Can Vitamin D Help My Baby Sleep Better?

Can Vitamin D Help My Baby Sleep Better?

If you are a parent, chances are that at some point an older relative has told you that fresh air will help your baby sleep better and, as with a lot of advice from older generations, we are always sceptical as to how much is myth or truth. In this blog, we will look into the facts from a baby sleep expert viewpoint to find out if Vitamin D can improve your baby’s sleep

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What Is Vitamin D And Where Can We Find It?

Vitamin D can be found in solar exposure (sunshine!) and smaller quantities can be found in food. It’s proven to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate within the body which can affect the growth of bones, teeth and muscles – the NHS website even warns against the risk of rickets because of lack of vitamin D! Recent studies have also shown that there is a correlation between both sleep quality and quantity when low levels of vitamin D, which we’ll go into further later on.

When Should Your Child Have A Vitamin D Supplement?

If you are breastfeeding, you should have been advised to give your baby, and mum, an oral vitamin D supplement daily to ensure this particular need is met. If your baby is on formula, then their vitamin D needs will be met through the fortified milk. Just don’t forget to start them on the supplement when they switch over to cow’s milk! The advice is that your child should have a vitamin D supplement up to the age of 5, but during the current covid-19 pandemic it is advised that we all take these supplements to compensate for less time spent outdoors.

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How Does Vitamin D Affect My Baby’s Sleep?

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in July 2020 investigating the relationship between sleep and vitamin D proved two outcomes through their sleep study. Those children with a vitamin D deficiency slept for not only less time but they also tended to have a later bedtime, two things that all parents want to avoid with their little ones.

Without getting too technical with the scientific aspects, the vitamin D binds receptors in areas of the brain which are involved in sleep regulation. It also plays a pivotal role in the process of creating melatonin which is a hormone that helps baby sleep better.

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Using This Information We Have Come Up With Some Baby Sleep Guidance For Ensuring Your Baby’s Vitamin D Is Fully Topped Up As Well As Their Amount Of Sleep!

1. Ensure Your Baby Is Having A Vitamin D Supplement If You Breastfeeding Or If They Are Over One Year Old.

Your baby should take vitamin D Supplement if they are breastfeeding or are over one year old and drinking cows milk. These oral supplements are easy to add to your daily routine, they can be flavoured, and if you struggle to pay for these extra supplements your Health Visitor or doctor should be able to source some for you

2. Get Outside As Much As You Can!

In addition to the Vitamin D dose, the outdoors bring, even in dreary weather taking the pram outside for some fresh air will do both you and baby the world of good. In a lot of countries, they leave the baby to nap outside in the pram – even in snowy weather! When growing up in the mountains in Europe, all the children my age, including me, would be parked outside in the pram whether that was on the balcony or in the garden and issues with baby sleeping were completely unheard of! Although let us just clarify that your Baby Sleep Coach isn’t advising you leave your sleepy angel parked napping with the foxes nibbling at its feet in central London! However, there’s no reason why you can’t sit outside with a cup of tea or an ice cream (weather depending) and enjoy the outdoors whilst baby naps if you have the outdoor space. Sleeping when out on walks is also a natural part of the newborn stage that has great health and sleep benefits for both mum and baby. This is particularly useful in the colder months when our homes are stuffy with central heating.

The Lullaby Of The Sun: the role of vitamin D in sleep disturbance, Muscogiuri et al, 2018.
Vitamin D and sleep in children, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2020

So Can Vitamin D Help My Baby Sleep Better And For Longer?

The answer is YES! In addition to being a necessary vitamin to promote good levels of calcium and growth, Vitamin D promotes improved quality and length of sleep in not only infants but also the parents as well. With scientific research backing up this sleep advice, we definitely think it’s worth putting into action with your family to help you all get a better nights sleep.

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

Foods To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night

Foods To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night

Any parent of a baby or toddler longs for their baby to be a sleepy angel and sleep through the night.  Frantic google searches in the small hours ask, “how can I help my baby settle to sleep” or “sleep tips for toddlers”.  In this article, we take a close look at foods that can help your baby sleep through the night.  We’ll look at tips that can support quality sleep for your baby and for you, and we’ll be discussing tasty mealtime options that are a win-win when it comes to helping your baby to sleep through the night.

So What Foods Will Help My Toddler Sleep?

