You’ve likely heard that an apple a day can keep the doctor away (and a recent study shows it may also help improve lung function), but did you know eating fish regularly may help you sleep better as well?
New research found a link between those who ate fish every week and an overall improved sleep quality—particularly fewer sleep disturbances—than those who reportedly rarely or never ate any fish, according to the journal Sleep Review. Bet you never thought your sushi was helping you snooze, huh?
“[The results] add to the growing body of evidence showing that fish consumption has really positive health benefits and should be something more heavily advertised and promoted.” – Dr. Jennifer Pinto-Martin, study co-author
The study assessed the dietary habits of of 541 Chinese children aged 9 to 11 years old (54 percent boys and 46 percent girls). Each child took an IQ test after disclosing their fish-eating habits, and the parents filled out the Children Sleep Habits Questionnaire.
The results showed children who reported eating fish weekly scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ exams—and had an overall higher quality of sleep—than those who said they “seldom” or “never” consumed fish.
“It adds to the growing body of evidence showing that fish consumption has really positive health benefits and should be something more heavily advertised and promoted,” study co-author Jennifer Pinto-Martin, PhD, says. “Children should be introduced to it early on.”
However, because the experiment was conducted on children, more research is needed to see if the results translate to the adult population. But considering fish’s myriad health benefits, it’s just another great reason to add a serving per week to your dinner rotation—especially if you’re feeding wee ones.
“Doing that could be a lot easier than nudging children about going to bed,” co-author Adrian Raine said. “If the fish improves sleep, great. If it also improves cognitive performance—like we’ve seen here—even better. It’s a double hit.”
But, not to worry if fish doesn’t put your kiddos right to sleep—Jenna Dewan Tatum’s essential oil hack for that is all-natural and genius.