If babies awake a few times a night, that’s normal. However, if babies are up every few minutes or every hour, you may have a sleep challenge on your hands. When it comes to children, it is ideal for them to sleep for at least 8 hours in a row. If a child awakes and feels rested within 5-10 minutes, they are getting enough sleep. When a child is tired, nothing is easy. Here are 5 possible repercussions of insufficient sleep including dietary causes:
- The challenge of feeling tired.
- A compromised immune system, increasing susceptibility to food sensitivities and sickness.
- Diminished mental function, increasing their risk of harmful accidents
- An increased focus on the negatives rather than the positives
- Appetite changes (a child might eat more to gain energy or eat less because they are too tired)
Here are 4 dietary causes of sleep challenges:
1. The Timing of Meals – Not eating often enough (everyone needs to eat every 3 hours) or eating too close to bedtime can be big contributors to sleep challenges
2. Adverse Reactions to Foods – The biggest dietary cause of insomnia is dairy products; (cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese etc.). Chemicals can cause nightmares. Caffeine, found in chocolate for example, can cause the heart to race. Any food sensitivity or allergy can interfere with sleep which is why it’s important to find out your child’s specific culprits.
3. Quality of Food Eaten – Foods lacking in vitamins and minerals interfere with healthy sleep patterns. White refined flour and refined sugar, which form a major part of many children’s diets, are devoid of nutrients; sugar is actually an anti-nutrient, which means it actually depletes the body of vitamins or minerals. A body devoid of nutrients has a hard time sleeping for long periods.
4. Quantity of Food Eaten – Too much food or not enough food eaten can contribute to sleep challenges. A portion size is the size of our palm without the fingers – the more we eat, the more we work our digestive system and the harder it is for it to rest at night!
At this juncture, I would like to introduce you to Deanna Lorusso of Family Bliss, an infant and child sleep consultant and certified Gentle Sleep Coach®. Family Bliss works with parents of children from newborn age through to 6 years old who have sleep challenges. A certified Gentle Sleep Coach shows parents how to implement gentle behaviour techniques and teach their child the skill of putting themselves to sleep. Offering your child the opportunity to learn to fall asleep on their own, and stay asleep throughout the night, is a lifelong lesson that will provide countless health benefits. In addition to being a sleep consultant, Deanna is a mom who understands the value of a well-rested family. Learn more about her services by visiting her website by clicking here.
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