Generally speaking, look for foods that are high in melatonin which helps to control the body’s circadian rhythm, vitamin B6 which helps brain produce melatonin, tryptophan and vitamin C which helps to produce serotonin and melatonin. Also foods rich in potassium and magnesium.


List Of Sleep Inducing Foods To Help Your Child Sleep:

  • Tart cherries and tart cherry juice

  • Banana, Pineapple, Kiwi, Figs, Oranges

  • Avocado, tomatoes

  • Broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn

  • Kale, spinach, lettuce

  • Soybeans (edamame)

  • Milk, Natural unsweetened yoghurt

  • Eggs

  • Poultry

  • fatty fish

  • Walnuts, pistachios and. cashews

  • Oats and wheat

  • Rice, beans, lentils

  • sweet potatoes, butternut squash

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What Should Breastfeeding Mum Eat To Help Baby Sleep?

Many Mums choose to breastfeed their baby, and in doing so, you can ensure your breast milk is rich in sleep supporting foods.  Nutrients in foods that Mum’s eat pass through into breastmilk.  Breastfeeding Mums should avoid excess stimulants in their diet, such as caffeine, artificial additives and sugar if they are serious about foods to help baby sleep through the night.  Likewise, eating foods that are rich in the amino acid, tryptophan, can be a smart choice for breastfeeding Mums who want to support their baby’s sleep.  So what should breastfeeding mum eat? Tryptophan is found in a range of foods such as turkey, eggs, wheat and oats, soy products, bananas and green leafy vegetables.  All these foods contain tryptophan which supports the production of the hormone melatonin to regulate sleep.

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Weaning And Foods To Help Baby Sleep Well

As your baby begins to wean at about 6-months of age, you can introduce foods that help baby to sleep through the night.  Aim for foods that are nutritious and easy to digest, and steer clear of stimulants such as caffeine and artificial additives.  Many parents don’t realise that chocolate can contain caffeine, so it’s wise to limit your baby or toddler’s consumption of this sweet treat.

Foods that support sleep for babies and toddlers include those rich in tryptophan as listed above.  You can get creative and introduce shredded turkey into soups and broths for your baby.  Scrambled eggs with small amounts of Spanish wilted down makes a great sleep supporting dinner and its easy to bake simple oat-based cookies sweetened with mashed banana.

In addition, consider slower burning carbohydrates as a smart choice so that nutrients are absorbed at a slower rate.  Oats, sweet potatoes, rice and butternut squash all contain complex carbsFoods rich in B-vitamins also support sleep. Beans, lentils, broccoli, avocados and bananas help your child to produce the calming and relaxing hormones of serotonin and magnesium.

Leading children’s food expert, Annabel Karmel, has some fantastic sleep supporting recipes that you and your baby can enjoy as part of a healthy diet.  The BBC Good Food website lists a range of healthy recipes that include many of the foods listed above, including meal ideas that are suited for baby-led weaning and toddlers.  Aim to cook up a storm for you and your baby in order to make the most of foods that help baby sleep through the night.

A bedtime milk feed for babies and toddlers continues to be an important source of nutrition for your child.  A small warm bottle of milk, or a breastfeed prior to sleep night can have a soothing effect that helps baby sleep through the night.

    girl eating broccoli

    Mealtimes That Help Baby Sleep Through The Night, What Is The Suggested Time To Eat Dinner?

    You’ll know yourself that trying to settle to sleep on a full stomach after a large meal is uncomfortable and unlikely to result in settled sleep.  You baby will benefit from well-timed meals to support them sleep through the night.  A large meal immediately before bed raises your baby’s metabolic rate and body temperature. This can make it harder to settle to sleep.  Aim that the evening meal for babies that are weaning is given around 1 ½ hours before bedtime.  That leaves enough time for awake activity and bath time, and then a final milk feed which will all help with your baby’s sleep.

    In Summary:

    So, to help your baby sleep through the night, aim to build the following tips into your baby’s routine today

    • Avoid foods that will ruin your child’s sleep. If you are breastfeeding, avoid caffeine and artificial additives.

    • Eat foods rich in tryptophan

    • Avoid giving babies that are weaning caffeine and artificial additives.

    • Sleep supporting foods for babies that are weaning include foods rich in tryptophan, B-vitamins and complex carbohydrates.

    • Allow time for your baby to digest their evening meal before bed.

