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Food compound helps break the stress/insomnia circle
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Stress and poor sleep can become a vicious circle, with one feeding the other—but it could be broken by eating foods that have a special stress-reducing compound.

The foods, including rice bran, wheat germ oil, bee wax and sugar cane, contain octacosanol, which can reduce corticosterone levels in blood plasma, a known stress marker.

When stressed mice were fed octacosanol, they started sleeping normally again after their sleep patterns had been disturbed, researchers at the Japanese sleep unit at the University of Tsukuba found.

But ostacosanol doesn't help people sleep if they aren't stressed, the researchers say, and so a good night's sleep must be a by-product of the stress reduction.

Best of all, it's safe to take as it's a natural food, and people can also take it as a dietary supplement—and it's far safer than sleeping pills, which don't reduce stress in any event, the researchers add.


(Source: Scientific Reports, 2017; 7: doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08874-2)

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