Fish consumption linked to better sleep

0
5

WASHINGTON: Eating fish at least once a week results in better sleep and higher IQ in children, suggests a study. Previous studies showed a relationship between omega-3s, the fatty acids in many types of fish, and improved intelligence, as well as omega-3s and better sleep. But they’ve never all been connected before.
This work, conducted by Jianghong Liu, Jennifer Pinto-Martin and Alexandra Hanlon of the School of Nursing and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Adrian Raine, reveals sleep as a possible mediating pathway, the potential missing link between fish and intelligence.
“This area of research is not well-developed. It’s emerging,” said Liu, lead author on the paper and an associate professor of nursing and public health. “Here we look at omega-3s coming from our food instead of from supplements.”
For the work, a cohort of 541 9- to 11-year-olds in China, 54 percent boys and 46 percent girls, completed a questionnaire about how often they consumed fish in the past month, with options ranging from “never” to “at least once per week.” They also took the Chinese version of an IQ test called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised, which examines verbal and non-verbal skills such as vocabulary and coding.
Their parents then answered questions about sleep quality using the standardized Children Sleep Habits Questionnaire, which included topics such as sleep duration and frequency of night waking or daytime sleepiness.
Analyzing the data points, the Penn team found that children who reported eating fish weekly scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ exams than those who said they “seldom” or “never” consumed fish. Those whose meals sometimes included fish scored 3.3 points higher. In addition, increased fish consumption was associated with fewer disturbances of sleep, which the researchers say indicates better overall sleep quality.
“Lack of sleep is associated with antisocial behaviour; poor cognition is associated with antisocial behavior,” said Raine, who has appointments in the School of Arts and Sciences and Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “We have found that omega-3 supplements reduce antisocial behavior, so it’s not too surprising that fish is behind this.” For the moment, the researchers recommend incrementally incorporating additional fish into a diet; consumption even once a week moves a family into the “high” fish-eating group as defined in the study. “Doing that could be a lot easier than nudging children about going to bed.If the fish improves sleep, great. If it also improves cognitive performance — like we’ve seen here — even better”, Raine said. The findings have been published in the journal Nature.