Havig challenges gettig your toddler to go to their cot bed and staying there? The toddler phase is fun and exciting, but there’s no denying that it can be very challenging especially when it comes to sleep. From refusing to go to bed, and frequent night waking to them still having high energy, toddler sleep problems can also take a toll on parents’ sleep.
It feels like you have tried everything, from establishing a healthy sleep routine to timing their nap, but it often ends up with them still full of energy running around the house!
But did you know that changing what they eat and how they eat can actually improve their sleep?
A study says that eating better, healthier foods allow our body to get proper nutrients that create the needed elements to create amino acids that are needed to make us feel sleepy. Therefore, here’s an overview of the best foods to improve your toddler’s sleep.
What Are The Best Toddler Sleep Foods That Improve Their Sleep?
You may think that bananas are energy foods. In fact, bananas are also high in magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan, all of which can increase the melatonin level in our body and can help induce sleepiness, and relaxation and increase sleep time.
When eaten at night, bananas make your child fall asleep easier. And with all the nutrients it contains, it’s also a healthy choice for bedtime snacks.
There’s a reason why rice is the most eaten grain in the world; it helps us sleep better at night. It’s one of the best foods to help children sleep, thanks to its high amount of glycemic index (GI), which helps to release melatonin and serotonin that make us calm and relaxed. It’s lighter than most carbs, easy to digest, and doesn’t trigger gluten allergic reactions.
It’s hard to find children that don’t love oats. Not only does it make a tasty evening meal, but oats also make our body increase serotonin production, which also boosts melatonin, a natural sleeping hormone. In addition to offering rich minerals and vitamins, oats are also safe for before-bedtime snacks and are even suitable for babies who just started eating solid foods.
Looking for something you can alternate with bananas? Sweet potatoes are the answer. Just like bananas, it’s high in potassium and magnesium, which are found to help our body to relax and induce sleep hormone production. Sweet potatoes are also tasty and easy to prepare; it can be as simple as mixing them with milk in a blender!
Research from the University of Pennsylvania found that kids who eat fish at least once a week were having a better night’s sleep than those who don’t. And it’s not just that, those who ate more fish also scored higher on IQ tests!
The reason is fish is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial in improving sleep. And when it comes to a tasty fish that’s high in Omega 3, it’s definitely salmon!
High in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, honey is great for cough and illness treatment in children. But there’s also strong evidence that supports honey as a treatment to get better sleep! It works by promoting the production of melatonin in our body, which helps to make us feel sleepy at night. As a natural sweetener, honey is also easy to eat for children; you can easily mix it with milk or non-caffeinated tea such as chamomile and fennel tea.
Not only do pistachios taste great, but it’s also a great source of melatonin that helps us to sleep better. Pistachios are also baby-friendly, and an excellent source of nutrients such as protein, vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium, all of which are great to boost your child’s brain development and immunity.
Eggs are a no-brainer! It’s easy to prepare, high in protein and makes a great bedtime snack. And, thanks to its high amount of tryptophan, eggs also make children sleep better, especially when consumed at night.
Everybody knows how good spinach is for children. But did you know that it’s one of the veggies that contain a very high amount of magnesium and tryptophan? That means that just one serving of spinach at night can help your little one to sleep faster.
What foods to avoid?
If there’s good food that can help improve children’s sleep, there are also foods that prevent sleep hormone production, causing them to stay up and energetic even after bedtime. Here’s a quick overview of the foods you need to avoid before bedtime:
Any stimulant foods
Sugar, caffeine from tea, coffee, and chocolate, or carbonated drinks are all stimulant foods. These foods give your child energy when consumed at night, will keep them up for hours, and will prevent them from feeling sleepy. Worse, these types of foods also cause nightmares! So, it’s best to avoid any stimulant foods even hours before bedtime.
Broccoli is great for children. They’re highly nutritious, too! But broccoli is very high in fibre, which takes longer time to digest, which can cause a lack of sleepiness at night if consumed before bedtime.
Avoid french fries and white rolls: Both of these heavy foods can negatively affect sleep in their own ways. French fries contain a lot of grease which can cause nausea and other digestive issues. White dinner rolls are often stripped of their nutrients and contain unhealthy carbs with short-term energy. This means that your child is more likely to feel hungry in a few hours once they get into bed.
High carbs foods
High-carbs foods such as french fries, doughnuts, bread, gummy candy, Potato chips, and corn chips are best to avoid at night. These refined carbs can increase your blood sugar level, which triggers an insulin reaction and hormones that keep you awake at night.
Oftentimes, what our children eat is what determines their health and quality of sleep. No matter what good habit you try to establish, if they don’t eat right, they won’t sleep right. We hope that these ideas of the best foods for toddler sleep can help get your little one enough sleep.