Experts recognize that diet can affect the sleep patterns of children. Statistics suggest that many children – as many as 49 percent – have a sleep issue. Diet is the cause of some of those sleep issues. It is important to make sure that your child has enough food to sustain them throughout the night so that they are not waking up because they are hungry. However, you also need to be aware of what foods help and hinder your child’s sleep.
Foods That Help Your Child’s Sleep
You can pick from a healthy variety of foods to help aid your child’s restful sleep. Choose one or more of the following to help your child get to sleep at night:
Milk, fromage frais, yoghurt, and cheese all make good choices.
Peanut butter helps the body increase the production of serotonin, which helps promote sleep.
An amino acid, tryptophan is helpful for promoting sleep. Foods containing tryptophan are turkey, milk, chicken, tuna, and soybeans.
Steel cut oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and fruits such as apples, cherries, plums or pears are good choices.
A great source of magnesium, which helps to promote muscles and therefore relaxation, bananas also help the body create melatonin, which makes one feel sleepy.
Foods That Hinder Your Child’s Sleep
In order to make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep, avoid feeding some foods during the evening hours. Some foods may boost your child’s energy and make it difficult for them to get to sleep. Other foods may be difficult to digest. Therefore, it is best to avoid feeding your children the following foods:
If you do choose to serve a bowl of cereal as an evening snack, pick a whole-grain variety as the slow release of carbs in these types of cereals aids sleep. A bowl of hot oatmeal works well on cold nights.
Check labels on hot chocolate mixes to make sure they do not contain caffeine. Additionally, avoid colas and other sugared carbohydrate drinks, all of which contain sugar and many of which have caffeine.
Pasta, bread and rolls, and after-dinner desserts should be avoided, as these high-carb foods can make it difficult for your child to get to sleep. Try unsweetened fruit if you child likes something sweet after supper.
Pizza, Mexican food, pasta sauce, and other spicy foods make it difficult for some children to get to sleep at night.
Since diet affects sleep, it is important to be aware of what you feed your children. Sufficient, restful sleep is crucial for proper brain and body development, and diet can either help or hinder your child’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. A good diet leads to better sleep and happier children.