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Sleep is such an important aspect of life, so much so that it’s an essential function that people need to be healthy. With good sleep, the mind and body have an opportunity to unwind and recharge so that it’s easier to feel rejuvenated and alert the next day. Quality sleep even helps ward off diseases, increase concentration, boost brain function, and clear mental fog.
Undoubtedly, everyone needs sufficient sleep to maintain good health and be the best version of themselves. And this is especially true when it comes to kids, and specifically, toddlers.
Unlike adults who can try to keep it together when they’re running on fumes, toddlers have no way of overcoming the consequences of little to no sleep. Outbursts, temper tantrums, and mood swings will occur if a toddler doesn’t get the rest they need.
And if you’re a parent whose child is experiencing these consequences firsthand, don’t worry. There are natural sleep remedies for toddlers that can lull your child to bed and give them deep sleep.
How much sleep does a toddler need?
First thing’s first. How much sleep should your toddler get every day? Well, given the fact that toddlers are 1-2 years old, research suggests that they need about 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day.
This estimate is much different than the seven or more hours of sleep that adults need. But honestly, it makes sense. Toddlers are at such a vulnerable age where they’re still developing in many ways, and sleep plays a role in how well that development happens.
The benefits of sleep for toddlers
If your toddler gets enough sleep, they’ll experience several benefits, and all of them will be a result of a well-rested brain. When toddlers consistently get the correct amount of sleep, they restore the resources they expended during the day.
Once those resources are replenished and their minds are alert, toddlers can do the following:
- Experience more creativity
- Concentrate on tasks for extended periods
- Make positive decisions more regularly
- Have better problem-solving skills
- Experience a boost in energy levels
- Develop and maintain good relationships
These benefits are all things you want for your child. And if sleep can help provide these advantages, then it’s imperative to make sure your kid gets enough of it. Otherwise, day-to-day life can become difficult for you and your child.
The symptoms and warning signs of bad sleep
If your toddler isn’t getting enough sleep, a few things will clue you into the issue. And these side effects are emotional, mental, and physical.
Emotional symptoms of poor sleep
- Increase in irritability
- Increase in moodiness
- Increase in impulsivity
- Increase in stress
Mental symptoms of poor sleep
- Challenges in learning new information
- Disinterest and lack of motivation
- Inability to focus on everyday tasks
- Increase in forgetfulness
- Blurred vision
Physical symptoms of poor sleep
- Trouble waking up in the morning
- Frequently yawning throughout the day
- Falling back asleep after waking up
- Constantly wanting to nap during the day
- Feeling tired or complaining
- Preferring to sleep throughout the day, even if it means not hanging out with friends or family
- Experiencing drowsiness at home
- Regularly wanting unhealthy stimulants like sugar
All of these are clear signs that your toddler is not getting enough sleep. And eventually, it’ll result in a sleep debt, which is when your child owes their mind and body rest.
Too large of a sleep debt can make your toddler feel mentally exhausted. Even worse, if the problem isn’t solved quickly, it could exacerbate existing behavioral conditions like hyperactivity and autism.
Why toddlers struggle to sleep
If your toddler isn’t getting enough sleep and you’re starting to notice symptoms, there are a few reasons for the problem. Oftentimes, toddlers wake up in the middle of the night because of discomfort. Examples of this are illness and teething pain.
However, sometimes their restlessness is due to separation anxiety. Your toddler may wake up wondering where you or someone else is and worry about your lack of presence.
Additionally, dreams and nightmares can make it difficult for toddlers to stay asleep, especially if it’s hard for them to separate the dreams from reality. Also, spending too much time on screens can affect your child’s sleep habits as the blue light from digital devices can hinder the release of melatonin, a sleep hormone that induces drowsiness.
3 natural sleep remedies for toddlers
Finally, it’s time to talk about natural sleep remedies for toddlers. More often than not, helping your child fall and stay asleep doesn’t require medication. Unless your toddler is experiencing a sleep condition or health problem that’s impacting their ability to sleep, you can typically use natural methods to coax your child to bed.
However, not every natural remedy is created equal. Some are better than others, so here is a list of the top three natural sleep remedies for toddlers.
1. Relaxing bath before bedtime
A hot, relaxing bath is always a great way to increase drowsiness. Research even shows that taking a hot bath one or two hours before bed can help a person fall asleep faster, and it can improve sleep quality.
One reason for this is that hot water lowers body temperature, and this dip signals to the body that it’s time to go to sleep. So next time you want to help your toddler prepare for bed, give them a warm bath to make it easier for them to close their eyes and fall asleep.
2. CBD chocolate or treats
CBD chocolates or treats are some of the best natural sleep remedies for toddlers, especially if your child has separation anxiety at night. Research continues to prove that CBD is excellent at reducing anxiety.
For example, one study found that 80 percent of participants who took CBD experienced less anxiety within one month. Additionally, more than 65 percent of participants reported initial improvement in their sleep.
If you decide to move forward with CBD, your toddler should experience similar results. But it’s important to make sure the CBD is infused in chocolate or some sort of tasty treat. That way, it’s easier for your child to consume and enjoy.
Using a soothing scent to help your toddler fall and stay asleep is a wonderful strategy. Aromatherapy is so relaxing, and it provides a great way to help your child slow down and unwind.
But for aromatherapy to work, you need to have the right essential oils, and the best one for sleep is lavender. This purple flowering shrub contains the essential oil that scientists commonly study. And according to research, lavender essential oil has the power to calm the nervous system, mainly because it has linalool and linalyl acetate in it, which are two soothing chemical compounds.
If you want to implement this natural sleep remedy for toddlers, you can easily do so. Just get an essential oil diffuser, lavender bath products, or spritz a few drops of lavender onto your kid’s pillowcase.
Your toddler deserves the best sleep
While it may be discouraging to see your toddler suffer from bad sleep, this problem is not something that you can’t overcome. By using natural sleep remedies for toddlers, you can help your child get the deep, restful sleep they deserve. All you have to do is continue to be patient and start implementing the above remedies in your toddler’s bedtime routine.