It’s rare that you meet a parent who does not LOVE sleep. This acquired special love and devotion are only developed after countless years of showing little appreciation for sleep and then having kids. After kids, getting a good nights sleep rises to the top of your goal list and you will try anything if it means better sleep for your kids and you. Pretty much all of our products are built around this special love (and need!) for sleep. But, our Sleep Sheep and Twilight Turtle can only go so far, and it’s surprising how many factors inhibit good sleep. Food is a big culprit. Check out some ingredients that may be hiding in common foods that disrupt sleep:
Sugar: It’s been receiving a lot of bad press lately, and here’s a big reason why: it’s everywhere. Turn over almost any box or package and you will find added sugar. It can be in the form of any of these ingredients: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, syrup, maltodextrin, glucose, ethyl maltol. Sugar raises your blood sugar and therefore prevents sleep. Make sure your children (and you!) avoid this ubiquitous ingredient several hours before bedtime for a better night’s sleep.
Artificial Colors & Preservatives: Research shows that children are more likely to lack concentration, lose their temper, interrupt others and struggle to get to sleep when they drink fruit juice dosed with colorings and preservatives. Here’s a long list of artificial colors and preservatives to avoid:
Artificial Colors: 102 tartrazine, 104 quinoline yellow, 107 yellow 2G, 110 sunset yellow, 122 azorubine, 123 amaranth, 124 ponceau red, 127 erythrosine, 128 red 2G, 129 allura red, 132 indigotine, 133 brilliant blue, 142 green S, 151 brilliant black, 155 chocolate brown Natural colour, 160b annatto (in yogurts, ice creams, popcorn, etc; 160a is a safe alternative)
Preservatives: 200-203 sorbates (in margarine, dips, cakes, fruit products), 210-213 benzoates (in juices, soft drinks, cordials, syrups, medications), 220-228 sulphites (in dried fruit, fruit drinks, sausages, and many others), 280-283 propionates (in bread, crumpets, bakery products), 249-252 nitrates, nitrites (in processed meats like ham)
Synthetic antioxidants (in margarines, vegetable oils, fried foods, snacks, biscuits), 310-312 gallates 319-320 TBHQ, BHA, BHT (306-309 are safe alternatives)
Flavor enhancers (in flavored crackers, snacks, takeaways, instant noodles, soups), 621 MSG, 627, 631, 635 disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, ribonucleotides
Caffeine: Unless you’re breeding coffee aficionados, chances are your kids are getting their caffeine from chocolate (hot cocoa, anyone?). Steer clear of chocolate consumption as bedtime nears and swap the hot cocoa for a warm glass of milk (yes, it really works).
The above ingredients all fall into a much larger category called ‘processed foods’. Since it’s difficult to know and remember all the ingredients hiding in common foods that disrupt sleep, try sticking to whole foods before bed. If a bedtime snack is needed, slow releasing carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, help children get to sleep and stay asleep! (Check out our post with 10 quick and easy bedtime snacks for kids.)
Have you found certain foods that disrupt your child’s sleep? Let us know in the comments!