8 Natural remedies to help kids sleep
If bedtime is a battlefield, there are natural sleep remedies for kids that can help your child settle peacefully into the snooze zone. A tired child equals a tired parent, but there’s no reason for your little one to toss and turn when Mother Nature is standing by to assist.
Take a look at some natural sleep remedies for kids that can help them get the z’s they need.
How much sleep do kids need?
It’s so important for your child to get enough rest. Sleep helps them grow healthy bones and tissues, and, because their brains are still developing, it helps them learn new concepts and stay alert and focused at school.
If your child is sleep deprived, they can experience bouts of forgetfulness, cranky moods and even more serious behavioural issues, like anxiety or impulsivity.
Here’s how much sleep your child should get each night based on their age:
- Toddlers (1-3 years) need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour time period.
- Kids (3-6 years) need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep in 24 hours.
- Children (7-12 years) need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep.
- Teenagers (13+ years) need between 8 and 9 hours of sleep every night.
8 natural sleep remedies for kids
Take a look at our top tips, tricks and best natural remedies to help kids sleep that you can try (starting tonight!):
1. Regular exercise
Encouraging your children to be more active is one of the best things you can do to help them sleep better at night. Regular exercise gets rid of excess energy and helps to regulate the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Kids who get enough exercise generally fall asleep easier and stay asleep for longer. Jumping on a trampoline, playing sports, swimming, riding a bicycle, taking martial arts classes and dancing are some of the fun ways your children can get more active. And if you join them, you’ll enjoy the benefits of an active life too!
2. Bedtime routine
Setting up and sticking to a bedtime routine is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s sleep health. If your child goes to bed and wakes up at the same time every day, it will get their body into a good rhythm. Your child’s body will become used to the schedule and they will start to feel tired around the times their bodies associate with sleep.
A good pre-bed routine will help your kids to wind down before bed. If you consistently do things like give them a bath and read them a story before bed, their bodies will start to associate these actions with getting ready for sleep and they will be more likely to become drowsy.
3. Pillow spray
Using a pillow spray with a relaxing scent like lavender is very effective in helping your child to fall asleep. This aroma has a relaxing effect on the body. Simply spray it on your child’s pillow before it is time for bed and the scent will do the rest.
4. Eat healthily
Did you know that the foods you give your child can affect the quality of their sleep? You can give them certain foods to enjoy before bed, which will help them fall asleep, such as fatty fish, nuts, and dairy.
Avoid giving them foods and beverages that contain a lot of sugar, as sugar causes energy spikes which will keep them awake. Also avoid giving them sources of caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks, and certain fizzy drinks.
5. Avoid eating late
Equally as important as what they eat, when your child eats can affect their sleep. Suppertime is almost as important as bedtime for kids. If you give your child a big meal before bed, it can make it harder for them to fall asleep. If their bodies are trying to allocate energy towards digestion or they eat something that causes indigestion, it will be harder for them to fall asleep.
Also avoid eating too early. If your child is hungry, it will make it harder for them to go to sleep. Give them supper a few hours before bed and if they are still hungry, you can give them a light snack.
6. Create a comfy sleep environment
Do what you can to give your child a comfortable sleeping environment. Make sure the room is tidy and free of clutter, as a messy and cluttered room can be too distracting and stimulating and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Other things you can do include making your child’s room as dark as possible and paying attention to the temperature of the room. If the room is too warm or too cold, it can make it harder to fall asleep. The ideal temperature for sleep is 16-18°C. Pick bedding that is light and not too thick and warm, and use a cooling fan if it is too warm. Make sure their pyjamas are comfortable and made with fabric that allows them to move freely. And invest in a good mattress, as well as duvets, quilts, and/or blankets.
7. Limit screen time
Pack away digital devices before bed. The blue light these devices emit will interfere with natural melatonin production, which is the sleep hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Instead, use this time to do things like read a bedtime story, or play an audiobook or soothing music.
8. Relaxing bath before bed
Give your child a bath before bed to help them relax. You can use soaps, bath oils, and lotions with relaxing scents that will further help them to relax and get ready to go to sleep.
Encourage good sleep hygiene for your kids
These natural sleep remedies will create good sleep hygiene, which lays the foundation for long-term sleep health. Addressing any sleep problems now will help your kids to sleep better when they are older.
Make your child’s sleep and sleep hygiene a priority. Feed them well, put them in the tub, pack away digital devices (even if they protest), spray some lavender on their pillows, create a comfy sleep environment, and encourage them to be active. If they’re doing jumping jacks in the day, they won’t be jumping out of bed like a jack-in-the-box at night!