Calming foods can promote the restful sleep kids need for good health and wellbeing. Kids can eat foods at night with natural sources of melatonin, a hormone that encourages sleep, and tryptophan, an essential amino acid that converts to melatonin to help the body relax. Melatonin is responsible for regulating the circadian rhythms, which influence the 24 hour sleep and wake cycles. Foods with natural sources of melatonin are: tart cherries, cherry juice, chilies, fenugreek, corn, rice, sprouted seeds, and tomatoes. Tryptophan also boosts the production of calming serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the body and has a natural sedative effect. Foods with natural sources of tryptophan are: yogurt, bananas, chickpeas, pineapple, tofu, nuts and seeds.
Kids find that daily exercise, like gardening or sports, promotes a restful sleep. Getting that restful sleep is also one of the most important factors for good oral health, helping to reduce inflammation and accelerate healing in the mouth. The entire body gets recharged during sleep.
Kids can make three different evening drinks to promote a good night sleep. Kids can drink a relaxing bedtime glass of cherry juice, which contains melatonin and antioxidants. Walnuts are a great source of omega-3, which helps balance moods and calm the nerves and make a great bedtime snack. Kids can make a shake by putting in the blender: 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, three chopped dates, a banana, and 6 ounces of coconut yogurt and blend until smooth. Kids can also make an herbal tea before bed with chamomile flowers, passionflower, and valerian root, which encourage deep sleep and sweet dreams.