Having trouble sleeping? Research shows the soporific benefits of omega-3

Sleep is needed for optimal health, but most people prioritize other things like work or school over this. Millions of people around the world don’t get the amount of sleep that the body needs to function properly. This can have short- and long-term effects on a person’s health, including memory issues, mood swings, poor concentration, heart disease, and a weak immune system. To avoid these health problems, it is necessary to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

No matter how hard some people try, they just can’t find sleep without a little help. Most of the time this help comes in the form of sleeping pills. However, these can have adverse side effects, especially when used regularly. Fortunately, nature provides some solutions to sleeping problems that are just as effective as conventional medications but are safer to take. One naturally occurring compound that has shown potential use in promoting better sleep is omega-3.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

There is a growing body of evidence that shows how beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are for sleep. But before getting into this, it is better to first get to know what this compound is.

Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that has three main types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (AHA). The body doesn’t have the ability to produce any of these forms so they can only be acquired from foods and supplements. Generally, AHA is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, and grass-fed beef. Meanwhile, EPA and DHA are found in the following types of fish:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

How does omega-3 improve sleep?

One of the benefits of omega-3 that has caught the attention of a lot of people is its ability to improve sleep. Countless studies have been conducted to provide evidence for this therapeutic application.

A study revealed that people who acquired omega-3 fatty acids from regularly eating fish fall asleep more quickly. Moreover, it also improved their performance throughout the day. The sleep-enhancing effect of omega-3 from fish is enhanced by the presence of vitamin D. People who don’t have adequate levels of this vitamin experience disrupted sleep patterns, proving that it’s also important for sleep.

One way by which omega-3, specifically DHA, improves sleep quality is stimulating melatonin production. This hormone is crucial to sleep since it is involved in the body’s internal body clock. When it’s time to sleep, melatonin sends signals to different parts of the body to reduce alertness, lower body temperature and blood pressure, and induce a state of relaxation.

People who suffer from a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea also benefit from omega-3. This condition causes people to repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep, leading to low oxygen concentration and carbon dioxide accumulation in the blood. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea by improving cardiovascular function.

A 2014 study also proves that omega-3 is beneficial for children’s sleep. Children who were given omega-3 slept longer and woke up less frequently than those who didn’t. Moreover, another study found that this nutrient also improved IQ scores along with sleep quality.

Overall, these studies show that increasing your intake of omega-3, either from foods or supplements, can do wonders for your sleep quality. (Related: Trouble sleeping? Eat more fish – research suggests a connection between omega 3s and enhanced cognitive performance in school children via better sleep.)

Other health benefits of omega-3

Increasing your omega-3 intake also provides you with other health benefits, such as the following:

  • Preventing vision problems
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Improving symptoms of metabolic syndrome
  • Lowering cancer risk

Visit Omega3.news learn more about the many health benefits of omega-3.

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