Girl in pink pajamas waking up from sleeping

Omega 3s for Sleep and How to Calculate Sleep Efficiency

Key Takeaways:

  • The targeted number of sleep hours each night for adults is seven, according to the National Institute of Health.

  • Understanding what sleep efficiency is and why it’s important.

  • Good sleep supports a healthy heart and blood vessels, which supports a healthy balance of some hormones.

  • On top of healthy habits for restful sleep, adding omega 3s for sleep may help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

  • Adding vitamins like calcium and vitamin D have been shown to be beneficial for sleep support as well.

There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep, but did you know that sleep-related challenges affect 50 to 70 million Americans? The average time spent sleeping is about 1/3 of every person’s life span, so getting a good night’s sleep can provide many everyday health benefits. Consequently, not getting enough sleep may affect everyday functions like alertness, mood, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, learning ability, and even short-term memory. In fact, daytime sleepiness has been identified as a growing cause of on-the-job accidents and automobile mishaps.

What Is Sleep Efficiency & Why Is It Important?

Girl sleeping with a sleep mask on

The targeted number of sleep hours each night for adults is seven, according to the National Institute of Health. And if you are getting less than six-hours per night, you’re officially considered sleep deprived. But sleep is not just about the number of hours you get each night; it’s about the quality of sleep you get as well. Two important measurements for sleep are:

  1. Sleep Latency: The amount of time that it takes a person to fall asleep once they get into bed.
  2. Sleep Efficiency: The percentage of time spent asleep while a person is in bed. 

If you’re struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep after getting into bed you may need to re-evaluate your sleep habits. Try taking a hot shower or bath to wind down, limit screen time while in bed, and create a comforting, dark environment to prepare your body for rest. Sleep experts report that darkness helps the body create melatonin, a hormone that not only helps you to fall asleep, but also helps to keep you asleep for a restful night.

How to Calculate Sleep Efficiency

Older woman sleeping next to an alarm clock

You can calculate sleep efficiency on a calculator by dividing the amount of time spent asleep (in minutes) by the total amount of time in bed (in minutes). A normal sleep efficiency is considered to be 85% or higher. For example, let’s say you tried to go to bed at 10:00pm but didn’t fall asleep until 10:30pm. Then, you woke up from 2:30am – 3:00am, before going back to sleep until 6:00am. To calculate your sleep efficiency this night, your equation would be 7 hours for the time spent asleep divided by 8 hours, the total time in bed. To make for easier math, convert hours to minutes and you get 420 minutes divided by 480 minutes, giving you a 87.5% sleep efficiency score on this night’s sleep.

The Benefits of Taking Omega 3 Vitamins for Sleep Support

A girl that can't sleep looking at her alarm clock that says 3:35 AM

Both sleep latency and sleep efficiency are about falling asleep and staying asleep. There are many factors such as drinking caffeine after 3:00pm, light pollution, or exercising in the evening that contribute to how quickly you fall asleep and if your sleep is disturbed with times of wakefulness. If you find yourself consistently falling below the 7-hour sleep target, omega-3s may help. 

One family of nutrients essential for our health that cannot be made or stored by the body are Omega-3s. Your diet must include them, or you are not getting them. The most abundant Omega-3s are called Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). ALA comes from plants like nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables. Unfortunately, your body must convert ALA to EPA and DHA for the nutrients to be useful because these are not a preformed omega-3 fatty acid. On the other hand, EPA and DHA can be immediately beneficial when consumed; they are “preformed” Omega-3s.

DHA for Sleep

An older woman sleeping with a sleep mask on

A study in Nutrients, reported that supplementation of DHA omega-3 fish oil in healthy adults resulted in a significant increase in sleep efficiency and a significant decrease in sleep latency compared to placebo. In other words, people in the study were able to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer by supplementing with DHA for sleep. This same study reported that supplementation of EPA fish oil in healthy adults resulted in an increase in sleep efficiency as compared to placebo. The EPA group also reported a higher percentage of feeling energetic, rested, and ready to perform.

Good sleep promotes good health and the research shows using fish oil for sleep is a helpful tool! Good-quality sleep helps to provide the following benefits:

  • Good-quality sleep helps support a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don't get enough sleep, your ghrelin levels increase, and your leptin levels decrease. This makes you feel hungrier than when you're well-rested.
  • Sleep affects how your body reacts to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher-than-normal blood sugar level.
  • Sleep supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens, playing a role in puberty and fertility. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults.
  • Sleep affects your body’s ability to respond to germs. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way your body’s natural defense against germs responds. If you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble responding to germs.

Omega-3s and Other Vitamins for Sleep

A sleep mask, lavender, and a candle

In addition to good sleep habits like maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, sleeping in a quiet, dark room, and removing electronic devices, exercise and nutrition also play a role in good-quality sleep. Getting exercise throughout the day, in addition to avoiding large meals and caffeine before bedtime help support a good night’s sleep. On top of these healthy habits for restful sleep, omega 3s for sleep, especially omega-3s DHA and EPA, may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. In addition, adding vitamins like calcium and vitamin D have been shown to be beneficial for sleep support as well. Have you heard that a warm glass of milk before bed can be helpful for sleep? This is because calcium helps the body convert a hormone called tryptophan into melatonin, which plays a significant role in sleep. Vitamin D is also associated with healthy sleep cycles, particularly REM sleep, where dreaming and memory formation take place. Viactiv Calcium Chews provides 650mg of calcium and 500 IU of Vitamin D in just one chew. Bundled with Viactiv Omega Boost, which contains 1200mg of omega-3s, including 720mg of DHA and 295mg of EPA, in just two tasty Gel Bite Gummies, these supplements are a great combination that may help you sleep better.


The State of Sleep Health in America | American Sleep Apnea Organization |

Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency: How Sleep Affects Your Health | National Institutes of Health (NIH) | National Heart, Lungs, and Blood Institute

The Benefits of Sleeping in a Dark Room |

Sleep Efficiency | Hypersomnia Foundation |

Differential Effects of DHA- and EPA-Rich Oils on Sleep in Healthy Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial | Nutrients | MDPI

The Omega-3 Effect | Ask Dr. Sears

Sleep and Sleep Disorders: Tips for Better Sleep | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

How Calcium Supports Sleep | Experience Life By Life Time

Last Updated On: June 9, 2023

First Published On: June 9, 2023 

Back to blog

Shop Omega-3 & Calcium

1 of 3