Help Your Kids Sleep an Extra Hour Each Night With This Common Supplement

In this blog we’ve covered tips to help YOU sleep better. But what about your kids sleep?

I don’t know about you, but I would have done just about anything to help my son Griffin sleep longer when he was a baby. For about two years, his average wakeup time was 5:30am. And it didn’t matter if we put him down at 6pm or 8pm, he was still up at the crack of dawn.

My husband and I survived – barely – by taking shifts. I remember googling “how to get kids to sleep” over and over again looking for ideas :).

Help may be on the way

New research from the University of Oxford found that a common supplement can help kids sleep nearly one hour longer and experience fewer sleep disturbances. The test was conducted with 362 children in the UK between ages seven and nine over a 16 week period. For 5 of those days, the kids wore fitted wrist sensors to monitor their movements during sleep.

Here’s my video on how to help your kids sleep longer

So what is the common supplement?

The supplement that helped the kids sleep in the study was Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, notably DHA. Specifically, they took 600 mg DHA supplements every day.

The researchers believe that the DHA helps release melatonin, that mysterious hormone that helps us fall asleep.

How do you give your kids Omega-3 DHA supplements?

Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is my favorite source. If you give your child 1/2 tsp. per day, you’ll be at ~300 mg of DHA while also supplying them with important fat-solble vitamins A & D. If you combine that with oily fish a few times a week, you’ll be on your way. (For example, daily 1/2 tsp. of cod liver oil plus 2 – 3 ounce servings of salmon per week would equate to the study dosage.)

DHA supplement to help kids sleep - affordable optionThere’s also this supplement by Nordic Naturals, which does have an added natural Vitamin A, but it’s a quarter of the price of the Green Pasture brand.

Don’t expect results, er, overnight

Note that the kids in the study experienced these benefits after four months of supplementation. So don’t expect the benefits to come immediately.

But, take heart in that DHA and Omega-3s are great for other things too from improved learning, behavior, eyesight, immunity, and heart health. Sadly, most of the kids the researches studied had alarmingly low levels of omega 3 in their blood. Combined that with the fact that most processed and packaged food is high in the omega 6 oil, kids can suffer with an unhealthy fatty acid balance.

Will this same supplement that helps kids sleep help YOU sleep?

Will these amazing study results hold true for adults too? Lead researcher, Montgomery laughs “Someone should come along and give me a nice little pot of money to test it out,” but his hunch is that they would. Definitely worth a shot!

And, for what it’s worth, one thing that’s been proven to help adults sleep better is tart cherry juice.

How do you help your kids sleep?

Has any natural remedy or technique worked well for you? Share with us in the comments below!

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


Add a Comment
  1. Do you give the oil at night before bed, or is anytimeasy ok?

  2. Will Barleans omega 3 smoothie supplement work?

  3. Young Living Cedarwood oil just above the nose between the eyes (aka the third eye) about an hour before bed or at bathtime and my 4 yr old goes to sleep faster and sleeps longer equating to about an hour to hour and half extra sleep.

    • That is interesting I will have to try it but will have to wait until my son is a little bit older; he is currently 6 months.

  4. This passed winter we had a lot of trouble getting our daughter to sleep. The snow had made it really difficult for us to go outside… for weeks it was about a foot higher than her! We found that lots of sunlight and time spent close to the earth was important for her, not only for her melatonin supply but for her sanity (she’s like her mama!). We also try not to overdo the sunblock (while still keeping her safe) and give some time each day for full exposure (i.e. nakey-time in the backyard!).

    We also found that adding 1-3 drops of trace minerals to her water and prioritizing to make sure that whenever she needed a nap, she was undisturbed until she was ready to get up.

    As for the cod liver oil, she started taking it after her first bday and loves it! I think starting them out early and starting with the unflavored worked best for us. I can’t speak for her but I know since I started taking it it has help me to combat frequent dips in my mood. I could see this helping others with their sleep.

  5. I was so excited to try the green pastures fclo and had no allergic reactions to it personally so I gave 1/4 tsp to my 21 month old. He broke out in hives immediately! Is this common? What steps would you take next?

  6. My sister in law swears by melatonin. What are your thoughts on it? Its never seemed right to me to “drug” your kid to sleep.

    • Don’t use melatonin! Esp on kids! It is a hormone and effects the reproductive hormones. It increases estrogen in the body. Plus all the OTC melatonin is 4x what your body produces, so will cause your body to produce less over time and cause sleep issues and dependancy. People use it like candy, but it is SO not safe to use and MD’s don’t understand how it works, which is so unfortunate. Don’t use it. Don’t give it to your kids!

  7. Hi. Can I just ask what time of day you should give the fish oil? And do you happen to have a link to the study that you mentioned?


  8. My own natural mama told me that kiwi fruit helps with melatonin. I tried it once with my daughter (5 yo) and now she eats one every day and sleeps a good 1-3 hours longer than without.

