The IDEA of sleep is a beautiful thing, but it actually happening is a completely different story. You have too much on your mind, the temperature’s off, work went a little longer than expected–these and more are just a few reasons why you and I probably struggle with getting the much needed 6-8 hours of sleep. And now with research showing that you can damage 25% of your brain cells from inadequate amounts of sleep consistently, proper sleep is needed even more than ever.
And this isn’t only for you — it’s for your kids, grand-kids, and cousins also. Yes, little ones struggle with the some of the same reasons they toss and turn at night. But unlike you and I, where we can take a sleep aid, kids bodies can’t handle the same medicines and dosages. Writer Jeanne Sager has come (somewhat) to the rescue. After looking around, here are a few natural sleep aids the young one in your life could use to dream of marshmallows, turtle ninjas and “Frozen”:
1. Chamomile tea — I always knew chamomile was calming, but according to Dr. Oz, it’s also a natural sleep inducer!
2. Lavender oil — A friend puts a few drops on her kids’ feet at night, and the soothing aromas help them drift off to dreamland. According to the studies, she’s on to something. Lavender has been shown “to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure, and put you in a parasympathetic [relaxed] state.”
3. Bananas — I have often heard that a banana before bed will boost your potassium level and help reduce leg cramps — if you’re prone to them. But it turns out the tasty fruits also contain tryptophan — the same sleep-inducing amino acid that makes you sleepy after you indulge in Thanksgiving turkey.
4. Massage — What? If mama’s not getting a massage, ain’t nobody getting a massage? Don’t knock it until you try it! A rub-down on a kid will induce the same soporific effects it does in adults.
5. Kick out the gadgets — Kiddos are becoming increasingly hooked on electronics, but even if you swear the TV helps your tot to sleep, science says otherwise. Doctors suggest limiting screentime (including tablets, computers, TV, etc) to no more than two hours a day, and not before bed.
6. Linen spray — Kid won’t drink tea or let you apply oil to their feet? Sounds like a kid! But there’s a way around it — spray their pillow and/or sheets with a soothing scent. You can even make your own linen spray with lavender and chamomile.
7. Pink noise — You’ve heard of white noise, but what is pink noise? Apparently it’s a type of sound in which every octave carries the same power, and according to at least one study, it doesn’t just help people sleep, it promotes “stable sleep,” the most restful kind. To get some for your kids, try a fan or a noisemaker that produces sounds similar to falling rain.