One of the main reasons we make yogurt by culturing Lactobacillus reuteri strains ATCC PTA 6475 and DSM 17938 is to boost bacterial counts into the trillions—it’s not the yogurt we’re after (even though it is the richest, thickest yogurt you’ll ever have); it’s all about cultivating these strains of bacteria. We do this by supplementing the mixture with prebiotic fibers to provide more substrate for bacterial metabolism and by fermenting for an extended period, far longer than required just to yield yogurt.
Obtaining very high bacterial counts in the trillions per quart/liter of organic half-and-half or other medium increases the likelihood that we provoke hypothalamic release of oxytocin, the mediator of many (though not all) of the benefits we obtain such as huge increases in dermal collagen, accelerated healing, increased bone density, increased muscle mass and strength, the anorexigenic effect that can facilitate intermittent fasting, and increased libido. Some people experience increased daytime energy, reduced anxiety, and a feeling of empathy for others, while others have regrown hair.
But there is one effect that we have not explored, as the science is skimpy, but I and selected others have experienced: deep, profound sleep.
This sleep effect took me by surprise, as I did not expect it. I have perennially struggled with sleep after decades of sleeping erratically due to medical training then medical practice, often having to work in the middle of the night and sacrifice sleep. Decades of bad sleeping habits left me with frequent difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings, and early morning arousals. Particularly difficult times necessitated high-dose melatonin and/or tryptophan that helped, though did not completely correct, my bad sleep patterns.
I added the L. reuteri yogurt, 1/2 cup per day, and, within days, noticed that my sleep was profound: I’d fall asleep readily, rarely awaken during the night, and woke up after 8-10 hours of deep sleep. Sleep was filled with vivid, childlike dreams, often right up until I awoke. I have also noticed alpha wave dreams, i.e., dreams that begin in the hazy phase between wakefulness and early sleep, often vivid. Even on nights when I’ve slept a full 9 or 10 hours, I feel like I could sleep more, though I resist this temptation and jump up and start the day.
I’ve had a handful of other people describe something similar, but I don’t know how consistent or why there would be variation.
There is a nocturnal surge in oxytocin that appears to coincide with the REM phase of sleep, though the full implications of this are not understood yet. Does oxytocin influence dream content via its ability to cultivate social bonding? Is this part of the memory- and experience-consolidating effect that deep sleep provides? There is a lot known about oxytocin, but still so much more to know. The interaction of oxytocin and sleep, raised as an issue with our oxytocin-boosting L. reuteri yogurt, is something that needs to be explored.
Have you experienced a change in sleep on the L. reuteri yogurt?