Does Nutrition Impact Sleep?

There are lots of variables when it comes to getting kids to have a great night’s sleep. It’s not very well covered as a topic but nutrition can have an impact on how children, and really anyone in fact, are getting through the night. What your child eats throughout the day, not just before bed, can affect how easily they drift off. While good nutrition promotes healthy sleep, poor sleep is associated with an increased risk for obesity in kids (although other factors might be at play). Avoid this downward spiral but providing your child with balanced meals and snacks at regular intervals and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule at night. 

Stay Hydrated Throughout The Day

If children drink water throughout the day, they are less likely to wake up in the night thirsty. They are also less likely to need a huge drink before bedtime which will wake them up needing to go to the toilet or having wet the bed. Staying hydrated is also great for reducing headaches and urinary tract infections which are also likely to affect sleep. It’s not always easy to encourage our children to drink plenty but being a good role model, regularly offering them drinks and having fun cups are some great ways of promoting good hydration. Not sure if they are having enough? Check their wee – it should be pale yellow.

Avoid Sugary Foods Before Bed

If we eat sugary meals before bed, our glucose levels rise sharply and then drop sharply. When they drop, this can wake us up. So, if you are going to give your child sugary foods then give them earlier in the day. Remember though, it is recommended that children under 4 avoid ‘free sugars’ – that’s sugar added to foods including fruit juice and puree added to bought foods, and 4-6 year olds should have no more than 19g and 7-11 year olds no more than 24g. That sounds like a lot for an older child but check the labels and you will see it soon adds up.

Avoid Salty Foods Before Bed

Salty foods can make us thirsty so if we eat these before bed then we might wake up needing a drink. Ideally we want to cut down on the amount of salt we have in our food but if we are having a more salty food, have it earlier in the day rather than just before bed. Salt is naturally found in some foods like meat, fish and vegetables but it is added to foods such as bread, cereals, pasta sauces, crisps, pickled foods and processed foods. Instead of using salt, try alternative snacks and make your own foods with herbs, spices, onion and garlic for flavour.

Opt For Wholegrains 

Wholegrains release their sugars slower into the blood stream so they keep us fuller for longer. This will then keep blood sugar levels more level and keep your little one sleeping soundly (hopefully!). White carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta and white rice release their sugars into the blood faster and so can lead to the same drop in blood sugar that you see with sweet foods.

At Rumble Tums we pack our meals with fresh nutritious sugar free wholefoods and delicious wholegrains such as brown rice and wholemeal pastas and flours to keep your child’s system calm and nourished throughout the day, and night.

Are you ready to Rumble Tums? #letsgrow.