March 7 2014 at 06:00pm By JENNY HOPE
They found children taking the daily omega-3 supplement had 58 minutes' more sleep and seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with those on the placebo.
London - Taking fish oil capsules or eating oily fish could improve children’s quality of sleep, say researchers. Boosting levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish, resulted in children sleeping for longer and waking up less in the night, a study has shown.
Oxford University researchers gave children rated as poor sleepers omega-3 supplements for four months, or a dummy capsule. They studied 352 children aged seven to nine who were struggling readers at a mainstream primary school.
Parents filled in a questionnaire which showed that four in ten of the children suffered regular sleep disturbances. The researchers fitted wrist sensors to 43 of the children rated as poor sleepers to monitor their movements in bed over five nights.
They found children taking the daily omega-3 supplement had 58 minutes’ more sleep and seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with those on the placebo. The best dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids is oily fish.
Children and adults are advised to eat fish at least twice a week. One of the key omega-3 fatty acids is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Oxford researcher Dr Alex Richardson said: “Previous studies we have published showed that blood levels of omega-3 DHA in this sample of seven to nine year-olds were alarmingly low overall, and this could be directly related to the children’s learning. “Further research is needed given the small number of children involved in the pilot study.”