is made in the gut. Could my gut microbes affect my sleep?
A few internet searches later led me to evidence that B. infantis modulates tryptophan, the stuff in turkey that urban legends have long blamed for that sleepy feeling you get after Thanksgiving dinner. Seemed like a good target to check, and because I’m a long-time uBiome fan —- I supported them on Indiegogo almost two years ago – my first step was to look at my gut biome results to see my levels of bifidobacterium.
As I suspected, I had no B. infantis, and in fact my overall bifido numbers were pretty low as you can see from this item on my uBiome results sample explorer page:
You may already know about pre-biotics, foods that feed bacteria, as opposed to pro-biotics, which are simply pills or foods that already contain a bunch of (presumably) beneficial microbes.
Lately, a number of people have noticed that a particular kind of starch, so-called resistant starch is a prebiotic that acts like a yummy smorgasbord for bifido and other bacteria.
I followed a protocol that uses plain ole Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch (easy to find any nice grocery store): just a couple of tablespoons one hour before bedtime to give the starch time to make it to the upper colon where the bifido live.
Whoah! You wouldn’t believe how wonderfully I slept that night. Over 8 hours of rock-solid, uninterrupted sleep, and more vivid dreams than I’ve had in years. It was amazing!
After a few days of this, I submitted another sample to uBiome for testing:
Holy bloom, Batman! That’s just plain stratospheric: up from 0.847% before the potato starch, to over 5.87% afterward. That eight-times improvement. It clearly explains my much-improved sleep.
While you need uBiome as a lab, you don’t need to have potato starch as the only source of fiber for your experiments. Check more yummy sources of the fiber by this link: Top 250 High Fiber Snacks.