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Helping kids: is eating fish good for children’s sleep?

by on 06 August, 2018

Ensuring children get as much quality sleep as possible is important for parents, especially in the early years of learning and growth.

A new study shows how eating more fish can improve sleep, focus and IQ.



In the first study of its kind, scientists have shown that increased levels of fish consumption may help to reduce sleep problems in children which can, in turn, support children’s mental focus and cognitive ability long term.

The study involved a sample of 541 Chinese school children (54% boys and 46% girls) aged 12 years. They completed a food frequency questionnaire on how often they consumed fish (“often”, “sometimes” or “seldom & never”), IQ was measured, and parents completed their children sleep quality questionnaire which detailed sleep times, disturbances and waking through the night.

The results showed the children with the highest fish intake had much less sleep disturbance, and therefore better quality of sleep, than the children who reported seldom or never eating fish.

Higher consumption of fish was also associated with increased cognitive ability. Children with less sleep disturbance showed significantly better cognitive ability and focus.

This research is the first of its kind to examine the link between sleep, cognitive abilities and fish consumption.

With an improvement in sleep quality, concentration and IQ, it’s no wonder that fish is such an important food for growing children.


1. Liu, Jianghong, et al. "The mediating role of sleep in the fish consumption–cognitive functioning relationship: a cohort study." Scientific reports 7.1 (2017): 17961.
2. Liu, Jianghong, et al. "Cohort profile: The China Jintan child cohort study." International journal of epidemiology 39.3 (2009): 668-674.

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