Get to know how omega-3 fatty acids help boost sleep efficiency and how you can enjoy its other health perks below.
In this article:
- What Is Omega-3?
- How Does Omega 3 Promote Sleep Efficiency?
- Other Health Benefits of Omega-3
- Rich Sources of Omega 3
Omega-3 and Its Role in Sleep Efficiency
What Is Omega-3?
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids with three main kinds:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (AHA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
These fatty acids boost skin health and fight inflammation. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are prized for one of their most sought-after benefits: a good night’s sleep.
Let’s take a look at how omega-3 helps improve sleep efficiency, how else can it improve your health, and how can you add it to your diet.
How Does Omega 3 Promote Sleep Efficiency?
While a good night’s sleep is critical for one’s health, it doesn’t always come easy. It was revealed that many adults are suffering from sleep deprivation.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 3 adults are not getting enough hours of sleep. Some of the most common causes of sleep deprivation include:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Pre-existing illness
Fortunately, with a few lifestyle habits and diet changes, sleep deprivation can be addressed. For instance, adding more omega-3-rich foods in your diet can help improve your sleep efficiency:
Omega-3 and Vitamin D Help Enhance Adults’ Sleep Quality
Evidence shows that omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D present in fish helped improve the sleep quality of rural community-dwelling adults. The study further emphasized that even those who consumed more than the recommended intake of oily fish showed further improvement in their quality of sleep.
Interestingly, separate research supports this claim and even found that consuming omega-3-rich fish helps enhance daytime performance.
A systematic review of studies also found an association between vitamin D deficiency and a higher risk of sleep disorders. However, further studies are needed to solidify these findings.
Omega-3 May Assist Sleep Disorder Sufferers
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that causes a person’s breathing to stop involuntarily during sleep. Research found evidence on the potential of omega-3, particularly its DHA component, in reducing the risk of severe sleep apnea.
Omega-3 May Help Improve the Sleep Efficiency of Children and Pregnant Women
A study conducted on 395 children aged 7-9 found a link between higher levels of DHA and better child sleep. Meantime, separate research revealed that pregnant women with low levels of DHA experienced poor sleep, suggesting that increasing DHA levels may improve rest.
Other Health Benefits of Omega-3
- Promotes Heart Health. A systematic review of studies investigated the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in triglyceride levels of HIV-infected subjects on antiretroviral therapy. The study found that fatty acids significantly reduced triglycerides within 8-16 weeks of treatment.
- Helps Prevent Premature Skin Aging. A separate study explored omega-3’s potential in treating skin disorders such as melanoma, acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.
- Improves Eye Health. Evidence also shows that omega-3 consumption may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness.
- Boosts Cognitive Function. In separate research, it was found that a higher intake of omega-3 helps slow down cognitive decline in older adults without dementia.
- Combats Inflammation. Another study showed that omega-3 reduced the production of inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that it can be used therapeutically.
Rich Sources of Omega 3
- Salmon. Poach, smoke, grill, or bake your salmon and pair it with steamed veggies and beans.
- Seeds. Add flaxseeds or chia seeds to your yogurt or oatmeal for that extra nutritional punch!
- Oysters. Eat them raw or experiment with yummy recipes like Oyster Rockefeller.
- Soybeans. Toss them into your green salad or add them to your stews or vegetable soups.
- Eggs. Fry, poach, scramble, boil, or incorporate them into your recipes.
- Walnuts. Snack on them or throw them into your side dishes or salads.
While these omega-3 benefits are encouraging, it’s important to ask your doctor about adding it to your diet. Also, ask if it’s okay to take it as a supplement, especially if you have a health condition.
If you’re experiencing poor sleep and badly want to get a shuteye fast, try other things to help you sleep. Make your room conducive to sleep, minimize your screen time at night, and cut back on caffeine hours before your bedtime.
By doing some routine changes, you’re sure to enjoy improved sleep in no time.
What omega-3 sources are you adding to your diet, and how do they help you sleep well? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!