    • WOWOWOW! Griff loves kiwi. Thanks for tip.

  9. Any tips on getting my three year old son to take the omega 3/DHA supplement? I know it is “strawberry flavored” but he hates it. I don’t know what to do! Help!

    • You can put in a smoothie or yogurt 🙂

  10. Genevieve, can I just say you look especially gorgeous in this video! Also, great tip, I’m going to have to try it!

    • Michelle, you just made my day 🙂 🙂 🙂 XOXO

  11. I’m curious how this would work for an infant. My friends 5 month old wakes every hour to two hours all night and is sometimes up for the day at 4 am. Could this be ok for a baby that young?
    My three girls take a DHA vitamin from the company Nutrilite. I have noticed that they all sleep better when they take them consistently.

    • Hey Beth, Is she nursing? An easy way to get this into an infant without giving it to them is to have mom take it herself and it will transfer into the breast milk ;-). Im not sure if it would be safe for a tiny baby like that. I noticed when I started taking a dha/fish oil supplement it started helping my 3 month old with his eczema tremendously and he sleeps a good 5 1/2 hour stretch for the first part of the night. Good luck!

    • I’m wondering the same – my son is 6 months. He doesn’t nurse but I do pump and give him my breast milk. The doctor did say he had eczema behind his ears and some on his body.

  12. Over the years I’ve learned to read my kids’ body clock. If I put them to bed any earlier than 9 pm, they get terrible sleep and wake up too early. I’ve figured out that when they are down by 10 pm, they sleep the longest and get the most rest, they wake up between 9 and 10 am! They get a solid 11 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Every child is different of course, but I never felt right forcing them to sleep early and the several times I tried that schedule it simply didn’t work for us.

    We do supplement with cod liver oil, for many health benefits. When I was desperate and my toddler had restless nights I also tried Hyland’s Calms Forte, it worked pretty well too. Sachets of sleepy herbs between the mattress and bed sheets are another idea! 🙂

  13. We’ve been giving our children magnesium to help them fall asleep easier, and also using lavender oil to relax. We also give them a liquid cal/mag and my homemade elderberry syrup to keep their immune systems strong. (wonderful stuff, it works so well:)) Our four youngest (ages 11 months – 6 yrs.) sleep approx. 11 hours every night, plus the 2 yr. old still has naps:)

    • I think its important to note that some children will have issues with essential oils. It is important to try it diluted with a carrier oil. I read that lavender oil could help my little one sleep, but since he has processing issues (i.e. autism) it actually made him wake up screaming in the middle of the night every time we used it full strength… we now dont use it at all and he went back to sleeping his normal 8pm-630am schedule 🙂

  14. My babies all slept until about 8am. But, I never understood the idea of putting your kids to bed at 6 or 8pm. We never put ours down unless we were ready to go to bed right behind them. So, our babies all went to bed about 10pm. They might wake once in the night (after those first few weeks), but they usually slept until 8am. I stay home with them, so there’s never been a need to get them up early to send off to daycare. I have 3 girls. My twins were the hardest to get to sleep initially, but they all started sleeping through the night around 8weeks for me (exclusively breastfed, no bottles, no pacifiers).

  15. You might want to consider eating seeweed (or giving him seeweed), rather than fish.
    It is much better (esp. with empty seas) according to some studies done (‘Sea the Truth’ – which is a documentary too).
    Our bodies need to process the meat by having it ‘rot in our stomage’. That costs a lot of energy. While seeweed (around here we can buy pasta having spirulina in it, for instance) is being processed directly and you might have quicker results!

  16. Do you mix the cherry juice with water? And, how much of the juice should I give my 3 1/2 yr old? Thanks!

    • I gave Griffin 2 TB of the tart cherry juice concentrate mixed into about 8-12 ounces of water. I’d add a few drops of stevia but not necessary. He’s the same age as your son 🙂

      • Hi Genevieve,

        Can cod liver oil be given to a 12 month old? If so, would it be the same dosage you indicated?

        • Weston A. Price recommends 1/2 tsp. of high-vitamin cod liver oil for children 3 mos to 12 years old, which contains about ~250mg of DHA.

  17. Hi,

    Our little one doesn’t care much for the Fish Oil, but she doesn’t mind having a piece of Cod Liver itself, which is as good IMHO.

  18. We already do this so it won’t make a difference for us but our kids wake up around 6:30 am. Still too early for me but hey, it beats 5:30. Didn’t you mention in a previous post that tart cherry juice was helpful for sleep? Maybe drinking some of that every day would help. Too bad it’s sooo expensive! I think just keeping the kids’ rooms darker is a great commonsense approach to this as well. That has helped us keep them in sleep mode longer.

    • Yes, and I mention in the video too. It can be pricey and Griffin gets sick of it 🙂

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *