Dreamy Nutrition = A Better Night’s Sleep
As most parents know, food, and the nutrients we get from food, affect our children’s bodies above and beyond giving them energy. In addition to supporting a healthy immune system, building muscle, and creating a strong gut biome, quality foods/snacks play a big role in helping to fill-up little tummies, provide important nutrition, as well as helping them settle down for (or interfering with!) a good night’s sleep.
Are some foods better than others for making you feel sleepy?
Yep, it’s true! The foods your LO eats can directly impact the sleep they get. Some foods are high in tryptophan (an amino acid), which makes serotonin, which, in turn, produces melatonin – a hormone in the body that helps with sleep regulation. Thankfully, these foods are easy to find + serve during mealtimes or as bedtime snacks…like these:
- Chia or Pumpkin Seeds*
- Turkey Meat
- Cherry Juice
Pro tip: Nuts/seeds are a choking hazard for little mouths, which is why we love baby-friendly, quick-dissolve nut butter puffs like Mission MightyMe, who make it easy to keep nuts in little diets consistently at home or on the go, with no mess and no stress. These pediatrician-developed, nutritious puffs come in four tasty flavors (Peanut Butter Puffs, Nut Butter Puffs, Peanut Butter Strawberry Puffs and Peanut Butter Banana Puffs) are all made with clean ingredients, packed with more than 50% nuts and designed to age up.
Plus, MightyMe’s free online Early Allergen Introduction Guide features helpful tips and tricks for including allergens in your baby’s diet – because feeding littles should be fun! Use code SLUMBERPOD20 when you shop for 20% off first-time orders.
Are there certain foods that can dysregulate kiddo’s sleep?
Unfortunately, yes, big time! These are good to keep in mind if you’re traveling, out to eat or maybe aren’t sure of:
- Caffeine – some little bodies are more sensitive to it than others, and caffeine can be found in A LOT of our foods/drinks. Avoid it as much as you can.
- Chocolate – if dessert is frequently offered with mealtime, keep it lighter in the evenings to avoid giving your LO an energy surge before bed.
- Lots of sugar – try to serve sweetened foods within a few hours of bedtime to avoid a sugar rush-and-crash combo. Or pair the sweet treat with a substantial fat or fiber to *hopefully* curb the energy swing.
Your Pre-Bedtime Nutrition Plan
The best foods for promoting sleep are functional options (see list above) that are intertwined with dinner or offered as a bedtime snack. If your child is hungry after mealtime, it’s okay to give your LO a bedtime snack. As a general rule, if it’s been a few hours since dinnertime or you think they’re genuinely hungry, a substantial snack can go a long way!
Aim for nutrient-rich meals or snacks that: keep them full (e.g. complex carbs), are packed with protein, and a good source of healthy fat. This is the dreamy combination.
Pro Tip: 1 hour before going to sleep is the bedtime snack sweet spot! It’ll help ensure they’re full and can go to sleep satisfied without interrupting digestion, and gives a buffer for bathtime and brushing their teeth. Check to see if they still have an appetite for breakfast the following morning. If you notice this starts to decrease, they probably don’t need the snack as they’re too full to eat.
It’s also a good reminder to give your child the perfect sleeping environment to achieve a good night’s sleep – ANYWHERE. SlumberPod products make it easy for you and your family to get more rest, at-home or on the road. Yes, please! The portable, privacy sleep nook allows babies to sleep in their safe and familiar playard, mini crib or toddler air mattress with room to sit up or stand up inside – making it easy for parents to support that sleep!
About Catherine Mitchell Jaxon
Catherine is an Atlanta-based mom of three, and her oldest daughter is allergic to most nuts. As a mom who knows what a burden food allergies can be for families, Catherine is passionate about helping other parents get proactive about preventing them. Prior to founding Mission MightyMe, Catherine was an award-winning journalist with CNN and is still an avid researcher and a journalist at heart.