A good night’s sleep is vital for your child’s brain function and mood. Unfortunately, not all kids can sleep well throughout the night. If your kid is struggling to fall or stay asleep at night, you’re not alone. Studies show that one out of five children will experience insomnia, and about 50 percent will develop some type of sleep issue. If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, it might affect his/her mental health, focus at school, and the ability to learn. Children specialists and doctors in general, don’t recommend the use of medication unless it’s absolutely necessary. That’s why you should try to find natural sleep aids for kids.
You can help our kids unwind with child-safe herbs like chamomile, catnip, lavender, and passionflower. These herbs help with relaxation and sleep. According to a review by PubMed, chamomile contains the antioxidant apigenin, which may help induce sleep.
Chamomile is readily available in natural health stores and supermarkets and is easy to prepare.
You can also try other herbal teas like peppermint to help calm the child’s mind and stomach. Banana tea, made from banana peels, is also a good option since it contains compounds that help the body relax.
Passionflower or maypop is another sleep remedy and sedative that’s used to treat insomnia.
A Calming Bath
Making a soak-in warm bath a nightly bedtime routine signals the brain that it’s time for sleep. Consider adding some Epsom salts to the water to help induce sleepiness.
Epsom salt contains natural minerals like magnesium, which is known to increase the production of serotonin in the body. Serotonin plays a vital role in our moods and emotions and regulates sleep-wake cycles, as well as the body clock.
Cut Screen Time
Blue light from smartphones, computers, tablets, and TVs has a negative effect on the eyes. If your children are fond of using these electronic gadgets before bedtime, they could be affecting their sleep patterns.
What’s more, these gadgets stimulate and distract the brain – and that’s not what the brain needs at bedtime. If your kids must use the computer, for example, to finish school projects, buy them blue light-blocking glasses for kids.
Otherwise, try to cut screen time at least one hour before they go to bed. Also, consider dimming the lights as they prepare to sleep to encourage the child’s body to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Encourage Exercising During the Day
Your kids will naturally fall asleep when they are fatigued. You can induce healthy fatigue by encouraging them to participate in vigorous cardiovascular exercises during the day. Most kids like playing outside, and in most cases, it’s all they need to fall sound asleep at night.
However, limit strenuous exercises like running or cycling right before bedtime, as this can raise their cortisol levels and make it harder to sleep.
Magnesium is nicknamed the “Magic mineral” given its ability to relax your muscles, help with stress, and promote restful sleep for both adults and kids. Studies show that magnesium can regulate melatonin production and can be effective in treating insomnia.
Keep in mind that magnesium oil can be itchy and uncomfortable when applied in undiluted form. Therefore, choose a brand that’s friendly to your kid’s skin.
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in our bodies and helps regulate our circadian rhythms. No wonder melatonin supplements have become a popular sleeping remedy for kids and adults.
Studies indicate that melatonin may improve the overall sleep quality and duration. However, we should point out that melatonin, like all dietary supplements, are unregulated and untested for long-term use in humans.
You should therefore consult a specialist in childcare about its potential effects on your kid’s health.
Certain essential oils can calm the kid’s senses, helping reduce stress and encourage sleepiness. Essential oils like lavender, sweet orange, cedarwood, roman chamomile, peppermint, or ginger are considered safe and effective for use with children over five.
Lavender aromatherapy can be particularly relaxing and will have your kid sleeping in minutes. You could try adding a few drops of their favorite essential oil to their warm bath, spraying a diluted solution onto their bed linens and pillow, or using it in a diffuser to fill the room with a therapeutic scent.
If they don’t like one scent, you could pick pre-made blends like:
- Nightly Night, which consists of lavender, sweet marjoram, clary sage, cedarwood atlas, Roman chamomile, patchouli, and blue tansy.
- Sweet Dreams is a blend of juniper berry, sweet orange, rose absolute, coriander, and blue tansy.
- Sweet Slumber contains Ho Wood Oil, sweet orange, vetiver, Himalayan cedarwood, and Roman chamomile.
Kids do well with routines. So, try to create a structured schedule and stick to it. This makes it easier for them to know when it’s time to stop watching TV, using the phone, or playing. If your kid still naps, schedule the nap time to be consistent every day and limit nap close to bedtime.