What scientists coin as the ‘sleep tonic’, melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain which helps regulate our body clock, telling us when it’s time for bed. It’s also used for regulating our moods, along with dopamine.
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.
- Bananas contain melatonin, as well as serotonin, which helps to calm you and regulate your sleep cycles. They also contain magnesium and potassium, both of which are muscle relaxers. Instead of plain bananas, another option is to prepare a banana smoothie with a banana, some low-fat milk and a few cubes of ice. The calcium and tryptophan in the milk will enhance the sleep-inducing effects of the melatonin and serotonin..
- Kiwifruit 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 relaxation of the body’s muscles. Kiwis are also an excellent source of vitamin K, which our bodies need for healthy bones and teeth.
-Cherries (cut in half and with the stone removed for toddlers) are another great food 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.
- Chamomile tea is great to drink before bed, especially for children. Chamomile tea is made from dried flowers of the plant and it contains high levels of calming compounds like chamazulene that are able to fight anxiety. I add a little honey as well for extra sweetener.
Sleep well x