FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:
Previous studies - including human clinical trials in children and younger adults - have shown that sleep may be improved by an increased dietary intake of the special omega-3 fats found in fish and seafood - the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acds (LC-PUFA) EPA and DHA.
This new clinical trial found improvements in sleep quality in older adults following supplementation with omega-3 EPA and DHA, adding to the evidence than long-chain omega-3 can have benefits for sleep, even in generally healthy populations.
Of particular interest is that this study was carried out in Japan - where baseline dietary intakes of EPA and DHA are significantly higher than they are in the US, UK and most other developed countries.
This is because fish and seafood still remains a significant part of most Japanese diets - particularly for older adults. By contrast, the modern western-type diets consumed in most developed countries, rich in ultra-processed foods, provide an excess of omega-6 fats, and are very low in omega-3 (particularly the long chain forms, EPA and DHA, which are the biological essential ones).
These findings add to the evidence that a lack of long-chain omega-3 (and the resulting imbalance between omega-3 to omega-6 LC-PUFA) may impair sleep.
Sleep problems are extremely common in most countries - and have a major negative impact on health and wellbeing. There are also very strong links between poor sleep and almost all forms of mental and developmental health problems - with which omega-3 deficiency is also associated.
For more information on the links between omega-3 and sleep, please see:Omega-3 and Sleep - Research