n-3 and n-6 PUFAs have physiologic roles in sleep processes, but little is known regarding circulating n-3 and n-6 PUFA and sleep parameters.


We sought to assess associations between biomarkers of n-3 and n-6 PUFA intake with self-reported sleep duration and difficulty falling asleep in the Fatty Acids and Outcome Research Consortium.


Harmonized, de novo, individual-level analyses were performed and pooled across 12 cohorts. Participants were 35–96 y old and from 5 nations. Circulating measures included α-linolenic acid (ALA), EPA, docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), DHA, EPA + DPA + DHA, linoleic acid, and arachidonic acid. Sleep duration (10 cohorts, n = 18,791) was categorized as short (≤6 h), 7–8 h (reference), or long (≥9 h). Difficulty falling asleep (8 cohorts, n = 12,500) was categorized as yes or no. Associations between PUFAs, sleep duration, and difficulty falling asleep were assessed by cross-sectional multinomial logistic regression using standardized protocols and covariates. Cohort-specific multivariable-adjusted ORs per quintile of PUFAs were pooled with inverse–variance weighted meta-analysis.


In pooled analysis adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and health status, participants with higher very long-chain n-3 PUFAs were less likely to have long sleep duration. In the top compared with the bottom quintiles, the multivariable-adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for long sleep were 0.78 (95% CI: 0.65, 0.95) for DHA and 0.76 (95% CI: 0.63, 0.93) for EPA + DPA + DHA. Significant associations for ALA and n-6 PUFA with short sleep duration or difficulty falling asleep were not identified.


Participants with higher concentrations of very long-chain n-3 PUFAs were less likely to have long sleep duration. While objective biomarkers reduce recall bias and misclassification, the cross-sectional design limits assessment of the temporal nature of this relation. These novel findings across 12 cohorts highlight the need for experimental and biological assessments of very long-chain n-3 PUFAs and sleep duration.

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This work was supported by IAFNS Dietary Lipids Committee.