One of the more overlooked parts of sleep is often what our kids are eating. When sleep training our kids and when putting together a personalized plan one of the aspects that we look at is diet and how that diet could be affecting your little one’s sleep. We need to ensure that our child’s diet is full of foods that support our little one’s sleep neurotransmitters, like serotonin and melatonin. These neurotransmitters thrive on tryptophan and B complex vitamins.
The other thing that we are looking to fill our toddler’s diet with and making sure that they have plenty of is protein. The reason behind this is it helps stabilize blood sugar levels and will help prevent night time wake ups due to hypoglycemia, which will make the body produce adrenaline, which is definitely not conducive to sleep.
We have all heard of L-tryptophan and its effects on sleep, mostly from various family members around Thanksgiving, from eating too much turkey. But what is Tryptophan?
WebMD tells us that Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. The body can’t make it, so diet must supply tryptophan. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins. Some of the top foods that contain a good amount of tryptophan in their high amount of protein are listed below. For every 100g of food:
For every 100g of food:
- Soybeans 36.5 % Total Protein / 590mg of Tryptophan
- Cashews 18.2% Total Protein / 287 mg of Tryptophan
- Chicken Breast 21.2% Total Protein / 267mg of Tryptophan
- Raw Pork 21% Total Protein / 220mg of Tryptophan
- Salmon 20.4% Total Protein / 209 mg of Tryptophan
- Oats 13.2% Total Protein / 182mg of Tryptophan
- Walnuts 15.2% Total Protein / 170mg of Tryptophan
- Eggs 12.6% Total Protein / 167mg of Tryptophan
- Brown Rice 7.9% of Total Protein / 101mg of Tryptophan
- Cow’s Milk 3.3g of Total Protein / 46mg of Tryptophan
The two deficiencies that also are a major contributor to a lack of sleep are ZINC and IRON. Foods rich in zinc and iron are pork, poultry, salmon, beans, spinach, dried fruit, and iron-fortified cereals, bread, and pasta. Omega 3, which can be found in fatty fish also aids in babies, toddlers, and adult’s sleep habits. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, so if you notice restless legs in your kids as they try to settle for sleep, try adding magnesium into their diet or an Epsom salt bath can also help with this. Foods rich in magnesium are spinach, seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocado, and of course bananas.
Omega 3, which can be found in fatty fish also aids in babies, toddlers, and adult’s sleep habits. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, so if you notice restless legs in your kids as they try to settle for sleep, try adding magnesium into their diet or an Epsom salt bath can also help with this. Foods rich in magnesium are spinach, seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocado, and of course bananas.
So if you are looking for a good place to go eat tonight or what is on the menu for a better sleeping toddler. Look no further than our favorite Mexican Food Place (Chipotle) or making so yummy tacos for dinner. (Chicken, Beans, Cheese, Sour Cream, Soy, Steak, and Brown Rice)