Omega-3 fatty acids keep racking up the health points. With benefits like lowered risks of certain cancers, and being heart- and brain-healthy, there are already many reasons to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This time a study from the University of Oxford is showing a connection between omega-3 fatty acids and sleep in children.

The first phase of the study involved 43 children who were shown to be suffering from poor sleep. Three groups were formed, one given an omega-3 supplement, the other two given a corn or soybean placebo. On average, the children receiving the omega-3 supplement got 58 minutes more sleep, and had seven fewer waking episodes per night.

As a parent, I have to say that an hour more sleep, and seven fewer times of a child waking up are very significant!

The second phase of the study looked at 362 healthy U.K. children aged 7-9. What they found was that those who had higher blood levels of omega-3 DHA slept significantly better, with less bedtime resistance, less parasomnia (which includes sleeping walking, teeth grinding, and night terrors) and less sleep disturbances in general.

This makes sense because omega-3 fatty acids are important for several key roles in the regulation of sleep, including melatonin production. The study found an “alarming” number of children with low levels of omega-3, and the authors of the study say that research thus far warrants recommendations for DHA supplements for children.

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