The Tribed Journal

SWEET DREAMS: Encouraging Quality Sleep for Little Ones

SWEET DREAMS: Encouraging Quality Sleep for Little Ones

We recently chatted with the inspiring Jessica Hoskins (@sageandfolk), a Byron Bay based clinical nutritionist and herbalist (BHSc. Nutritionist & Herbalist), with a focus on the health of women and children.  

As a mother of two and a practitioner, she is particularly passionate about supporting mothers to nourish their own families and also rediscover their own vitality with nutrition and naturopathy.

Both sleep quality and quantity are important for a child’s active mind and body. Sleep is vital for healthy living, especially for kids so it is ever-so important to teach them it’s importance by making it a priority.

Having a consistent nightly rhythm of pre-bed activities (such as bath, stories, tea, etc.) and an earlier bedtime is associated with better quality sleep and fewer sleep issues for children. It can be useful to provide a visual chart of your rhythm along with verbal communication for your child, so that they know when the ‘wind-down’ has started and what to expect next. Below are some strategies to include in your bedtime rhythm, that will encourage sweet dreams and quality sleep.

 

Avoid screens well before bed and dim the lights as the sun goes down (at least 1 hour before sleep)

Melatonin is the hormone that prepares the body for sleep. It is triggered by the visual perception of night. Unfortunately, fluorescent lights (including LED) as well as electronic devices (televisions and iPads) emit blue light waves. These blue light waves are a little bit like the light of the blue sky. This essentially sends a message to the brain that it is daylight, and therefore suppresses the production of melatonin.

 

Limit eating before bed

Food consumption should be kept at a minimum in this time also. For example, if bed time is at 7:30pm then dinner should ideally be done by 5:30pm. Sugar and caffeine are stimulants that can disrupt the natural circadian rhythm. While they are best avoided for children general, it is particularly important to steer clear in the hours before sleep. Note that chocolate contains caffeine.

 

Add Epsom salts to the evening bath

2-3 cups of Epsom salts added to a bath provides the benefits of magnesium, which is a relaxing mineral. Be sure so supervise your child and ensure that they don’t ingest the bath water as it may upset little tummies.

 

Herbal tea

Herbs such as passionflower, chamomile and lavender all helpful to calm the nervous system and prepare the body for restful sleep. See below for the recipe for my Dream Blend.

 

Keep it cool

The optimal room temperature for slumber is 18.5°C sleep. Keep rooms well ventilated and cool and dress children in light, cotton pyjamas and natural fibre bedding.

 

Gratitude & relaxation

These two strategies are particularly helpful if you have a child with a busy mind or that worries a lot. Practicing gratitude is associated with longer and more refreshing sleep. One way to do this is to simply ask your child 3 things that they are grateful for today.

Encourage sleep by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest/calm part of the nervous system). Depending on the child’s age, this can be done with simple approaches such a calming song, a foot massage, deep breaths or even a guided meditation.

 

 

If your child is still having issues going to or staying asleep, it is advisable to visit a health care professional who may investigate further and talk to you about supplements, herbs or flower essences.

 

A beautiful Dream Blend Tea for the whole family ~

Combine:

Lavender [1 part]

Chamomile [2 parts]

Passionflower [2 parts]

Lemongrass [1 part]

 

To make:

Boil some filtered water and pour into a tea cup

Add 1 heaped teaspoon of the tea blend to a tea infuser or reusable teabag

Allow the tea to brew until it has cooled down enough for your child to drink

Add some raw honey to taste (optional)

 

NB: Do not give honey to babies under 12 months

 

Thank you so much for sharing Jessica! Jessica has also provided a discount code for her upcoming Nourished Mother 8 week course. A course to help Mamas rediscover their energy and vitality. Sign me up! You can find the course here and if you pop in code 'dreaming' at checkout you will receive 12% off  

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