Food has a calming effect on the body or an energizing effect.
When you have children who do not sleep well, knowing what type of food fuels energy and what type of food fuels the release of sleep-triggering hormones serotonin and melatonin is helpful.
Sleep-triggering snack 30-minutes before bed
The effect of food on the body begins about 30-minutes after eating. Therefore, give your baby or toddler an appropriate snack or drink 30-minutes before you expect him to sleep. If on solids, this does not mean holding off his dinner but rather giving him a little something extra after dinner as well.
Too busy digesting to sleep
Give red meat, sausages, ham, simple carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta and sugary foods (including fruit) earlier in the day to avoid the effect of increased energy in the night. Complex-carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain bread are better choices for sleep.
Protein foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan are suitable choices for an evening meal and pre-bedtime snack because they boost the sleep-triggering hormone melatonin and control hunger.
Dinner and evening snack ideas
- Wholegrain cereal with warm milk
- Natural yoghurt and sliced apple or banana
- Wholegrain rice cake spread with natural peanut butter
- Melted hard cheese on wholegrain toast
- Cashew or peanut butter spread on a dry wholegrain and oat wheat-bix
- Cottage cheese and tuna with avocado and wholegrain pasta
- Cooked eggs and wholegrain toast fingers
- Rice pudding made with brown rice
- Banana smoothie made with coconut milk.
This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.