Image by Tim Gouw

SLEEP & MENTAL HEALTH

"Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together."

–Thomas Dekker

Worry and anxiety seem pervasive in today's world. Studies show there is less laughing and smiling, and 40% of adults feel a significant amount of daily stress[1].

Underlying these negative emotions is too little quality sleep. When sleep deprived, we suffer both mentally and physically. Our mind is unable to get the rest it needs to maintain healthy physiological balance. We may experience increased fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

Balancing Stress

Prolonged stress, which often results from lack of sleep, can be especially harmful. In certain situations, stress is a healthy, natural reaction. It causes the release of specific hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) that create a “fight or flight” reaction. This can be beneficial in short bursts, boosting our focus and even survival. However, chronic stress wears on us mentally, emotionally, and physically.

The clinical studies below show how PS128 can promote more restful sleep, balance stress levels, and restore our mental health.

Effects of PS128 on sleep and mental health 
(2021)

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Study Summary

  • Type: randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded pilot study
  • Location: National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
  • Participants: 40 self-reported insomniacs, average age of 26, female and male
Participants took either PS128 or a placebo after dinner each evening for 30 days. They were evaluated before the trial, again on day 15, and finally on day 30. Sleep quality was objectively measured using mini-polysomnography. Subjective measures included the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), as well as the visual analog scale (VAS) and other indexes to evaluate relaxation, fatigue, and sleep.

Results of taking PS128

  • Improved sleep quality, including sounder deep-stage sleep and increased restorative, healing delta brainwaves
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* P<0.05 vs. the placebo group
  • Lower levels of fatigue, compared with a placebo group
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* P<0.05 vs. the placebo group
  • Benefitted depression and anxiety symptoms
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* P<0.05 vs. the placebo group
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† P<0.01 vs. baseline

Effects of PS128 on stress and insomnia
(2021)

  • Type: open-label, single-arm, baseline-controlled study
  • Location: MacKay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan
  • Participants: 36 highly stressed IT industry professionals, average age of 40, female and male
Each subject took PS128 for eight weeks. Before and after the trial, stress biomarkers were measured from participants' saliva. They also self-assessed the following aspects of their health:
  1. work and life stress
  2. insomnia
  3. anxiety
  4. mood
  5. depression
  6. overall health and life quality
  7. digestive health

Study Summary

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Results of taking PS128

  • Perceived stress dropped >20% from baseline
  • Saliva cortisol levels decreased
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* P<0.05 vs. the placebo group
Cortisol reduction significantly correlated with positive emotions
Cortisol reduction significantly correlated with improved sleep
  • Significant improvements in the following areas:
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job stress
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mood/depression

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sleep
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physical health

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anxiety

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life quality

Risks of chronic stress

Chronic stress can lead to serious problems throughout our whole body. It also increases our risk of anxiety and insomnia.

Stress and Anxiety

One in five adults in the US have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder[2]

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Anxiety is closely related to stress but can persist even when the stressor is gone. It may cause constant uneasiness or dread and damage our health, much like chronic stress.

 

In addition to being a reaction to life events (state anxiety), anxiety is also affected by genetics, brain chemistry, and personality (trait anxiety.) In the PS128 study of IT specialists, both state and trait anxiety were significantly improved.

Stress and Sleep

Prolonged stress can make sleep more difficult, and lack of sleep can aggravate stress levels[3]. This vicious cycle ends up causing insomnia in many individuals. They may find it difficult to fall or stay asleep, or the sleep they do get may be less restive due to altered sleep patterns.

 

The mechanism behind this close relationship may be a network in our body called the HPA axis. It regulates both our sleep cycle and the stress hormone cortisol. When either is out of balance, the other is negatively affected.

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PS128 Is Helping

Anxiety, insomnia, and the other conditions described above are caused in part by an imbalance of certain hormones and neurotransmitters. As a psychobiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 can modulate these molecules, including serotonin and dopamine[4].

After being ingested, PS128 begins to play an active role in our microbiome. It stimulates multiple pathways that are part of our microbiota-gut-brain axis. Through mechanisms not yet fully understood, PS128 can benefit not only chronic stress and insomnia but also physical recovery and disorders like autism and Parkinson's disease.

[1] Source: Gallup

[2] https://adaa.org/

[3] http://sleep.org/

[4] Liu, Y. W., Liu, W. H., Wu, C. C., Juan, Y. C., Wu, Y. C., Tsai, H. P., Wang, S., & Tsai, Y. C. (2016). Psychotropic effects of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 in early life-stressed and naïve adult mice. Brain research, 1631, 1–12.