Can you help your baby sleep through the night?

Fortunately, the answer to this question is a resounding ‘Yes’!  (I see sleep-deprived parents prick up their ears).  Waking during the night can be caused by a number of things, but one of the most common and easily remedied is low blood sugar levels (resulting from an initial blood sugar spike).

Mainstream advice seems to be to offer your child/baby a carbohydrate-rich diet, especially high in baby cereals and rice.  This is a problem for children because – until they are between the ages of 12-36 months – they cannot produce the digestive enzymes required to deal with starchy carbohydrates, so eating these foods causes their little digestive systems a lot of stress and can lead to ongoing future gut issues.  It also causes blood sugar problems (which can ultimately, in the worst-case scenario, lead to Diabetes).  Every meal should, instead, be high in good quality proteins and fats, and should also include vegetables.

When diets are high in starchy carbs, blood sugar levels rise dramatically, leading to insulin production and then a resulting fall in blood sugar and ultimately, an increase in adrenalin (this hormone is responsible for picking blood sugar levels back up again).  Think of how your feel when your adrenalin is flowing … hyper alert and ready to ‘take flight or fight’.  This adrenalin surge is what can waken your baby during the night and can lead to ongoing restlessness.

Other things you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep are:

  1. Black out your baby’s room, so that you cannot see your hand in front of your face (this ensures that cortisol levels remain low, thus allowing melatonin – the ‘sleep’ hormone – to rise).
  2. In the 90 minutes prior to bedtime, make sure your baby is not exposed to overhead lighting … use lamps and dimmers, or candlelight (again, this brings cortisol levels down, allowing melatonin to rise naturally).

For more information, contact Tanya Wyatt, 32 7th Ave, Walmer (tel 041 581 1679) during office hours or contact her at tanya@thehappybodyco.com

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