Omega 3 And Insomnia

I am new to the Bulletproof diet;  I just started it right after Thanksgiving, along with my wife.  We bought most of the supplements Dave recommends, but we bought fish oil instead of krill due to my wife’s inability to swallow pills.  


I was taking a serving of fish oil daily, with no problems up until 12/22, which is when I started to develop insomnia.  I took an additional serving of fish oil that day because I had eaten a number of almonds and wanted more omega 3 oil to offset the additional omega 6.  That night, I couldn’t fall asleep, and when I did finally fall asleep, it was a very light sleep, never reaching a deep sleep.  I mistakenly took another dose of fish oil in the morning and again had insomnia that next night.  Recognizing what was happening, I stopped the fish oil on the 24th and immediately experienced an easier time falling asleep and deeper, more restorative sleep.  


I first linked omega 3 oils to insomnia between 2007 and 2009 when I discovered the work of Brian Peskin (  Peskin states one should avoid fish oil, but supplement with organic, raw plant based “parent” essential oils in a ratio of roughly 1:3 (Ω3:Ω6).  I followed Peskin’s advice, combining different plant based oils, such as hemp, chia seed, and flax oil, taking them in the ratio he recommended.  I don’t remember how long it took to develop, but I while taking these oils, I experienced the worst insomnia of my life.  I would lay in bed at night and just sit there, tossing and turning, never falling into a deep, restorative sleep.  It was at this time that I started drinking coffee regularly, just to get through the day.  I think there were some other supplements Peskin recommended that I started taking at the same time, so it took me a while to link the insomnia to the oils.  


I emailed Peskin and his only advice was to take his brand of PEO’s that he sells, of course, because “nobody experienced insomnia” on his shit.  So I started searching “omega 3 and insomnia” or something similar to that on Google, which is when I found the work of Ray Peat (  Ray believes ALL polyunsaturated oils should be avoided, including fish oil.  “The food-derived polyunsaturated fatty acids play important roles in the development of all of the problems associated with aging--reduced immunity, insomnia…”  Ray Peat recommends only consuming coconut oil, olive oil, butter and MCT oil, quite similar to Dave.


I have noticed that it usually takes between a couple days, up to over a month of omega 3 supplementation to where I start to develop insomnia.  It happens with both animal based and plant based oils.  I have taken krill oil in the past, and I believe krill caused the insomnia as well.  I have yet to hear of anyone with the same experience with omega 3 oils and insomnia as myself.  How essential are “essential” fatty acids if they cause extreme insomnia?  I’m interested if anyone else here has had a similar experience to mine.  


  • Thanks for the input.  


    I did say I just started the diet, but I have been eating healthy for a while now... besides my miserable attempt at raw vegan 6 or 7 years ago.  Previous to Bulletproof, my diet still consisted of mostly grass fed beef, pastured eggs, organic coffee, lots of coconut oil... basically, the largest change for me is increasing the fat content with bp coffee and cutting out gluten.  I was drinking mostly organic instant coffee, which I will no longer drink after trying bp coffee.


    I can be sensitive to caffeine, so I typically don't drink any past 2pm.  I have been trying to "hack" my sleep for years now.  I am a longtime reader of and other sites.  I have black out drapes, f.lux installed on my iMac, blue light blocking glasses, sleep grounded, etc, etc.  I have basically read all of it.  Maybe I didn't emphasize it enough, but I am 100% certain my insomnia is brought on by omega 3 oils.  Various times I forget how sensitive to it I am and buy some chia seed from the grocery store, and within the week of taking chia, the insomnia comes back.  Flax seed, same thing.  The only variable is the chia/flax/omega 3 supplement.  Prior to the recent insomnia, I was sleeping better than I have in years due to the bp diet, and that is with drinking two cups of bp coffee a day.  Since cutting out the fish oil again, I am starting to sleep better and better, but still am admittedly lacking.


    I agree with the Ray Peat being a bit of a nut, but I also think some of his recommendations are valid... beyond the drinking 2 quarts of milk and 1 quart of orange juice a day.  

  • Interesting you bring up insomnia and omega 3 oils. I also recently developed insomnia, about the same time I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I assumed my thyroid meds caused it. I didn't think anything of it, but I also started taking at the same time this new fish oil called Arctic Ruby Oil (Calanus Oil). I'll try cutting this oil out and see if it affects my insomnia.


    I'm also familiar with Brian Peskin and have read his writings. I'm somewhat skeptical of his claims as there are so many positive studies in the literature about the benefits of omega 3's, particularly DHA as it relates to brain health and omega 3's in general for cardiovascular health.

  • Krill oil caused sleep issues for me when I took at night. It caused my heart rate to increase. I stopped taking it since I eat a ton of salmon.

  • Hi,

    I was tested low for Omega 3 and Coq10. I had been on an average dose of Krill oil which I took with dinner (evenings) and then a small dose of coq10. I was retested and both my coq10 and omega 3 levels were still low.

    So I increased my coq10 which felt good and gave me more steady energy etc... then shortly after I started a new algae (vegan) omega 3 supplement which was more potent than the Krill oil I had been taken.

    Well it seemed that I had no negative effects from the omega 3 oils but I eventually started having worsening insomnia! I was tired, both mentally and physically but it was like the top front part of my brain was alert. I never felt sleepy or groggy. And I had a hard time falling asleep, wake up multiple times, and had week not refreshing sleep. And it's been that way ever since.

    So, I have been suspecting either the Omega 3 supplement or the coq10 and extra exercise as the culprit. But now after reading this article along with some other stuff I've read I have to wonder if it is the omega 3 supplement that is causing this worsening insomnia. I was taking it with dinner the moved it to breakfast but that didn't seem to help.

    I have to wonder if the krill oil was also contributing to some of my insomnia as well. Anyway thought I would cut my omega 3 dose in half and see how I do but I think I will just discontinue it altogether for now and see how it
    goes then maybe introduce half a dose and see what happens.

    I wonder why Omega 3 can cause insomnia? Is there a missing cofactor that would help?


  • I tried using Omega 3 for 2 weeks on daily basis,

    but nothing worked for me. Was i supposed to use it along with something else ?

  • JennyRJennyR
    edited February 2018

    I am so sensitive to omega-3s that I get insomnia from eating salmon! It look me years and years to figure it out; I thought my partner put a herb blend on the salmon that had MSG on it, etc. But, I finally ate salmon that I had caught myself the day before, steamed, with only salt on it, and very bland white rice. I was awake all night!

    Do you have other foods that trigger insomnia? I know for me any kind of glutamate or glutamine or glutamic acid is bad. I can't take glucosamine for joint issues, for example. Most "stimulants" for your brain like ginseng, ginkgo biloba, Co-Q, SAM-e, etc. keep me awake. And the usual suspects: MSG, extremely low quantities of caffine from any source.

    I also get insomnia from "stimulating" topical products like Rogaine, facial wrinkle removers or collagen "booster," and even tea tree shampoo. There was a really lovely hand cream from Whole Foods with "minerals" that also kept me awake.

    I'm feeling really discouraged and freakish. Now I just read that histamines may be also be stimulating. :-( I haven't noticed it, but maybe I need to be even more careful. What am I going to eat for dinner??

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