Your child can’t sleep without a light bedtime snack? Our expert suggests some options to fill your child’s tummies before getting them ready for bed.
1. Milk and Wholemeal Biscuits
Milk is a good, soothing drink before bedtime and contains protein and calcium. Wholemeal biscuits are a good option to accompany milk, which your child can dip into the milk, or eat on its own.
Tip: Choose wholemeal or wholegrain instead of biscuits with no fibre and lots of sugar or cream filling.
2. Fruit and Yogurt
Bananas are a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) and yogurt is rich in protein and calcium.
Fact: Some research indicates that lack of calcium may result in poorer sleep, including the lack of a deep REM sleep phase.
3. Wholegrain Bread with Nut Spread
Wholegrains and nuts contain magnesium. A deficiency of the mineral has been linked to insomnia. Bread contains carbohydrates, which may increase the level of sleep-inducing tryptophan.
4. Cereal Mix Containing Nuts and Seeds with Milk
Nuts and seeds contain magnesium and vitamin E. Avoid cereals high in sugar with a lack of other minerals.
5. Banana or Fruit Muffin
Muffins can be made at home with milk or yogurt and fruit as ingredients. It is a delicious way to include fruits and dairy in your child’s diet.
Tip: Store-bought muffins are also fine if you don’t bake, but try to choose those lower in sugar.
5 Things to avoid before bedtime
1. Tea or bubble tea
Tea contains caffeine, and should be avoided by kids even at other times (not only bedtime). It also interferes with iron absorption. Iron is crucial to your child’s growth and development.
Chocolate contains sugar, which may cause your kid’s blood glucose levels to rise sharply. Some kids get very energetic and have difficulty settling down to sleep after taking too much sugar. Also, chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine.
3. Sweets and desserts
Taking high sugar foods before bedtime may cause ‘hyperactivity’ in your child. Excessive ingestion of sweets may lead to tooth decay if they fail to brush their teeth thoroughly before bed.
4. Heavy meals
Too large or heavy a meal may result in stomach discomfort before bedtime. Keep bedtime snacks light and easily digestible.
5. Exciting games or classes
Keeping kids active is great, but try to schedule these activities earlier in the day. As any parent would know, getting kids ready for bed after they are all ‘hyped up’ is difficult. This will delay their bedtime and result in a lack of sleep over time.
Suzanne Khor, Senior Dietician from Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre)
10 Sinaran Drive, #09-04
Novena Medical Centre
Tel: 6397 6627/ 6397 6966 (hotline)
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