Omega-3 Can Cause Better Sleep Among Children

April 11, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. induce /ɪnˈdus/ (v.) – to cause something to happen or to produce an effect
Example: Drinking warm milk at night induces good sleep.

2. dose /doʊs/ (n.) – a specified amount of drug to be taken at a certain time or schedule
Example: Doctors require patients not to skip a dose during medication.

3. supplement /ˈsʌpənt/ (n.) – a drug or product containing specific nutrients
Example: The athlete takes protein supplement to help his muscle develop.

4. awakening /əˈweɪɪŋ/ (n.) – act of waking up in the middle of sleep
Example: The baby’s frequent awakening at night caused trouble to the parents.

5. profound /prəˈfaʊnd/ (adj.) – showing great impact
Example:  Using gadgets brought profound effects on kids’ sleeping habits.


Read the text below.
A study from the UK shows that an increased amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the body induces better sleep especially among healthy children.

Led by Professor Paul Montgomery [mont-GUHM-uh-ree], researchers from Oxford University gathered 362 kids aged between seven and nine – with around 40% experiencing sleep disturbances.

The participants were then grouped into two. For 16 weeks, the first group had a daily dose of 600-milligram algal supplements that are rich in omega-3. On the other hand, the second group took placebo [pluh-SEE-bo], a substance that has no medicinal effect. Then, the children’s body movements in bed were monitored.

Results revealed that children who took algal supplements slept 58 minutes longer and had seven fewer awakenings per night than those who took placebo.

According to Montgomery, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are naturally present in the human body to regulate sleep. During childhood, the body system contains lower amount of these fatty acids compared to adults, which is why sleep issues are more common for children.

Prior to this experiment, a similar study confirmed how increased intakes of omega-3 among children improve their ability to focus, read, and spell. Since Montgomery’s team focused only on a few participants, further studies are needed to determine the full benefits of these fatty acids. The researchers assure that their next studies will show the profound effects of omega-3 not only on children’s learning process but also their behavior.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that the food we eat affects the quality of our sleep? Why or why not?
·         Which do you think is better – taking algal supplements or eating actual food that is high in omega-3? Please explain your answer.  

Discussion B

·         What other factors do you think contribute to lack of sleep?
·         What do you think are the effects of a ‘bad sleep’?

April 11, 2014