Increasing your children’s intake of Omega 3 may improve their sleep , according to a new study done at the University of Oxford in the UK. The study which is the first of its kind, was designed to explore potential links between fatty acids and sleep in healthy children, and the interesting findings will be published in the Sleep Research Journal.
Over a period of 16 weeks, 362 children of primary school age were either given placebos, or a daily dose of 600 milligrams of Omega 3 supplements that were derived from algae.
Before the study , the parents were required to fill out a questionnaire which indicated that 40 percent of the children suffered from sleep disorder problems. The children with sleep disorders were then fitted with sensors attached to their wrists in order to monitor movements over a total of 5 nights.
The study showed that the children who were given the omega-3 supplement , slept almost an hour more, with seven less instances of awakening during the night.
Some previous research has shown that consumption of the long-chain omega 3 contributes to multiple numbers of benefits , such as improved concentration, improved reading and spelling ability, as well as decreasing disruptive behaviors.
The lead author of the study, Paul Montgomery of Oxford University stated that there that are some substances that the body makes from the omega fatty acids fatty acids, that play a key role in sleep regulation. He cites the levels of Docosahexaenoic acid that have been linked to lower levels of melatonin which plays a major role in regulating the sleep cycle.
Because of the small number of the participants in the study , the researchers agree that more research is necessary, but are encouraged with the implications, and if they are confirmed, it will mean more positive outlook for the treatment of children who may be struggling with learning or behavioral problems. One of the investigators involved in the study, says that previously published work shows that the level of omega 3 DHA is remarkably lower in the seven to nine-year olds, and this may be related to the sleep and learning problems that they may experience. The association is what led the researcher to suspect that Omega 3 may improve sleep in children
There are several other benefits that have been associated with the consumption of Omega 3, and they include the ability to reduce blood pressure. In another recently concluded study,s published in the Journal of Hypertension, the Omega 3 fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic acid, were found to be effective in lowering blood pressures, in much the same manner, or even more so, than the recommendations to lower alcohol consumption and exercise more.
DHA and Omega 3 has been given the moniker brain food, because it play a critical role in the
brain development of children. Infants also need DHA, for the development of their eyes brains and nervous systems, and it is present in breast milk and some manufacturers have added it to baby formulas.
Omega 3 has also shown to prevent fatty liver disease and prevent build of bad cholesterol, and has also shown to reduce the symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Researchers are still optimistic that the results of the trial can be improved with further research , that confirms that Omega 3 will improve sleep in children.
Written By Dale Davidson