The report card arrives home….
Your 7 year old is not reading as well as the other kids his age.
Your heart sinks. You know your little one is doing his very best. You want to help. But how ?
Extra lessons ? On paper at least, practise make perfect.
Before you assign loads of extra reading, you may want to take stock of your child’s sleep habits.
Following a hunch
This is what a group of researchers from the University of Oxford recently did. The team were following a hunch, that poor readers, were also poor sleepers. And poor sleepers were low on docosahexaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) important for brain function.
They approached primary schools in the Oxfordshire area, looking for healthy children struggling in school. The search yielded at total of 362 kids between the ages of 6 and 10 years, who fitted the bill. The vast majority of the children were white, there was a mix of boys and girls.
At the start of the study, all the parents of these academic strugglers, were asked to complete the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire , which consists of a series of questions designed to assess their child’s sleeping habits. Parameters considered by the questionnaire include
- Bedtime resistance
- Sleep duration
- Parasomnias i.e. bad dreams
- Sleep disturbed breathing
- Night wakenings
- Daytime sleepiness
- Sleep anxiety
- Sleep onset
Since how well someone else is sleeping, is subject to interpretation, the team also monitored the actual sleep of 43 of the kids, using an actigraph for 5 nights.
Poor readers were poor sleepers
The hunch that poor readers, were poor sleepers, turned out to be spot on. Amazingly enough, 40 % of the kids were sleeping so badly, they would officially be considered to have a sleep problem requiring medical intervention.
PING, PING, PING – if your little one is not performing well in school, this could be the reason.
Fortunately, the Oxford team were not done., they wanted to see if they could “fix” the situation, without resorting to sleeping pills.
Fishing for dreams
The team divided the kids into two groups. Both groups were given capsules of oil
- Group 1 received fish oil i.e. omega-3 fatty acids
- Group 2 received soybean or corn oil i.e. omega-6 fatty acids.
The kids took 600 mg every lunch time, for 16 weeks.
At the end of this time period, the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire was repeated and the same 43 kids, were hooked up to the actigraph for 5 nights.
Swimming with mermaids
The 16 weeks of fish oil supplementation made a difference…..
On average, the kids taking the fish oil supplement spent 58 minutes longer asleep. That is almost an hour longer swimming with mermaids, dolphins and other mythical creatures. All that extra sleep came, because the kids slept through the night, there were significantly less awakenings.
If your little ones report card is keeping you up at night, you might want to try an omega-3 supplement to improve your sleep, as well as the sleep of your child.
Omega-3 supplements are relatively inexpensive and considered to be safe. The dose that was given in this study was 600 mg of fatty acid.
NB. When making your purchase, make sure the brand you choose is from a reputable company and the product only contains omega-3. A 1000 mg capsule usually contains around 300 mg of fatty acid, so a dose of 600 mg will mean that two 1000 mg capsules need to be taken.
|Catch more memories with a little omega-3||Nibbling and sipping soda as you swot is causing brain rot||Feed your toddler fish to wire in a life time of health|
Being a Mom is a huge responsibility and knowing how to protect and optimize your family’s health is challenging. Get tips and strategies from the world of science and help your little ones have Better Body Chemistry so they grow up healthy and avoid the lifestyle diseases.
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