Omega-3 really is a wonderful thing. There's research claiming it can slow or even prevent chronic inflammation, which contributes to numerous conditions including cancer and heart disease. It can help our brains develop, which is why oily fish is always said to be "good brain food". And it can also help our sleep.
That's right: a healthy portion of fish, walnuts or even our pick of the best fish oil supplements could help in getting better bed-rest. The research comes from an older study from Oxford University (opens in new tab) that's recently been thrust back into the public eye.
The background stress of world events such as the pandemic has caused many a sleepless night in the last few years. But Oxford scientists found high levels of long-chain omega-3s, the type found in the brain, are "significantly associated" with better sleep and fewer interruptions overnight.
The researchers tested over 300 children, and found in addition to the above, those with higher levels of omega-3 had less "bedtime resistance", making it easier for them to get down.
Harvard University (opens in new tab) has also found omega-3 fatty acids have improved mood disorders in adults, even showing beneficial effects against depression. This improvement of sleep and mood may be because dietary omega-3s help regulate serotonin, the chemical produced in our bodies which changes our mood and cognition.
However, this is about sleep, and if you're finding a great dinner of salmon and salad drizzled with olive oil – which is also a great source of omega-3 – isn't cutting it, you could try other techniques. Chamomile extract has been found to improve sleep quality (opens in new tab) in elderly people, and chamomile tea has been proven to be an inexpensive way to wind down in the evening.
Meanwhile, meditation has also been found to soothe anxiety and improve sleep. Our guide on how to meditate can help you get started, including guiding you through your first two-minute meditation session.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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