Food and Behaviour Research

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Dietary fish intake and sleep quality: a population-based study

Del Brutto OH, Mera RM, Ha JE, Gillman J, Zambrano M, Castillo PR. (2016) Sleep Med. 17 126-8. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.09.021. Epub 2015 Nov 6. 

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Due to the content of omega-3 and vitamin D, fish consumption is likely to be associated with better sleep. However, current data are limited to a single study that is not representative of the population at large. The present study aimed to assess the effects of oily fish consumption on sleep quality in community dwelling adults living in rural coastal Ecuador.


Atahualpa residents aged ≥40 years and who were identified during a door-to-door survey were interviewed with field instruments directed at assessing cardiovascular risk factors, sleep quality, and fish consumption. Using parametric regression and generalized linear models adjusted for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors, the study evaluated whether oily fish consumption is associated with a lower Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI).


Out of 721 eligible people, 677 (94%) were enrolled. Mean oily fish consumption was 9 ± 6 servings per week (one serving = 140 grams). Poor sleep quality was noticed in 187 (28%) individuals. Oily fish intake was higher in individuals with good sleep quality (p = 0.013). There was an inverse association between the PSQI score and oily fish servings per week in both parametric regression (β = -0.040; 95% CI -0.690 to -0.011, p = 0.007) and the adjusted generalized linear model (β = -0.032; 95% CI -0.605 to -0.004, p = 0.025).


Oily fish consumption is associated with better sleep quality. Even in people who ingest more than the recommended amount of fish, an increase in fish intake is associated with further improvement in the quality of sleep.

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