It’s becoming common knowledge that omega-3s are good for us. Numerous studies have been released analyzing the positive health benefits they can provide, and these benefits range from lowering blood pressure to reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Many adults fill their diets with fish oil supplements, fresh fish, and omega-3 eggs to reap their benefits. However, a 2013 study has demonstrated that omega-3s can have a very positive effect on kids as well. Specifically, omega-3s may be able to help kids sleep better.
A study from the Oxford University DOLAB was presented at the Food and Behavior Research symposium in London and found that “consumption of omega-3 from food or supplements could help to improve sleep quality in children,” reports Nutra Ingredients.
Professor Paul Montgomery from the University of Oxford spoke about the data, revealing the link between omega-3 consumption and the sleep habits of kids. He explained that the findings revealed "decreased sleep quality and an increased risk of sleep disorders was well correlated with blood levels of the omega-3 long chain fatty acid DHA." He noted that the kids in the study were showing clinical signs of sleep disorders.
He added, "Further findings from the smaller-scale RCT data found that supplementation with the DHA increased measures of sleep quality from baseline significantly." He also confirmed, "There were slight, but non-significant, changes in sleep patterns for the placebo group in the randomised trial." Regarding this, he stated, "We have got far less waking during the night. We've got more sleeping, and more efficient sleeping as the ratio of time in bed to time asleep is significantly improved."
With regards to the specifics of the study, "the team used validated parental surveys of sleep quality perception, and analysed these scores against blood measures of omega-3." Subsequently, the team "used a 15% sub-sample of these children in a more detailed randomised trial to assess whether supplementation with DHA helped to improve measures of sleep."
The kids involved in the study were then "asked to wear actigraphs – wrist watch style sensors that measure sleep – for around five days at the baseline of the trial and again after supplementation with either the omega-3 or placebo." Montgomery concluded, "Supplementation with DHA helped to improve measures of sleep."
Read more about why kids need omega-3s
Ultimately, kids were sleeping a lot more after the omega-3 supplementation. While he admitted the sample was small, Montgomery stated that, "the action is clear," and that he was "struck by the size and scale" of the findings.
Image: Premnath Thirumalaisamy