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Sleepy Foods

Food can have a significant impact on sleep quality, and understanding the role of "sleepy foods" can make a big difference. What your child consumes in the day will influence their sleep at night, this means avoiding sugary snacks, particularly in the evening, and instead introducing foods that can help aid sleep as outlined below. We have a great smoothie recipe that is delicious and packed with super-sleep ingredients. It's the ultimate after-dinner treat to aid a restful night's sleep - view this recipe in the Marvellous App.

 

Keep in mind that, while food plays a role in sleep, it's just one part of the equation. It is essential to adopt a holistic approach that considers various factors like routine and environment. 



Magnesium-rich foods 

Foods, like almonds, that are rich in magnesium and have blood sugar stabilising properties, can promote relaxation and better sleep. Whole nuts shouldn’t be given to children under 5 but almond butter is a great alternative (as long as there is no risk of allergy). Bananas, rich in magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan, can also be blended with milk for a soothing bedtime drink.  

 

Dairy 

Dairy products, including yoghurt, milk, and cheese, are packed with minerals that help you sleep better and feel less stressed. They are a terrific source of calcium, which helps turn tryptophan into serotonin, the "feel-good" neurotransmitter that regulates both your mood and sleep. Serotonin can then become melatonin, the hormone that guides your sleep-wake cycle. So, enjoying dairy can give your child a helping hand in producing melatonin, making them sleep more restfully. 

 

Porridge and cereal 

Porridge/oatmeal, with its sleep-boosting properties and essential minerals, is a fantastic choice for promoting a good night's sleep and adding bananas on top is a bonus. Even cereal, when not sugar-coated, can be a healthy and sleep-friendly snack by increasing tryptophan availability in the bloodstream.  

 

Cherries 

Tart cherries are known to boost melatonin production naturally, making cherries (juiced, fresh, frozen, or dried) a great sleep aid. Just be sure to only ever give children cherries that have had their stones removed, as cherry stones are a choking hazard. 

 

Key definitions and how they relate to sleep 

Melatonin

A hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, is pivotal in governing the sleep-wake cycle. It aids in falling asleep faster, sustaining sleep, and adapting sleep patterns. Melatonin levels increase in the evening, marking the body's readiness for sleep, and are influenced by exposure to light. 

 

Magnesium

An essential mineral that aids sleep by promoting relaxation, regulating melatonin, preventing muscle tension, and regulating stress hormones like cortisol.  

 

Tryptophan

An essential amino acid found in certain foods. It plays a vital role in sleep because it's a precursor to serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin helps regulate mood and relaxation, while melatonin controls the sleep-wake cycle. Tryptophan-rich foods can promote relaxation and better sleep quality. 

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