height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2423127411238591&ev=PageView &noscript=1"

Does nutrition affect your toddler's sleep? A look at the link between good nutrition and toddler sleep health.

By Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

Ever considered your toddler’s nutrition and how it might affect their sleep? Let’s take a look at how nutrition can positively impact a toddler’s sleep as well as examine the ‘sleepy foods’ that are high in nutrients.

For most toddlers, food makes their world go round. Whenever there’s food around you can guarantee they want a piece of the action.

It’s wonderful to see their enthusiasm and appetite for food and we want to ensure toddlers continue to receive all the nutrients they require including those that promote sleep.

Broken and restlessness in sleep can often be linked to diet including food allergies or intolerances which means your toddler’s overall diet can negatively impact their sleep.

So which nutrients can be included to support sleep in toddlers?

There are several vitamins, minerals and nutrients you can incorporate into your toddler’s diet to support not only a healthy diet but also their sleep.

What foods produce sleep hormones?

Food rich in amino acid Tryptophan as well as B Vitamins assist the body in producing the sleepy hormones Serotonin and Melatonin.

Foods that produce sleep hormones Serotonin and Melatonin include:

  • Poultry
  • Natural nuts
  • Bananas
  • Kidney beans
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

If your toddler is waking through the night, it may be worth checking their protein consumption across the day. Protein is broken down slowly, which helps to maintain blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels trigger the production of adrenalin in the body and in turn over stimulate your little one causing them to wake during the night.

Top 4 Minerals to include in your child’s diet to promote sleep:

  1. Iron
  2. Zinc
  3. Magnesium
  4. Calcium

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of these important minerals

  1. Iron

Iron is important for optimal growth and development, but also to support sleep.

Did you know the RDI (recommended daily intake) for iron from 7-12 months is 11mg/day (the RDI for a grown male is 8mg/day). This is because children experience their most rapid growth and development in the first 2 years!

Iron is also responsible for transporting oxygen around the body and if there’s a deficit in iron, we risk becoming anaemic.

Signs and symptoms of low iron include:

  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Low energy
  • Dark circles under their eyes
  • Pale skin

All of these can naturally impact sleep.

What are good sources of protein for toddlers

  • Meat – Chicken, red meat, liver (once a week) and turkey mince
  • Eggs – Scrambled, French toast, baked, frittatas, muffins
  • Fish – Sardine, salmon, snapper, whiting, herring, mackerel, mullet or garfish
  • Plant sources – Tofu, lentils, chia seeds, beans, hemp seeds, nut butters, seed butters
  • Rice fortified cereals

Note: Vitamin C can enhance iron absorption and on the flip side Calcium and Phytates can inhibit iron absorption.

  1. Zinc

Zinc acts as a natural antidepressant, reduces inflammation (which can impact on mood and brain health) and helps balance hormone levels that contribute to moodiness. 

Good sources of zinc include:

 

  • Seafood
  • Lean beef & lamb
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds (or tahini)
  • Cashews
  • Beans

 

  1. Magnesium

 

Magnesium is great for relaxing your toddler’s active muscles. We all know toddler’s never stop with all that playing, walking, running and exploring.

Good sources of magnesium include:

 

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and lentils
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Dairy products

 

  1. Calcium

 

Dairy foods (milk, cheese or yoghurt) are the most important sources of calcium after 12 months of age. 

I recommend offering dairy foods (milk, cheese or yoghurt) 2-3 times a day.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy products
  • Tinned salmon or sardines (leave the bones in)
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds

If you notice your toddler’s tummy isn’t agreeing with something they’re eating, keep a food diary for at least 10 days to try and pinpoint what the issue is. A tummy that’s relaxed and not giving your little one trouble will promote a better night of consolidated sleep.

This being said, it’s important to consult with your trusted healthcare professional (I recommend a Paediatric Dietician, the specialist in this area of nutrition) before eliminating or reducing any foods. Eliminating foods without professional advice can cause deficiencies, which can lead to further sleep concerns as well as impact a toddler’s ability to reach physiological and psychological milestones.

Kelly Martin is a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and mother of 3 girls. She has a holistic and evidence-based approach to supporting families to develop and maintain healthy sleep foundations without compromising on their parenting style. Sleep deprivation doesn’t need to be the long-term experience of early childhood. Education and support is available.

Need help with your toddler’s sleep? Check out my blog Toddler Sleep Tips helping you create a positive bedtime experience for you and your toddler.

With Love,

Kelly

LittleOak

CUSTOMER CARE


Shop online
Store Locator
Wholesale
From Fresh
Login
Shipping and returns
Contact us

Online Payment Methods
Paypal | Credit Card | Afterpay

FOLLOW US

All rights reserved © 2019 The LittleOak Company. Design & Creative Direction by Lafin Design

 

Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions

The LittleOak Company aims to give accurate, useful, reliable and up-to-date information on baby nutrition of the general nature and may amend the content on this site as required. To the extent permitted by law, The LittleOak Company does not accept any liability or responsibility for claims, resulting from the misinterpretation of the content of this website, which is never intended to disregard, alter or discontinue professional medical advice and/or treatment. If you are ever unsure about your baby's development, concerned about the well-being of your bub or your own health, seek medical advice immediately without delay.

 

LittleOak

CUSTOMER CARE

Shop online
Login
Shipping and returns
Contact us

Online Payment Methods
Paypal | Credit Card | Afterpay

FOLLOW US

All rights reserved © 2019 The LittleOak Company. Design & Creative Direction by Lafin Design

 

Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions

The LittleOak Company aims to give accurate, useful, reliable and up-to-date information on baby nutrition of the general nature and may amend the content on this site as required. To the extent permitted by law, The LittleOak Company does not accept any liability or responsibility for claims, resulting from the misinterpretation of the content of this website, which is never intended to disregard, alter or discontinue professional medical advice and/or treatment. If you are ever unsure about your baby's development, concerned about the well-being of your bub or your own health, seek medical advice immediately without delay.