Want to sleep better? Start supplementing with omega-3 or eat more fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, say researchers. It could give you an extra hour's sleep each night.
There's a link between our levels of omega-3 DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)and melatonin, the body's regulator of sleep and wake cycles. Low levels of omega-3 and 6 seem to be associated with low levels of melatonin, say researchers from Oxford University.
To test the theory, they gave a group of schoolchildren, aged from seven to nine years, 600 mg omega-3 supplements every day for 16 weeks, and monitored their sleep patterns. At the outset, 40 per cent of the 362 children chosen had sleep problems, although all of the children were struggling at school.
The children were given omega-3 supplements or a placebo supplement made of corn or soybean.
During the 16 weeks, the children given the omega-3 supplements started to sleep better and had fewer disturbances during the night. By the end, they were on average sleeping an extra 58 minutes a night and experienced seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with the children given the placebo supplement.
(Source: Journal of Sleep Research, 2014; doi:10.1111/jsr.12135)