Sleep Better with This Fishy Bedtime Snack!

Move over warm milk! There’s a new sleep-boosting food in town. British researchers have discovered a food that can actually help you sleep better and wake up more refreshed: fish. Thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, your brain is able to produce melatonin, a hormone that’s linked to deeper sleep. So why fish, and how can you incorporate it into your diet to reap the full benefits?

Why fish is the ultimate sleep food

The University of Oxford study focused on children and found that those with higher blood levels of the long-chain omega-3 DHA (the main omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain) experienced better sleep. They were less restless, didn’t resist going to sleep, and had fewer sleep disturbances.

What’s even more impressive is that when given a daily supplement of omega-3, similar to what you’d find in a fish oil capsule, children experienced an average of an extra hour of sleep every night. They also had seven fewer waking episodes each night, which is amazing news for anyone who struggles with getting restful sleep.

Types of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids

Now that you know fish can be a game-changer for your sleep, it’s essential to identify which types of fish are packed with those sleep-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids. Some top contenders include:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Lake trout
  • Albacore tuna

It’s important to note that not just any variety of these fish will do; opt for wild-caught fish, as they generally contain higher levels of omega-3s than their farm-raised counterparts.

Incorporating fish into your diet

It’s all well and good knowing that fish can help you sleep better, but how do you start including it in your daily diet? Here are some simple and tasty ideas to get you started:

  • Make a salmon salad with spinach, walnuts, and a light vinaigrette for lunch
  • Grill or bake some mackerel with a side of steamed vegetables for dinner
  • Combine sardines, avocado, and whole-grain crackers for a satisfying and sleep-inducing snack
  • Create a healthy tuna salad by swapping out mayo for mashed avocado
  • Top a bowl of quinoa and roasted vegetables with some flaked herring

Other omega-3 sources and supplements

If you’re not a fan of fish or have dietary restrictions preventing you from consuming it, don’t worry – there are other sources of omega-3 fatty acids, too. Some plant-based options include:

  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts and walnut oil
  • Algae oil

If turning to supplements, opt for a high-quality fish oil or a vegan omega-3 supplement derived from algae. Remember, always consult with a healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your routine.

More tips for better sleep

While incorporating fish or omega-3 sources into your diet is a fantastic way to improve your sleep, don’t forget about other essential sleep hygiene habits such as:

  • Establishing a consistent bedtime routine
  • Creating an optimal sleep environment: dark, quiet, and cool
  • Limiting exposure to screens and blue light before bedtime
  • Exercising regularly but not too close to bedtime
  • Reducing caffeine and sugar intake, especially in the evening
  • And, of course, avoiding that warm milk!


If you want to reap the sleep-enhancing benefits of fish, start incorporating fish, or other omega-3 sources into your daily diet. Combined with other essential sleep hygiene habits, these small changes can make a world of difference in the quality of your sleep, helping you wake up more refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Sweet dreams!