Did you know that food plays a role in sleep? Yes, this is true. I am not just talking eliminating caffeine and sugars before bedtime for your little one either. Although it would be wise to avoid these items if you think this could be causing some of their poor sleep habits.
Believe it or not there are sleep inducing foods and foods to avoid. Sleep inducing foods are high in tryptophan. Tryptophan has a calming effect on the brain making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Hence, Thanksgiving Turkey coma -- and wanting to take a nap after you begin to digest that holiday bird.
How does tryptophan have a calming effect? The body coverts the amino acid into serotonin and melatonin which puts the body in a relaxed state.
Additionally, foods that are high in complex carbs and have small amounts of proteins will also improve sleep. Protein can affect sleep because your body has to work hard to break it down. Dairy products (particularly milk) are jam-packed with tryptophan and a great option to have before bedtime. Just be sure to brush your little one's teeth afterwards because milk can cause tooth decay if consumed before bedtime.
Below are a few examples of sleep inducing foods to offer your little one as a snack before bed or for dinner to promote some Zs:
Whole grain toast with a pat of butter
Whole grain cereal (without sugar)
Whole grain pretzels or crackers
Whole grain bagel or pasta
Banana, kiwi, cherries
Almond butter or peanut butter on graham crackers
A handful of almonds and a glass of milk
And here are some foods to AVOID That can work against sleep:
Caffeine (soda, chocolate, chocolate ice cream)
High protein or fatty foods such as burgers and red meat
Beans and legumes
High sugar cereals
Have questions? Drop a note below and I'll be sure to respond.
photo credit: @amanda_fit.twin.mom