One of the most common sleep remedies is to count sheep – to imagine a row of them, one after the other in an orderly fashion. It’s a strategy that’s worked for many people, but modern science has progressed and there are better ways to help you fall asleep. Here’s a question for you, have you found a better way for your neurodivergent child to fall asleep and have a healthy sleep routine?
In this blog, we will try to discuss one natural way of sleep support. One that is not only effective but also safe. It is all-natural and helps your neurodivergent kid fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
What is Omega 3?
This guide will provide a basic introduction to Omega 3s and their many benefits to children with neurodivergent conditions such as ADHD and sleep disorders.
Several studies have supported that Omega 3s are essential for many aspects of human health, including brain function, heart health, and sleep quality.
Omega-3 fatty acids, also called polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs, are a type of plant-based long-chain fatty acid that is not stored in the body like saturated fats.
Low intake of Omega 3 has been linked to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and postpartum depression.
What are the three main types of omega-3s?
Alpha-linolenic acid is an “essential” omega-3 fatty acid because it is needed for normal human growth and development. ALA is found in leafy vegetables, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds. ALA is not as effective as EPA and DHA in providing benefits to the body. EPA and DHA are more potent omega-3s that can be found in fish oils.
EPA is found in fatty fish like salmon or tuna. Also, on the flesh of cold-water fish, including mackerel, herring, halibut, cod liver, whale blubber, or seal blubber. DHA is found in fatty fish like salmon or tuna as well as algae supplements.
EPA and DHA have been shown to increase the quality of sleep by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, increasing the duration of sleep, and improving sleep quality.
How Much Omega-3s do Kids Need at Every Age?
Omega-3s are a type of fat that helps the body function properly. We need a certain amount of omega-3s every day, and children need it more than adults.
The IOM has not provided specific info on how much EPA and DHA should be taken daily. Instead, they recommend daily ALA intake or the total amount of omega-3s. The amount is different per child's age:
What is the connection of Omega 3 with sleep?
Health experts believe the leading producer of melatonin is the pineal gland, which contains a large amount of omega-3s.
As we all know, melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles.
Melatonin and omega-3s compliment each other in many different areas:
Melatonin reduces the production of inflammatory signals by inhibiting them due to its antioxidant properties. EPA and DHA are essential omega-3s. EPA and DHA are essential elements of Omega-3s that pave the way for specialized pro-resolving mediators, which play an important part in inflammation and disease recovery.
DISCLAIMER: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Make Cell Signaling Better
The cells in our body need to be able to communicate properly for them to work properly. For instance, the lack of Omega-3 fatty acids is linked with decreased learning ability and focus – most likely due to communication difficulty in the brain. It is Melatonin that allows omega-3 to have that better movement within the cell membranes thereby improving the transmission of cell signals.
And now, studies have shown that Omega-3s have a vital part in addressing sleep problems in children both neurotypical and neurodivergent.
For example, a study done in 2014 found that British Children don't have high enough blood levels of DHA and that giving them a 16-week supplement program could lead to fewer waking episodes and more sleep. Around 40% of US children have a clinical sleep problem. The researchers suggested that fish oil (source of Omega-3s) might be beneficial to counteract some of these problems.
Another study on Mexican adolescents has shown that those who have high levels of DHA enjoy an extra half hour's sleep at the weekend when school and work do not restrict when they have to get up. The study's authors suggest that a 20-30 minute longer sleep time can benefit academic results.
What we can take from this article is how Omega 3 fatty acids will help our bodies produce chemicals, proteins, and hormones that are necessary for helping us to sleep. Thus, if a parent wishes to aid their neurodivergent child or children with sensory issues who have difficulty sleeping, increasing their Omega 3 intake might be beneficial.
If you have any more questions or concerns about your child's sleep issues, please don't hesitate to contact us here at The Slumber Academy. We will give you a free 15-minute sleep consultation to ease your worries and know your child's needs.