Having looked at Foods that Aid and Promote Sleep, it seems fitting to look at foods that hamper sleep. The list of foods that prevent a good night sleep is extensive when it comes to adults and includes; spicy and rich meals, preserved and processed foods, certain medication, chocolates, fried food, caffeine, alcohol, late night drinks and fizzy drinks. When it comes to your baby, a wholesome diet suitable for your baby’s growing needs and palate should not include these foods.
That said, there are foods that you should be aware of that may hamper your little ones sleep
Babies and toddlers should have no added sugar in their diet and even fruit juice should be limited. Immediately after sugar is ingested, it pushes up the blood sugar levels and can lead to agitation and even, in sugar sensitive kids, hyperactivity. Neither agitation nor hyperactivity is great for sleep habits. An agitated toddler on a sugar high is likely to resist bedtime and when the sugar levels crash, to become irritable and difficult to settle.
Preservatives and additives
It goes without saying that the food your baby takes in should be free from preservatives and additives. The following additives hamper sleep: artificial colours, saccharin (artificial sweetener), preservatives such as sodium benzoate and sulphites, MSG and Tartrazine amongst others.
As tempting as it is to indulge your toddler around Easter time, chocolate not only has too much sugar for little ones but also contains caffeine – which you should obviously avoiding giving your baby around sleep time.
Rich foods with a lot of cheese
While we do encourage proteins in a baby’s diet in the evening, we are also aware that very rich foods that take a long time to digest, can lead to nightmares and restless nights. So do avoid foods that are very rich and fatty, melted cheese being an obvious one.
Tea that contains caffeine
A warm drink at bedtime is awesome, even for toddlers. Preferably offer milk (full of tryptophan that aids sleep) or milky tea. Be sure to use Rooibos as normal tea contains caffeine.