Children's insomnia is a frequent problem. Here are the experts' tips for fighting restless sleep and nighttime awakenings and helping the little one fall asleep easily
Nocturnal or early awakenings, difficulty getting to sleep, and restless nights are a common problem in children. The data reveal it. According to the Italian Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics (SIPPS) the problem affects one child out of 4. "The number increases in the first year of life due to the request for feedings also during the night", explains the pediatrician Leo Venturelli, SIPPS communication manager. The Italian Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics has drawn up a series of recommendations to encourage the nocturnal rest of the children within Nutripiatto, a food education project aimed at children aged 4 to 12 years developed together with Nestlé, with the scientific supervision of the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. Among the most common causes of children's insomnia, experts point out, there is often poor nutrition. "The rhythm with which meals are taken, their composition and their schedule influence the quality of rest," comments the pediatrician Giuseppe Di Mauro, president of SIPPS. Sleep plays a key role in the development of the baby. In fact, many growth hormones are produced during the night's rest.
Making Children Sleep: Mistakes to Avoid
According to SIPPS recommendations, children after 5 pm should avoid consuming tea, chocolate, broccoli, broccoli, turnip greens and all aged cheeses. These foods contain tyramine, a substance that can hinder sleep and cause restlessness. Then pay attention to the proteins contained in meat and fish. They can have an exciting effect. The advice is to insert them for lunch. For dinner, however, it is better to focus on pasta, rice or cereals, with the addition of legumes. "Excess protein in the diet disturbs sleep because it stimulates thirst," explains pediatrician Leo Venturelli. "As a result, the child drinks more and urinates more often to get rid of urea, a protein waste product." Then pay attention to excess salt, both to that added in the soups and to that contained in the cheeses. The latter, according to experts, should be consumed in small quantities (5-10 g) and only as an alternative to other sources of protein. Vegetables passed in the jelly should also be consumed sparingly. In some cases, in fact, they can cause bloating and abdominal colic and, therefore, hamper rest.
Foods that promote sleep
To facilitate the night's rest of the children in the menu go-ahead to foods rich in tryptophan. This amino acid is a precursor of serotonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and mood and promotes relaxation. Whole grains (oats, rye, spelled, etc.), legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc.), yogurt, pine nuts, almonds are good sources. Yes also to foods rich in vitamin B6. Help the body to use tryptophan. So go ahead with milk, rice, barley and bananas. Potassium is also an excellent sleep ally. It is contained in good quantities in courgettes, apricots, carrots, plums, spinach, chicken and yogurt. Potatoes are also rich in this which, in addition to potassium, contain complex carbohydrates that facilitate the use of tryptophan.
Extra help: relaxing herbs
To facilitate the falling asleep of children who are more than one year old, good night herbsis. Chamomile, hawthorn, lemon balm, passionflower, linden, valerian and verbena are ideal for preparing infusions and herbal teas. They promote relaxation and facilitate rest.