19 September 2013
Taking an omega-3 oil capsule could ease sleepless nights for children and their parents.

A new study shows that consumption of Omega-3 food or supplements could help to improve sleep quality in children.

The research project carried out by Oxford University used both epidemiological data surveys and Randomised Controlled Trials to investigate the link between the amount of Omega-3 in the blood, sleep quality and disorders in children.

The findings revealed decreased sleep quality and an increased risk of sleep disorders correlated with blood levels of Omega-3 long chain fatty acid DHA. Further findings from the RCT found that supplementation with DHA increased measures of sleep quality significantly. The study also confirmed previous research showing that as sleep disorders increase so did behavioural problems.

Sleep is very important for behaviour and this has been demonstrated in a large number of trials but what has not been shown until now is the effect of fatty acids.

A sample group of 395 children were involved in the initial epidemiological study which included parental surveys and blood data. Subsequently a group of 362 children participated in the more detailed RCT. 43 children wore sensors that measured sleep for around five days at the baseline of the trial and again after 16 weeks supplementation of 600mg per day of either Omega-3 or placebo.

Supplementation with algal DHA had significant effects on raising blood levels of Omega-3 and on sleep quality. The children were awake for less time during the night and slept significantly more.

Dr Laurence Eyres, Chairman of the Oils and fats Group and a New Zealand authority on fats and oils, said that this study showed the potential benefits of Omega-3 supplementation to ensure a good night’s sleep.

“Previous research has shown that increasing children’s dietary intake of Omega-3 fish oil can improve their concentration, reduce disruptive behaviour and boost reading and spelling progress.

“While these preliminary findings need further substantiation there appears to be a growing body of evidence suggesting that Omega-3 fatty acids can extend sleep patterns and assist with a better quality of sleep.

“Now there is even more reason to ensure children are getting enough EPA and DHA fatty acids,” says Dr Eyres.

Alison Quesnel, executive director of Natural Products NZ says “Omega-3 is vital for a healthy heart and immune system and is even more important for the development and function of the brain. Unfortunately, average levels of Omega 3 are very low in most modern western diets and supplementation can assist in delivering the amount needed for optimum health.”



A Oxford University DOLAB study conducted by Prof. Paul Montgomery and Dr Alex Richardson and presented at the Food & Behaviour Research symposium held in London 4th September 2013.

Released on behalf of Natural Products New Zealand by DonovanPR, Auckland.

For more information contact:
Liane Donovan, Donovan Public Relations: P: (09) 522 7125 / 027 2227348 E: [email protected]

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