Sufficient and sound sleep is essential for kids. Healthy and sound sleep is essential for the healthy development of children. Many parents have trouble with their kids’ sleep time. Despite all their efforts, many times, it seems impossible to make kids go to sleep on time. Bedtime food or snacks have a direct influence on how well the kid sleeps at night.
Growing children need more sleep time as compared to adults. For instance, experts recommend a sound sleep of 9-11 hours for school-going children. Likewise, for preschoolers and toddlers, a sound sleep ranging between 10-13 hours is essential for healthy physical and mental development.
What Role Can Parents Play?
Solely parents are responsible for managing the schedules of preschoolers and school-going kids. This provides parents with more control over schedules and routines. There are some healthy tips that all parents should adopt. Following these tips can help your kids sleep well.
- Nutritionists recommend taking a big meal as early as 2-3 hours before going to bed.
- Make sure that your kids do not sleep on an empty stomach.
- Cut out caffeine and replace it with milk.
- Avoid foods that interfere with sleep
Foods To Avoid Before Bedtime
More specifically, for little kids, the question of how well the kid sleeps at night is much influenced by bedtime snacks and meals. Managing to avoid certain foods can really make the difference. Let us discuss some of these food sources.
1. Cut Out Caffeine
Coffee is not the only source of caffeine. Many parents would wonder that there is no way our kids are getting caffeine. However, unconsciously there are many ways kids do get caffeine. Knowing such foods and avoid giving them to children right before bedtime can help your kid sleep well.
Mainly chocolates and chocolate-flavored ice-creams are the main sources of caffeine in children. Eating these sources of caffeine before bedtime can really make it hard for kids to sleep. Caffeine increases alertness and influences sleep.
2. Avoid Alcohol
Parents might wonder that never in their scariest dreams have they given alcohol to their kids. However, it is cough and pain syrups that contain different alcohol levels. Primarily it might appear that such medicines make kids sleepy and drowsy. However, research suggests that alcohol makes it hard to sleep and prevents REM.
This makes kids wake up more frequently at night. Hence avoid giving such medications to kids before bedtime. Alcohol abuse is becoming a more common health issue among teens. There are many states like Florida where drug and alcohol abuse is increasing tremendously in figures. More rehab centers are working for alcohol addiction programs in Florida to fulfill high demand.
It is not always unhealthy food sources that can influence sleep in kids. Many times natural chemicals found in healthy foods also make it challenging to secure good sleep. Many kids love to have cheese regardless of any specific time. However, aged and mature cheese is rich in tyramine.
Tyramine is a natural stimulant that keeps the mind alert and keeps it awake. For this reason, do not allow your kids to have cheese right before bedtime. This will make it hard for them to fall asleep.
4. Cruciferous Veggies
Research suggests that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are very healthy and nutritious vegetables but for lunch. It is not advisable to eat these vegetables right before going to bed.
Such vegetables contain tough fiber, which takes more time to digest. With more digestion time and more high-calorie food, the temperature of the body tends to increase. The body, however, needs a cooler body to manage sound sleep.
5. Spicy Food
Too much spicy food can result in upsetting the little stomach of kids. Irritation, indigestion, and frequent stools can altogether make it hard for kids to sleep properly. It is therefore essential for parents to provide mildly spiced food and avoid food that is too spicy.
6. Sugary Sweets And Candies
Sugary sweets and candies are cortisol triggers. Cortisol is basically a stress hormone that naturally occurs in the body. It plays many other roles. For instance, with high levels of cortisol, the body produces more energy. High cortisol levels, especially at night, also make it difficult to sleep.
There are many food sources such as refined carbs, sodas, sugary sweets, and candies that are actually cortisol triggers. Furthermore, these also instantly spike blood sugar levels, and a few hours later, it will make children feel hungry.
7. Heavy Fatty And Salty Food
A heavy, fatty food might appear nourishing for kids, but it is generally not the case before bedtime. The food that is taken just before bedtime is stored in the body as fats. Studies have also found that late-night meals also affect learning and memorization in kids.
Heavy meals before bedtime are also a major cause of indigestion and other digestion issues. Heavy meals keep the body active through digestion. The body needs to relax in order to go to sleep.
8. Choose Low GI Foods
Foods that are high in glycemic index are actually cortisol triggers. It puts the body under stress and makes it hard to fall asleep. Parents are therefore advised to look for food options that have a low GI index. Whole grains, fish, poultry, eggs, and vegetables have a low GI index.
Low GI food sources with the help of moderate cortisol levels in the body support sound sleep during the night. Also, whole grain good sources keep kids fuller throughout the night.
It is essential to consider several key points, especially for bedtime meals, to help children secure good sleep. Never allow children to get to sleep on an empty stomach as this might cause disturbance in the quality of sleep. Healthy nutrition in kids supports good sleep and helps in physical and mental development. On the contrary, unhealthy food can give rise to many health issues in kids.