Toddler Bed Time Drama – I’ve had enough!

Toddler Bed Time Drama – I’ve had enough!

Toddler Bed Time Drama – I’ve had enough!

“My 3 year old will not go to bed in the evening. He used to sleep and settle easily, but now he is fighting going to sleep, waking overnight, and to top it off he has become fussy with his food. I work full time and don’t get home until 5pm, by the time he is asleep these days its 9pm, and I am exhausted, please help!”

This is not an uncommon situation, nor is it impossible to fix, so don’t panic.

If you’re reading this and you are having drama’s with your toddler in the evening or overnight, you’re not alone. Each year we help over thousands of parents with toddlers get their sleep sorted again. It’s not just babies who have troubles settling and sleeping.

There are numerous behavioral and environmental elements for us to consider when we write your sleep plan, but one factor that is often over looked when dealing with toddler sleep issues is nutrition. Your child grows the most it will ever grow in its first 12 months, from there the hand breaks are on! Your child’s growth slows right down, and so does their appetite.

This can lead to the appearance of a fussy eater, but in reality they are not hungry. Understanding this means that your toddlers food should be nutritious and high in good quality, but not necessarily high quantity.

On top of your toddler’s appetite diminishing, once your toddler is tired, or over tired fussy eating is almost guaranteed. This can lead to frustration by us and less desirably foods being offered at dinner time.

When the reality is poor sleep can often be partially if not completely resolved by a good diet that supports the neurological and physical aspects of your child’s sleep.

Less bed time resistance by changing your toddlers diet?

Higher intakes of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, specifically DHA, have been associated with less bedtime resistance, and lower sleep disturbance.  Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna are good sources of DHA Fatty Acids.  Flaxseeds, walnuts and soybeans are also good sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Mineral deficiencies can lead to restlessness.

Zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium are responsible for hundreds of processes in the human body.  Their activity is linked to one another, so a deficiency in any of these will affect sleep to varying degrees:

Zinc is needed for muscle and nervous system relaxation.  Zinc deficiencies have been shown to increase muscle tension, irritability and restless leg syndrome

Good sources of zinc include; seafood, lean beef & lamb, spinach, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (or tahini), cashews, and beans.

Iron deficiency can prevent a child from falling asleep and staying asleep.

Good sources of iron include; Lean red meat, liver, green leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and fortified cereals and formula.

Once we are sure your toddlers diet is spot on….

We can start to create a sleep plan that establishes clear boundaries and consequences for your toddler. Children under 5 need these boundaries to feel secure and understand what is expected of them, it teaches them good sleep habits and removes temptations at bed time which can feel stressful to a little person with minimal impulse control.

Understand that the lack of sleep from 7pm – 9pm has resulted in large amounts of sleep debt, and your sleep plan needs to allow time for your toddler to get on top of this as they start to settle easier and faster. Ensuring that your sleep plan takes into consideration all the influences of healthy sleep is the key to success.

  • Behavioural
  • Nutritional
  • Environmental
  • Emotional
  • Timing 
  • Physiological

Are you ready for better toddler sleep? 


Leave a comment

* Required fields

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.