Let’s be honest, no one copes with lack of sleep. Children have tantrums and so do parents and, of course, sleep deprivation makes everyone feel out of control, confused, forgetful, tearful and the list goes on. To solve some of these problems, find out more about naturopathic sleep for the whole family.

From newborns to the elderly sleep maintenance or onset can be a living nightmare, which becomes an issue and resolving it can seem like an impossible task. Nature has many options to try and relax the body and promote natural sleeping patterns. Lets start with the babies and children and then we will move on to you mum and dad. Don’t worry there is something to try for you all.

Newborn babies obviously will wake to feed and be nurtured and regular interruptions will be a part of new parenthood. However, sometimes an infant will be restless and screaming with no obvious reason. No wet nappy, just had a feed and cuddle and yet apparently very unhappy. This is when the following tips & strategies may assist to promote calm and relaxation:-

Naturopathic sleep for the whole family

  • Burning lavender oil using an electric vapouriser in the child’s room. Lavender is a great relaxing oil and has a gently sedative property.
  • Use lavender to massage your baby before you try to put them down for the night. We all love massages and your baby is no different. Lavender oil is a great digestive aid and acts as a carminative to help prevent wind formation in the gut. Colic can obviously be a factor in the newborn baby or constipation.
  • Mums drink some fennel, dill or chamomile tea to assist digestion and the baby will naturally feel the benefits through your breast milk.
  • Homeopathic remedies such as chamomilla and avena sativa are great to use. They can be given directly to baby and mum. These are natural calming and sedative drops and can be found at any good health store.
  • Teething infants can use chamomilla and belladonna to help reduce the inflammation and heat within their bodies and address the throbbing pain than can be unbearable for a little one.
  • Malcolm Harker has a great range of herbal extracts and one in particular, “calmunurse“, has worked a dream for many a stressed parent and child.
  • Tru2u do a tart cherry sleep support specifically for children.
  • Rescue remedy sleep is a fairly new product which works really well for a lot of people.
  • Mums and dads, if you are stressed and fatigued take magnesium and try some herbal sleep remedies. There are many individual herbs such as skull cap, passionflower, hops, valerian and oats which are nervine herbs to promote relaxation and calm. Again Chamomile is a nice gentle herb to use. Mums, you can take chamomile tea or the tincture, but always tell your herbalist that you are breastfeeding so they can make up a safe remedy for you and of course your baby.
  • For older children, stress and emotional needs can be a factor. Are your kids happy at school? Are they worrying about anything and not sharing with you? Is their diet addressing all their nutritional needs, or are they depleted in some areas? Are they approaching adolescence where hormonal changes can be a factor? Bach flowers are great at addressing emotional factors.
  • Try to avoid sugary drinks before bed as this can over-stimulate older kids, as can the computer, phones and tv. Form a bedtime pattern to the best of your ability so that the mind and body starts to prepare them for bed. Drinks before bed can cause disturbance to their sleeping pattern and cause them to wake during the night for a loo stop.

Lack of sleep can cause much stress on the nervous system and immune system and knock the body way off balance. For more great tips on re-balancing your family the natural way, check out our Ask a naturopath section.

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Tracy Harris is a registered NZ naturopath and herbalist, and natural health writer, who has both a natural health shop and a natural mother & child store in Auckland.

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