Recent study provides further evidence of link between sleep, stress, and the gut

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The study found that FrieslandCampina’s Biotis SleepWell ingredient reduced cortisol levels and modulated the microbiome in favor of bacteria associated with better sleep and less stress.

A new study1 from FrieslandCampina Ingredients (Amersfoort, The Netherlands), conducted in close collaboration with contract research organization, showed that FrieslandCampina’s Biotis SleepWell ingredient may support stress and sleep. Biotis SleepWell is a whey protein galacto-oligosaccharides-based supplement enriched with tryptophan, a tryptic casein hydrolysate, magnesium, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin D3. In the double-blind, randomized, cross-over study 70 adults between 30 and 50 years of age suffering moderate sleep disturbances received a daily dose of Biotis SleepWell or placebo one hour before bed for three weeks.

Subjects completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire at day 0, 7, 14, and 21 to measure sleep quality and cortisol levels were measured through morning saliva samples at days 0 and 21 of each intervention period. Microbiota was determined through fecal samples at the beginning and end of the first intervention period. Results showed that subjects taking Biotis SleepWell saw reduced morning cortisol levels, and higher relative abundance of Bifidobacterium production, which is bacteria associated with improvements in stress and sleep quality. There were no significant changes in sleep quality in the first intervention period, but in the second intervention period, subjects taking Biotis SleepWell did have lower PSQI scores at day 14.

“We’re very excited that this study has provided further evidence of the link between the gut microbiome and mental wellbeing, as well as how psychobiotics like Biotis SleepWell could reduce feelings of stress and improve sleep quality,” said Anne Peter Lindeboom, managing director, innovation, at FrieslandCampina Ingredients, in a press release. “These findings are crucial, not only for further exploration of the gut-brain axis, but also to help food, drink and supplement manufacturers produce clinically-proven solutions that respond to consumer desire to improve overall health and wellbeing.”

“Nutrition and health go hand in hand – consumers are increasingly turning to natural products with substantiated health benefits to improve their quality of life,” added Gisella Frijlink, Nizo CEO. “We believe partnership and a multidisciplinary approach are essential elements to deliver on this expectation and solve the health problems faced by today’s consumers.”


  1. Schaafsma A et al. “The effect of a whey-protein and galacto-oligosaccharides based product on parameters of sleep quality, stress, and gut microbiota in apparently healthy adults with moderate sleep disturbances: a randomized controlled cross-over study.” Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 7 (2021): 2204