You probably know that foods containing caffeine and sugar are stimulating; for that reason, you definitely want to avoid feeding those kinds of foods to your child as a general rule, and certainly before naptime or bedtime. However, there are other types of foods that actually have a sedating effect on the brain. They produce chemicals that promote sleepiness and relaxation. These foods that help sleep contain a substance called tryptophan.
What is tryptophan? Glad you asked! Tryptophan is an amino acid that our bodies use to synthesize proteins. Tryptophan also produces a brain chemical called serotonin from which melatonin (which is so essential for sleep that it’s named the ‘sleep hormone’) is manufactured.
Foods that contain high levels of tryptophan include the following:
Good examples of meals that provide the proper combination of complex carbs and tryptophan include:
You don’t need to whip up an entire meal, however, in order to feed your child some sleep-promoting food. Great sleep-inducing snacks could include:
Of course, sleep-inducing foods like these won’t necessarily solve all your sleep problems! If persistent nighttime waking and short (or non-existent) naps are problems in your home, you may need to troubleshoot other causes of sleep problems. No amount of sleep-inducing food will help solve persistent night-waking and early-nap waking. But offering your child sleep-promoting foods is one great way among many to help ensure that you have a peaceful sleeper in your home!
Source: The Baby Sleep Site http://www.babysleepsite.com