School starts next week and my kids summer sleep habits have been awful! Up all night and sleep all day. Yes, I have teenagers! We are in school prep mode and I am pulling out all the stops to get these guys back on track.
A night of peaceful, deep and quality sleep is a blessing that only the sleep-deprived and insomniacs can truly appreciate. Sleep is especially important for children. Growing kids experience a lot of inflammation and rest is important for their growing bodies. Kids don’t need just one, but plenty of nights filled with rest and sleep, try the following tips and tricks. If your kids are like mine, they will want a snack before bed too. Who can beat a healthy snack before bed that will promote sleep! Moms and dads, you can try these suggestions too especially if you find yourself tossing and turning in your bed at night instead of sleeping?
- Turn off the TV, iPad, laptop and overhead lights: flip on a lamp with warm amber light and enjoy a book. The blue lights produced by our electronics interrupt our circadian rhythm thus hindering a good night’s sleep. 300 years ago, our evenings were filled with candlelight and earlier bedtimes when the sun went down. Our brains and bodies were not meant for the late-night blue light special.
- Get some sunshine: YES! Getting morning sun can help to balance your circadian rhythm and help you sleep. Early morning sun is best for about 20 minutes. Sit outside, enjoy your coffee, have the kids eat breakfast on the patio, or take a quick walk. Make it a point to avoid the hot midday sun.
- Epsom salts: an Epsom salt bath can be calming and relaxing especially after a long day at school. Epsom salts are rich in magnesium and magnesium runs over 300 different functions in our bodies. Most Americans are magnesium deficient and that includes our kids. I like to recommend 3 cups of salts in a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. The magnesium is calming and will help you sleep. Plus, Epsom salts are super cheap, mom win!
Do you need a snack before bed? Give these yummies a try!
- Chamomile: (this one is for mom)
Although you kids can enjoy chamomile too if you have a bed wetter, I recommend avoiding the evening tea.
Chamomile tea is a popular sleep-inducing tea that helps eliminate stress and anxiety. Before you go to bed, take a moment to sip a warm cup of chamomile herbal tea to relax, unwind and de-stress.
Pistachios are not only tasty, but they are a jackpot for sleep. They are jampacked with magnesium, protein, and vitamin B6, which have a major role in inducing sleep. Consuming a healthy amount of pistachios before going to bed will knock you out like nothing else. You can eat them raw or add them to a glass of warm milk. However, more than one ounce of pistachios will have a reverse effect on your body; eat in moderation to avoid exacerbating your sleep issues.
Fruits that contain fructose can promote sleep, so before going to bed, you snack on some berries and fruits that are sweet in taste.
- Tart cherry juice:
This juice contains high levels of melatonin, which is responsible for inducing sleep in your body. It can improve the quality of your sleep by regulating your body’s sleep cycles. A study conducted by Louisiana State University found that by insomniacs who drank tart cherry juice increased their sleep time by 90 minutes!
This fruit is a powerhouse of magnesium and potassium, which serve as natural sleep aids for your body. If you are feeling wide awake at late into the night, try a banana or two to get yourself to sleep. You can even whip yourself up a thick sugar-free banana shake before you go to bed.
Walnuts contain an amino acid called tryptophan that helps induce and enhance. This amino acid is responsible for the production of melatonin and serotonin, which improve the quality of our sleep by regulating the sleep cycles. The best part about walnuts is that they contain melatonin, so they are not only helping in the production of melatonin, but they add a little more to help you fall asleep even faster.
- Pumpkin seeds:
A cup of pumpkin seeds contains around 420 mg of magnesium, which is the daily recommendation of the National Health Institute. Magnesium is also a sleep-inducing agent for your body. If you cannot find pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds or sunflower seeds are great substitutions.
*mix some pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and pistachios for simple nighty-night trail mix.
The search for the elusive “good night’s sleep” can be frustrating and exhausting. Kids need it, mom needs it, dad needs it, we all need it! Enjoy these simple tips and tricks to help you sleep. Now sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.