5 Natural Sleep Aids for Mother and Child
We all know what happens when someone in the family doesn’t get enough sleep. When it’s a child or baby, their irritability can throw everyone else off. And when it’s you, there’s nothing worse than trying to manage a family on too-little sleep. You find yourself unfocused on top of being just plain tired. These situations can have you rushing out on a hunt to find sleep aids and solutions, especially when more than one member of the family is struggling. With a case like this, natural sleep aids are a great option as they are more apt to be safe for young members of the family, as well as yourself. And they offer ways to incorporate good sleep habits into your lifestyle. First, we’ll discuss how to encourage healthy sleep hygiene for you, for kids, and for babies. Then we’ll go through some of the best natural sleep aids that can help you and your family get a great night’s rest.
Encouraging Healthy Sleep for Yourself
Taking care of yourself is essential. It’s often easy for mothers to forget this simple fact when they’re taking care of a family too. But prioritizing your own health helps make sure that you’re able to be there when others need you. With this in mind, we’ve included a couple suggestions for encouraging easier, healthy sleep. Also, remember that in a family, setting good sleep aids and habits often overlap. For instance, if everyone has a similar wind-down schedule then the entire household will be a place that encourages a good routine. So while we’ll get into good sleep hygiene for kids and babies in the next couple sections, some of these lifestyle habits overlap, and you may find it’s easiest when the entire family works together.
1. Keep a similar bedtime schedule to your children.
With a long to-do list, it’s common to want to race to get done all you can while your kids are asleep. But what about your own rest? A work email or household chore can wait. Prioritize your health whenever possible by being mindful about whether you need sleep and take advantage of your kid’s quiet times to allow yourself to rest.
2. Try different relaxation techniques.
Utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, or soothing music or white noise can be a great natural sleep aid. If you have specific methods that have worked in the past, keep them in mind the next time you have trouble getting to sleep. Or, try something new. There are a multitude of accessible options available for you, from guided meditation apps to Youtube channels devoted to ASMR. Having a set of options ready just when you need them makes it easier to help yourself when you might not otherwise be the most focused.
3. Find your support network.
If you find yourself weighed down with stress that’s negatively impacting your sleep, your support network may be able to help. Wherever you find them, whether it be in personal friends, parent groups, other family members, or somewhere else, support networks can be invaluable for parents. They can go a long way towards helping you feel validated and not alone on your journey through parenthood. Having a set group of people to turn to when you feel overwhelmed may also help alleviate the stress that’s keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. And reducing stress is one of the best natural sleep aids.
4. Encourage healthy sleep for the entire family.
It’s in every family member’s best interest to get a good night’s sleep. And everyone working together can make it much easier to adopt healthy habits. One person up during the night can easily interrupt others. So helping to promote a restful night for kids helps you in turn get some sleep.
With that in mind, next we’ll take a look at some lifestyle habits to encourage healthy sleep in kids.
Encouraging Healthy Sleep for Kids
Kids thrive on routine. It can provide much-needed consistency and the peace-of-mind of knowing what’s coming next. Finding a bedtime routine that works for them - and also works to support their health - is one of the best ways to create long-lasting lifestyle habits and help reduce insomnia in children. Here’s a couple habits that, once implemented, promote restful nights for kids.
1. Get some physical activity during the day.
Scheduling exercise during the day can work as a natural remedy for insomnia and help people of all ages fall asleep easier at night. For kids, providing plenty of opportunities for daytime physical activity helps give them an outlet for energy while still keeping a good schedule for sleep.
2. Save winding down activities for the evening.
Congruent to saving active games for daytime is saving wind down projects for evening. Quiet activities, like reading, help the brain relax after a day of non-stop movement. They also help signal to your child that the time to run around has passed and the time to settle down has arrived.
3. Create a usual time to turn off screens - and stick to it.
Decreasing the amount that you use blue light-emitting devices in the evening has been shown to support better sleep, even in those with sleep issues. In the interest of winding down in the evening, establishing a habitual time when screens get turned off helps promote and signal a time of rest to the brain and eyes. If possible, setting the same or similar time for yourself gives you the same benefit and avoids having to make excuses if your kids start questioning hypocrisy. Our extreme reliance on phones, tablets, and computers can make it difficult, but it is worth it for your health.
4. Try a relaxing bath.
For those that enjoy them, taking a warm bath near bedtime is a simple but effective natural sleep aid for kids. You can also incorporate calming essential oils in safe amounts during bathtime.
5. Check the lighting.
Part of encouraging sleep for a child is providing a welcoming space to fall asleep in. And an important part of your kid’s room is the lighting. Using lights that are too bright or too cool near bedtime negatively affects drowsiness and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Therefore, evening is the best time to utilize the dimmer switch. Or if the main lights don’t dim, consider sourcing a small lamp with a soft and warm light specifically for nighttime.
Encouraging Healthy Sleep for Baby
Babies of course have their own sleep schedule compared to older kids. But, while staying mindful of their unique needs, there are a couple key points in encouraging healthy sleep for them too. For example, natural sleep aids for babies and establishing routines are both effective tools to utilize. A calming routine promotes rest in the same way it does for older kids. Similarly, keeping active games for the daytime and quiet activities for the evening helps signal to babies when they are expected to wind down. Or, a warm night time bath might promote relaxation too if the baby can’t sleep, as long as they don’t find water to be too exciting.
What is the most effective natural sleep aid?
If you’ve established good nighttime routines and you still find the need for some extra support, natural sleep aids for kids or for you may be a good option. There are many choices out there, but different things of course work for different people, so some trial and error may be in order. If one doesn’t work for you or your child, you can always try another as long as it is safe for their age. To help sort through the options, we’ve listed ingredients to look for that are known to promote rest and are safe for most members of the family. We’ve also provided some of the most effective ways to utilize each natural remedy for insomnia or sleeplessness.
L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has been shown to promote relaxation and better sleep. Also, in correct doses, l-theanine for kids is safe and effective. Many natural sleep products made specifically for adults and kids contain the ingredient.
Chamomile is one of the most well-known and extensively used natural remedies to help promote sleep. While many natural sleep supplements contain chamomile, you can easily find it in sleep time teas, or simply plain chamomile tea. In addition, many choose the tea because drinking a warm beverage before bed is a relaxing ritual in itself. You can try it yourself, as well as offer a warm tea of chamomile for kids. However, not much is known about using chamomile or chamomile tea for babies or toddlers.
Lavender is also commonly used as a natural sleep aid and as a sleep remedy for kids. It’s been utilized as an essential oil for it’s relaxation-promoting benefits. Sprinkling some on your or your child’s bed sheets, pillows, or in their bath is a simple way to utilize it for aromatherapy. Just make sure not to use too much, as the scent may become overpowering for some. You can also find the scent of lavender in many body lotions for mom or kids, or lotions made specifically as a baby sleep aid. Using one of these lotions as part of an evening routine or after a warm bath is a great way to utilize lavender’s natural power.
Magnesium is a naturally-occuring essential mineral that works to help calm the nervous system. It’s commonly available in sleep aid products or in topical lotions that are used to help promote physical relaxation. In the correct doses, magnesium for kids or for you may support easier sleep. However, not much is known about magnesium for babies, so it is not recommended for use in this age group.
Melatonin is a hormone that naturally occurs in the body according to your circadian rhythm, or when it gets dark at the end of the day. It’s most commonly utilized with good efficiency in adult- or child- specific sleep aid products to ensure the correct dosage for each family member. Many parents have found melatonin for kids very effective. And have discovered that it works well for themselves. However, it’s not recommended for infants, as not much is currently known about melatonin for babies.
Getting the family and yourself to sleep on a consistent basis can be frustrating, especially if someone is having trouble falling or staying asleep. However, by establishing an evening routine that works for you, it’s entirely possible to build healthy habits for the entire family. And, if a little extra help is needed, considering a safe, natural sleep aid is a good option to support rest when it seems far away. Try one of the provided options to promote healthy sleep for kids and healthy sleep for you - which is just as important.