It’s 3:00 AM. Who’s even awake at this hour? Oh yeah: you! You’ve managed to make your toddler sleep at midnight after countless reruns of story time, song time, and cuddle time.
Instead of dozing off yourself, you stare into the darkness for three hours, feeling trapped, antsy, and kind of hungry. You know what you need? Sleep foods.
If it helps you feel any better, 1.9 million people have tweeted about sleeplessness from December 16, 2016, to January 2 2018 according to a sleep loss app. The same app also reported that new parents lose up to six months of sleep in the first two years of their child’s life.
Sleep may be elusive for many mums, but sleep foods that help solve the problem are not. So put away your sleep-disrupting smart devices. Forget about the pills. There are different kinds of food and drink that can help you get to sleep before you can say “Goodnight moon.”
6 Sleep Foods For Tired Parents:
1. Black, white, and green tea
A soothing cup of tea can help calm your overactive, worried mind. There’s a good reason why tea is a powerful sleep food.
There are many varieties of green tea, black tea, and white tea but they all share some things in common, like the amino acid L-theanine.
According to a study in the US, L-theanine significantly increases the brain’s activity in the alpha frequency band. This means the amino acid relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness.
A second study replicated this result and found that L-theanine, at realistic dietary levels, has a great effect on a person’s general state of mental alertness. So after all the dishes are done and you’re watching on Netflix with your partner (among other things), have a cup of tea ready to relax.
2. Citrus fruits (or simply, Vitamin C)
Vitamin C found in oranges, limes, lemons, and calamansi are full of health benefits. In 2015, the Brain Research Bulletin reported that vitamin C prevented memory impairment in sleep-deprived laboratory rats. Vitamin C also maintained normal levels of antioxidants in the brain since they usually go down because of lack of sleep.
More significantly, vitamin C doesn’t just boost your immune system but it also lowers your cortisol, which is produced when you’re under stress. And we all know mums can be some of the most stressed people on the planet.
This vitamin helps you relax and stay asleep longer. Just remember you don’t need to eat or drink something with Vitamin C right before you tuck your kid in bed. You just have to include this in your diet and be sure you don’t suffer from Vitamin C deficiency.
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Cinnamon has been known to stabilise blood sugar levels. A spike in blood sugar levels can wake you up as your blood sugar drops. However, be careful not to put too much cinnamon in your food, as doing so can damage your liver and kidneys.
You can put this on your oatmeal, and even everyone’s oatmeal so EVERYONE will sleep soundly with you!
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High levels of serotonin are linked to wakefulness, but eating food that contains ginger or drinking ginger tea can help lower your serotonin. Ginger’s ability to block serotonin receptors helps you feel less awake, a study finds.
You can cook food with a bit of ginger in them, bake treats with ginger flavors (for you and your kids), and make ginger tea with a dash of lemon.
5. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice has high melatonin content, a hormone that regulates your body clock and signals your body to prepare for sleep. It helps you sleep on time if drunk on a regular basis, and helps you sleep longer.
Since this sleep food is in a form that everyone in the family can consume, you can make some for them too so they wouldn’t bother you when you sleep. When they’re awake, you’re awake, so make sure they stay asleep longer as well.
6. Almonds and Walnuts
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Almonds also contain melatonin and magnesium. Magnesium helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep. Walnuts also contain melatonin. Just remember to eat these in moderation.
Sleep foods work if you’re living healthy
These sleep foods may help you sleep, but always remember that they’re only effective if you live a healthy lifestyle. Try to keep a regular sleeping schedule, eat right, lower your sugar intake, exercise regularly, and manage your stress levels.
Of course, healthy living can be a challenge to any parent. You’re already worried about your kids, your finances, and the day-to-day grind of work or parenting (or both). You’re tired. You need sleep, but you can’t.
Keep in mind that the benefits of healthy living and sleep foods can make a big difference. If you manage to keep all aspects of healthy living just right, you might just get to sleep better at night.
Also read: Kids having trouble sleeping? Know your kids’ sleeping hours.