Probiotic drinks and chocolate bars have become popular diet supplements as advocates tout benefits like detoxification, energy and digestive health. But less is written about prebiotics, which are essentially non-digestible fibers that promote good gut bacteria, according to A new study, though, says that you can eat your way to a good night's sleep as these fibers can help with stress-related sleep problems.

Scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder, gave lab rats prebiotic diets for several weeks before stressing them out by administering shocks to their tails. A control group was used to compare rats that did not consume prebiotics prior to the event. Scientists found that rats fed prebiotics did not experience disruptions to gut microbiota and regained healthier sleep patterns more quickly than those who didn’t receive the special diet.

New study says prebiotics could help reduce stress. Pixabay

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Although the positive results don’t reflect how humans would react, the team behind the research believes it’s a good starting point to start testing on people.

"The stressor the rats received was the equivalent of a single intense acute stressful episode for humans, such as a car accident or the death of a loved one," says Dr. Robert S. Thompson, lead author of the study, MedicalXpress reported. "A next set of studies will be looking exactly at that question — can prebiotics help humans to protect and restore their gut microflora and recover normal sleep patterns after a traumatic event?"

As the authors state in their report, exposure to everyday stresses like work conflicts, exposure to major trauma and not having strong social support can hinder your sleep cycle. If prebiotics someday prove to protect humans from stress, than adding them to your diet may be a proactive method to combat anxiety.

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Foods that are rich in prebiotics include bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat items, according to

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