Foods That Help Toddlers Sleep Better At Night
Getting toddlers to sleep is challenging! From high energy levels before bedtime, and sugary snacks during the day, to night wakings there is always something that can seem to throw bedtime off.
Although bedtime sleep issues are common at this age, it can be frustrating as a parent, especially when you think your night waking days are finally coming to an end.
Thankfully there are some foods to add to your child’s diet that help your toddler get a good night’s sleep! plus they’re healthy too!
This post is going to list the best evening snacks which work like a sleep aid to give your toddler’s melatonin levels a boost, so they can drift off to sleep easier!
(This page may contain affiliate links you can read the full disclosure here)
What Is Melatonin And Why Should You Choose Bedtime Snacks That Contain It?
Everyone has natural melatonin circulating in their body, but the levels increase when it is dark outside.
Melatonin plays a crucial role in regulating sleep cycles and can help with insomnia or trouble sleeping. It binds to cells in the brain, signaling them to switch from being awake and alert to slipping into slumber mode.
When babies and young children don’t get enough sleep the body releases a natural stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone makes it difficult to fall asleep and gives children that second hyper wind you often find right before bedtime!
To promote healthy nighttime sleeping habits for toddlers, you should choose bedtime snacks with melatonin, together with a good wind-down routine, bedtime snacks can really affect how your little one falls asleep and also how they sleep through the night.
So What Types of Foods Can I Feed My Toddler To Sleep Through The Night?
For toddlers, the best snacks to help them sleep are foods rich in tryptophan and melatonin. Tryptophan is an amino acid that aids serotonin production which helps promote relaxation. And melatonin is the body’s natural sleep hormone.
Bananas Are A Great Bedtime Snack To Boost Melatonin
Bananas are a great evening snack for toddlers because they are loaded with melatonin. This sleep-promoting fruit also contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is considered to be the precursor of serotonin and melatonin – both sleep-inducing hormones.
Additionally, bananas have an alkalizing effect on the body that can help promote relaxation before bedtime, thus improving the quality of sleep.
If your child is over the age of two you can also give them these low-dose melatonin gummies with chamomile to encourage and promote sleep.
Yogurt & Dairy
Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, and cheese contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin.
But that´s not all… they also contain calcium, which helps the body process tryptophan and produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin!
Giving your toddler a glass of warm milk, breast milk, or natural yogurt with a banana 1 hour before bed will have a calming effect and help your toddler to relax and fall asleep easier.
Oatmeal For Dinner For Better Sleep
Oatmeal doesn’t just have to be for breakfast! It is a great dinner choice for toddlers because it contains complex carbohydrates and protein, and helps control blood sugar levels.
The carbs help to promote serotonin production, which in turn boosts melatonin secretion – this means that oatmeal is a great option for your child’s evening meal when you’re looking at foods to improve sleep quality and help your child get a good night’s sleep.
Oatmeal also keeps your toddler full for longer, which can encourage better quality sleep.
To make a creamy bowl of sleepy-time oatmeal simply blend some oats in your blender until it resembles a fine powder. Cook with milk of your choice on the stove. Once cooked add some bananas or mash the bananas into the oatmeal to naturally sweeten it. Wait until the oatmeal is cooled enough to eat.
You can also make a batch of granola bars with oatmeal and give your child a healthy homemade oaty granola bar as an evening snack.
Kiwi For A Good Night’s Sleep?
If your toddler likes kiwis try giving them as a bedtime snack 1 hour before bed. Kiwis are rich in potassium, which is a natural muscle relaxant.
Kiwi fruit is also high in Vitamin C and E – these vitamins work together to promote the relaxation of the body’s muscles. Kiwis are also an excellent source of vitamin K, which our bodies need for healthy bones and teeth.
Kiwis have been shown to help adults and children fall asleep faster too according to the results of this study
Cherries or Tart Cherry Juice
Want the best sleep try eating cherries! Cherries (cut in half and with the stone removed for toddlers) are another great small snack that helps promote sleep. Cherries are high in melatonin and are packed with antioxidants which cause an increase in the production of serotonin – this is a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of happiness as well as restful sleep.
If you don’t have cherries you can also give your toddler some tart cherry juice. Try to make sure the juice is natural without any high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
Chamomile tea is great to drink before bed, especially for children. The tea is made from dried flowers of the plant and contains high levels of calming compounds like chamazulene that are able to fight anxiety.
Also, chamomile tea is a mild tranquilizer, which can help to calm the body and mind.
If you have trouble calming your child before bed, try brewing a cup of chamomile tea with a teaspoon of honey in the hour leading up to bedtime. Just make sure it’s not too hot so they can drink it comfortably.
Other Tips To Help Your Toddler Sleep
Make Sure Your Toddler Is Not Overtired!
An overtired toddler will have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. This is because the body releases cortisol when a child is overtired, which can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep and can lead to bedtime battles. Trying to get an overtired toddler to sleep is not easy, which can lead to frustration for both parent and child.
But how do you make sure your toddler is not overtired? The best way to help avoid a tired toddler is by giving them a consistent bedtime. Your little one should be going down at the same time every night in order to get their body used to this routine
If your toddler has had an active day with lots of physical activity or excitement, you may want to give them a bath an hour before bedtime and move bedtime a little earlier than usual to make sure they have the hours of sleep they need.
You may like 4 baths every toddler and child should have
Wind Down Hour and Bedtime Routine
An hour before bed it’s a good idea to switch off all digital devices, dim the lights or put on a night light that doesn’t emit blue light, and put on calming music. This youtube channel has calming non-stimulating bedtime stories perfect for toddlers and younger children to listen to without flashing images etc perfect for playing over a speaker!. This gives young kids a chance to wind down before bedtime and will help them prepare for sleep. This is the perfect time to give your toddler a healthy evening snack.
A bedtime routine is important too! Set out clothes, brush teeth, read a story then give hugs goodnight. Having this set in place helps toddlers know what’s expected.
If you’re looking for foods to help your toddler sleep try giving your child a banana, oatmeal, or some kiwi an hour before bed. All of these foods are great options for promoting better sleep in your toddler. Each one contains natural ingredients that help to relax the body and mind, leading to a more restful slumber.
If you’re looking for additional ways to improve your child’s sleep and build good sleep habits, make sure to try some or all of these tips in their evening routine!