We’ve certainly had our issues with bedtime. Both our boys require strategic, point-by-point operations before they will agree to close their eyes for the night. We’ve tried everything (and I do mean everything) to put them to sleep, including altering their dinner options to encourage a restful sleep.
Regardless of the book or manuals you read, what works and doesn’t work in parenting is often learned through trial and error. As far as the foods we’ve been choosing before bedtime, apparently we’ve been following the wrong tack.
While many stand by a high-protein pre-bedtime routine, (citing the side benefits of turkey because it contains sleep-inducing tryptophan), researchers have nixed this connection. It turns out turkey, like most foods, just doesn’t contain enough tryptophan to put you to sleep, explains Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of The Food & Mood Cookbook: Recipes for Eating Well and Feeling Your Best
This comes as a surprise to me. As a former macrobiotic, I thought I knew a thing or two about the food-mood connection. Instead, Somer recommends we choose light but high-carbohydrate snacks in order to boost levels of serotonin (the brain’s sleep chemical) without overloading the digestive system. Of course, it never hurts to wash them down with something warm and soothing, such as a cup of herbal tea (chamomile or lemon balm) or warm milk. Perhaps I’ll try incorporating a little tea-party ritual with the boys before bedtime.
The Top 10 Foods to Promote Sleep
Try one of these yummy foods about an hour before bedtime. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that your little one (and you!) get a good night’s rest tonight!
- A 4-ounce baked potato topped with salsa
- Half of a whole-wheat English muffin or raisin bagel drizzled with honey
- 1 slice whole or multi-grain bread smeared with almond or cashew butter
- Half a cup of pasta topped with marinara sauce
- 2 cups air-popped popcorn
- Fresh strawberries dunked in a little fat-free chocolate syrup
- A handful of oyster crackers and one piece of fruit
- A small slice of angel food cake topped with berries
- A frozen whole-wheat waffle, toasted, with maple syrup
- Half a cup of pretzels