According to new data from Oxford University, consumption of omega-3 DHA could help improve the quality of sleep in children.

The data from the Oxford University DOLAB (DHA Oxford Learning and Behaviour) research study used data to assess a possible link between blood omega-3 status, behaviour and sleep quality.

Professor Paul Montgomery from the University of Oxford revealed new preliminary data from the study that links omega-3 status to sleep quality and disorders in children.

He explained that the findings revealed "decreased sleep quality and an increased risk of sleep disorders was well correlated with blood levels of the omega-3 long chain fatty acid DHA."

In the study, parents were asked to rate their perceived quality of their children’s sleep, researchers then analysed these scores against blood measures of omega-3.  The sample size of 395 was a large number for any study of this kind.

A 15% sub sample of the children was then used in a detailed randomised trial to assess whether supplementation with DHA would improve their sleep.

Children in this group were asked to wear wrist watch style sensors that measure sleep.  They were measured for a baseline at the beginning of the trial and again after supplementation with either omega-3 DHA or a placebo.

Those in the omega-3 DHA group have marked improvements in their sleep quality and blood levels of omega-3 DHA.  These children were awake for less throughout the night.

While Montgomery admits that the sample size is small, he stated that the “action is clear”, and the he was “struck by the size and scale” of the findings.

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