I thought we'd gotten past the "no sleep for Mom stage" back when my daughter was a newborn. Oh, how wrong I was. My daughter is 8 years old, and she is not sleeping. It has turned our entire household upside down. Even the dogs don't know when to get up and bark and when to lie down and be lazy.
Everyone and their mother tell me the secret is a solid bedtime routine, but we've already got that down. We've done the same bath (or shower), jammies, story, snuggles routine for years! And it's not working anymore.
I've been getting desperate. A number of parents were praising melatonin to get kids to sleep, and they almost had me. I was thisclose, but then I got nervous. What if my kid is the kid who becomes dependent on drugs to sleep or worse?
So what's a mom to do? I've been turning to natural sleep aids that are safe for kids and might actually get me some much needed rest!
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1. Chamomile tea -- I always knew chamomile was calming, but according to Dr. Oz, it's also a natural sleep inducer!
2. Lavender oil -- A friend puts a few drops on her kids' feet at night, and the soothing aromas help them drift off to dreamland. According to the studies, she's on to something. Lavender has been shown "to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure, and put you in a parasympathetic [relaxed] state."
3. Bananas -- I have often heard that a banana before bed will boost your potassium level and help reduce leg cramps -- if you're prone to them. But it turns out the tasty fruits also contain tryptophan -- the same sleep-inducing amino acid that makes you sleepy after you indulge in Thanksgiving turkey.
4. Massage -- What? If mama's not getting a massage, ain't nobody getting a massage? Don't knock it until you try it! A rub-down on a kid will induce the same soporific effects it does in adults.
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5. Kick out the gadgets -- Kiddos are becoming increasingly hooked on electronics, but even if you swear the TV helps your tot to sleep, science says otherwise. Doctors suggest limiting screentime (including tablets, computers, TV, etc) to no more than two hours a day, and not before bed.
6. Linen spray -- Kid won't drink tea or let you apply oil to their feet? Sounds like a kid! But there's a way around it -- spray their pillow and/or sheets with a soothing scent. You can even make your own linen spray with lavender and chamomile.
7. Pink noise -- You've heard of white noise, but what is pink noise? Apparently it's a type of sound in which every octave carries the same power, and according to at least one study, it doesn't just help people sleep, it promotes "stable sleep," the most restful kind. To get some for your kids, try a fan or a noisemaker that produces sounds similar to falling rain.
How do you get your kids to sleep?
Image by Jeanne Sager