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Omega 3 could be the key for better sleep

17-09-2014

Omega 3 could be the key for better sleep

We are a world of tired people, we are a race of exhausted individuals. The figures are quite scary, around a third of all adults state that they are not getting enough sleep. This is bad for all of us, aside from the many problems that lack of sleep can cause to individual people, it is dangerous for the rest of us as well. Tired people make mistakes and there are tired people driving every day, tired people operating heavy machinery, tired people making our food, tired people treating our illnesses. So what can be done?

Omega 3 and Sleep

What is Omega 3?

You may have heard of Omega 3 before, the name is certainly a familiar one, but what e3xaclty is it? Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. The three types of omega-3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are ALA (found in plant oils), EPA, and DHA (both commonly found in marine oils). Common sources of animal omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids include fish oils, egg oil, squid oils, krill oil, while some plant oils contain the omega 3 ALA fatty acid such as walnut, seabuckthorn and chia seeds, along with berry oils, clary sage seed oil, algal oil, flaxseed oil, Sacha Inchi oil, Echium oil, and hemp oil.

How can it help?

A team from the University of Oxford have published the results of a recent study they conducted in the Journal of Sleep Research. Their study looked at 362 British children who were aged between 7 and 9. The children were not chosen because they had any particular sleep issues. During the study period the researchers got the parents  to monitor the children’s sleep over a normal week and found that that 40% of the children had clinical-level sleep problems, with issues like a resistance to bedtime, anxiety about going to sleep and problem waking in the middle of the night. What the researchers found was that the children who had issues with sleep also had a range of behavioural and cognitive issues as well, which are the same issues that are related to deficiencies in the long-chain Omega 3 fatty acids.

The results

To see if their conclusions were right the researchers decide to give the children with sleep problems a 600mg supplement of Omega 3 DHA to see if that would help them with their sleep. After they had give the problem sleepers the supplement they fitted them with wrist sensors that would monitor their sleeping habits over 5 nights, they also recorded the levels of the children’s Omega 3 levels over those 5 nights. The results were powerful, the children who were being given the Omega 3 slept better. The control group of children with sleep issues who had not been given the supplement still struggled with their sleep.

Conclusion

While it is early days, the findings of the study indicated that Omega 3 plays a role in sleep. Whether it can help everyone with a sleeping problem is probably unlikely, but if you struggle with your sleep it is worth a shot as it very well may help you too.


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