High levels of omega-3s linked to better sleep
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may improve quality of sleep and reduce risk of sleep disturbances, according to research from the University of Oxford in the U.K.
The study follows up on previous research that found that many of the same behavioral, cognitive and health problems found in children with sleep problems are also linked to both omega-3 deficiencies. The new research involved 43 children, whose parents reported that they experienced clinical sleep problems, including anxiety about sleep, waking up in the middle of the night and resistance to going to sleep. The participants were either given a daily placebo or a daily omega-3 supplement over the course of five days. Wrist sensors were used to collect sleep data, and blood samples were taken to record omega-3 fatty acid levels.
The study’s findings, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, showed that the children who were given a daily omega-3 supplement had about one more hour of sleep per night and fewer sleep disturbances than the placebo group. The findings suggest that omega-3s—whose sources can include either supplements or fatty fish, such as tuna or salmon—may play a key role in sleep regulation.
Due to the small number of participants involved in the study, the results cannot yet be generalized for the greater population. In order to confirm whether children’s sleep can be improved by increasing levels of omega-3s, further studies involving objective sleep measures and a wider range of demographic factors would be needed.