Did you know that what’s on your child’s plate has a powerful influence on how well they sleep?
Many things influence your child’s ability to fall asleep and to stay asleep. It may surprise you to learn that what your child is eating - and drinking - can make things better….or worse!
Four Food Swaps to Improve Sleep
- Whole grains instead of refined grains. If your child's usual foods include highly processed crackers, noodles, and cookies, it may make it harder for your child to sleep. Lower glycemic-index foods to sleep better. Choose quinoa or brown rice pasta instead of mac and cheese and popcorn or berries instead of crackers.
- Tart cherry juice instead of energy drinks and soda. Sugary drinks (with or without caffeine) make it much more difficult for your family to stay asleep. Your teenager might be drinking more than you’d guess - 73% of teenagers are having caffeine daily - be sure to ask! And while a moderate amount of caffeine is safe for most teenagers, having more than 400mg of caffeine in a day may be harmful. Instead of sports drinks, energy drinks, and frappuccinos, have a small glass of tart cherry juice. It is anti-inflammatory and may help your child to fall asleep more quickly.
- Salmon instead of lunchmeat. Salmon, especially wild-caught salmon, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid. And while both are a great source of protein, salmon is much richer in essential omega 3 fatty acids. Children taking an omega-3 supplement may improve your child’s sleep quality and quantity. Is a salmon dinner on Friday night going to let everyone sleep in later on Saturday? It just might!
- Nuts and seeds instead of sweets. More sugar from processed cookies, cakes, and snacks is associated with a shorter night’s sleep and worse quality sleep. Instead of dessert every night, offer fresh fruit. Have almonds as a healthy snack instead of cookies. Not only are nuts and seeds free of added sugar, they’re rich in magnesium which also promotes good sleep quality - bonus!
Two Habits to Build a Better Bedtime Routine
- Pick a bedtime and stick with it. Consistency helps to build a routine. We recommend turning off screens an hour or two before bed.
- Read a book and enjoy a mug of chamomile tea. Reading to your child or having your child read to you may be a nice way to unwind and connect - away from screens. A calming mug of herbal tea may help your child to sleep better, too!
Is your child struggling to sleep and stay asleep? Brain Balance may be able to help! For over a decade, we’ve helped over 45,000 children improve the critical skills needed to create a brighter future. Contact us online to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help. You can also view the research and results of the program on the website.
- Holly Larson, Registered Dietitian
Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.