It is common for toddlers to go through phases during which they have trouble falling or staying asleep. Its prevalence, though, does not make it any easier on a sleep-deprived parent. If you find yourself having bedtime battles with your toddler night after night, you might consider adding some of these sleep-inducing foods to your child’s diet. As some of these foods are potentially allergenic, be sure your child has no history of food allergies before serving them.
Chamomile is a flower that has long been used in teas for its calming effects. To use it as a sleep aid for your toddler, brew a cup of chamomile tea and sweeten it with 1 or 2 tsp. of honey (only if your child is at least 12 months of age). Allow it to cool slightly and then serve it to your child 30 minutes before bedtime. Be careful when buying teas designed as sleep aids—these sometimes contain other herbs that might not be safe for young children.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that has long been blamed for the post-Thanksgiving Dinner slump. While it does promote drowsiness, it can be found in many foods besides turkey. Try feeding your child a dinner or bedtime snack that includes the following high-tryptophan foods: milk, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds, shellfish, beans and eggs.
High Carb/Low Protein
This magic combination can help your child to get to sleep and stay asleep. Some high carb/low protein examples include apples with peanut butter, whole wheat crackers and cheese, a bagel with cream cheese, or cereal and milk.
Bananas are packed with sleep-inducing hormones and minerals. First, bananas contain melatonin and serotonin which help to calm you and regulate your sleep cycles. They also contain a healthy dose of magnesium which acts as a natural muscle relaxant.
If you think that drinking warm milk to help you sleep is an old wives’ tale, think again. Not only does milk contain that natural sleep aid, tryptophan, it also contains a ton of calcium which helps the body process tryptophan. If that isn’t enough, warm beverages raise the body temperature which also helps to induce sleep.