    • A warm milk drink or breastfeed immediately before bed can help your baby to sleep well.


     Friedman M. (2018). Analysis, Nutrition, and Health Benefits of Tryptophan. International journal of tryptophan research: IJTR, 11, 1178646918802282.

     Tardy, A. L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., & Scholey, A. (2020). Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients, 12(1), 228.

      Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

      For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
       1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

      How Do I Make My Kids Room Sleep-Friendly?

      How Do I Make My Kids Room Sleep-Friendly?

      Arranging your child’s bedroom in a way that supports sleep can not only promote a more relaxing environment to fall asleep in but also an environment that supports resettling,  should your child wake during the night. You are aiming for the bedroom to be a calm, inviting space that your child associates with sleep.  

      Let’s consider a range of strategies that can help you to create that for your child:

      mum and dad reading story to their child at bedtime

      Make The Children’s Bedroom A Screen Free Zone

      • Aim to make the bedroom, and especially the bed, a no-screen zone, even during the day. Research shows that TV watching in the bedroom impacts young children’s sleep. The artificial blue light emitted by screens of televisions, smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming systems promotes alertness and impacts our sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm.
      • Many parents find that using a nightlight emitting a red-light wavelength can support sleep by stimulating the production of the sleepy hormone, melatonin.  If your child is scared of the dark we recommend using a red night light, a lot of parents use soft glow room thermometers which have a gentle orange glow when the room is the right temperature. Try to avoid leaving the door open as this can be a fire hazard. Avoid being able to see blue lights as discussed here.
      sleep friendly children's room

      How Do I Make My Child’s Room Sleep Friendly?

      • Set the thermostat to a slightly cooler temperature to support your toddler to feel sleepy. Aim for between 16 – 18 degrees. Breathable cotton clothing can also help with keeping cool at night.
      • Top Tip – put socks on your baby, under their sleep clothes and the sleeping bag. Room temperature normally drops at around 5 am, this can  wake your child as their feet suddenly get cold. Often the extra pair of socks can help with early rising.
      • Keep the bedroom quiet or consider using a white noise machine to mask outside sounds – particularly if your child has been used to this as a baby. Use dark curtains to block out light.
      little girl happy sleeping in her sleep friendly bedroom

      What To Watch Out For In Older Child’s Bedroom? 

      • Attend to any objects that cast potentially frightening shadows at night. This could leave a child frightened. You can ask your child if there is anything they want to take out of their bedroom to get a sense of what may potentially scare them.
      • If your child plays in their bedroom, involve them in tidying away toys before bed, so there is a clear separation between “play time” and “sleep time”.
      • If your child shares their room with a sibling, ensure each child has a separate space to call their own.
      family with a newborn baby in the moses basket

      Bedroom Set Up For A Newborn To 1 Year Old

      • In the room you should have cot or Moses or travel cot or carry cot. Use a good quality, firm, flat and waterproof mattress covered with cotton sheet. You will need a sleeping bag for a baby and light cellular blankets (remember to tuck those in, never have them loose in the cot with a baby).
      • Avoid using sleep pods or nests, sleepyhead, sleep positioners, hammocks, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets, loose heavy, non-breathable blankets, comforters or soft toys for children under 1 year old. Make sure to always follow  Lullaby trust safety recommendations! to prevent your baby from SIDS.
      children's bedroom shelves with soft toys

      Bedroom Set Up For Older Child

      • Use comfortable bedding and pillows that are appropriate for the temperature of the room – don’t forget to let your child help select their bedding or make it relevant to their likes and interests.
      • The Lullaby Trust recommends no bedding until after 12 months and ideally not until the child is using a toddler bed as opposed to a cot with raised sides. In these sleep guides you will find great techniques that will help you with transitioning from co-sleeping, transitioning to the cot or how to transition to a toddler bed.

      How To Avoid Any Bedroom  Anxieties:

      • You can leave an item or an object that reminds your child of you to support your child to manage any sense of separation anxiety. For example, they could place one of your pyjama tops under their pillow as a reminder that you are never far away. A photo could serve a similar purpose.
      • Many children have a transitional object: a particular favourite teddy or blanket that helps them to feel secure when you are not there. This can be a great support to a child. If your child has a transitional object, encourage them to take this into the bedroom at sleep time. You can use “teddy” as a means of talking about sleep needs. For example, “teddy has had a busy day, and wants to be quiet and calm now. Can you keep teddy company and help him drop to sleep?”

      Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

      For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
       1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

      Screen Time. Does Blue Light Affect My Baby’s Sleep?

      Screen Time. Does Blue Light Affect My Baby’s Sleep?

      Discussions around Blue Light and its effects are becoming more popular than ever, with a lot of devices now offering blue light filters to decrease our exposure. Whilst as adults, the majority of us decide to ignore this guidance, are our babies and children over-exposed and can blue light take some of the blame for their difficulties sleeping?

      boy thinking about blue light affect on sleep

      What Is Blue Light? Does Blue Light Affect Melatonin Production?

      Without getting too technical, all light (and colour) is made up of wavelengths and of those wavelengths, Violet and Blue are the shortest. Due to being the shortest, they interact with our Circadian Rhythm, which is our body’s internal clock and one of the largest factors that can influence either restful and restorative sleep or cause disrupted and unsatisfactory baby sleep.
      The reason it causes this effect is that Blue Light suppresses the production of Melatonin, the hormone which makes us sleepy. That’s not to say that all exposure to Blue Light is bad, we require this exposure during the day to keep our bodies awake and working correctly! However, with babies and young children who require naps, it’s a fine balance.

      Where Is Blue Light?

      Blue light can be found in the sunshine (along with Vitamin D, which if you haven’t read our blog about it can be found here) which helps to promote sleep quality if exposed at the right time of the day. However, we can also get an artificial blue light on our devices with screens and even from some LED light bulbs. Some items such as night lights and the popular gro clock produce blue light! We recommend parents always check for whether an item uses blue light when you are buying baby nursery decorations or nursery accessories- or anywhere baby sleeps!

      boy using his screen time watching ipad

      How Can I Limit  Blue Light Exposure To Help My Baby Sleep Better?

      It’s no secret that experts advise screen-time be limited for children, whilst this is something we all strive for in our daily lives it can easily be disrupted. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we just need the kids to be distracted whilst we get something done!  It’s tempting to use this any allocated screen time in the evening as we get tired and have more to do, but trying to keep the little ones away from screens for 2 hours before bed is the ideal practise so as not to mess with the Melatonin production.

      Introducing… Red Light!

      On the opposite end of the spectrum to its cousin Blue Light, Red light is the longest wavelength and has been proven to improve the production of Melatonin in the body and have no effect on the circadian rhythm.
      You can buy red nights lights, a salt lamp, a red lampshade to swap over in the evenings or even multi-coloured light bulbs that can be controlled from an app on your phone! If buying any of these is an option for you then we would recommend giving it a try.

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      Are There Ways To Counter Blue Light During Baby’s Bedtime Routine?

      In addition to avoiding screen-time for 2 hours before bed, our recommendation is to incorporate a peaceful bedtime routine. An example might be:

      • Having your evening meal in a room without TV (or turn the TV off)

      • Follow this up with some round the table games or conversation. Depending on how old your child is, this is also a great way to incorporate some family bonding! If you have a baby who can sit in the highchair you could use this time to exaggerate eating practices and try to get your baby to copy as a fun, developmental practise.

      “Choosing The Right Foods In The Evening Can Also Help Baby To Sleep Through The Night. You Can Read About The Foods That Promote Sleep Here.”

      • Once the meal has settled and there has been some interaction, a great next step is bath-time. If you have the time, it’s always great to involve some play in the water. Don’t worry too much about getting baby excited at this point.

      • Once the baby/child is out and wrapped in a fluffy towel, it’s time to start using a quieter tone and making the drying and moisturising process calming. If you have learnt any baby massage techniques now would be a great time to use those and if you have red light available this would be a good point to use this.

      • Time for a bedtime story and cuddles before you put to bed routine, this might involve some bedtime milk.

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      The Sleep Foundation: What is Circadian Rhythm?

      The HealthLine: Does Red Light at Night Help or Hinder Your Sleep

      So The Answer Is Yes, According To Scientific Research, Blue Light Can Affect Your Baby’s Sleep But By Applying Some Of Our Baby Sleep Expert Advice You Can Manage Your Sleepy Angel’s Exposure To Help Them Get A Restful Sleep.

      Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

      For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
       1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

      5 Ways To Make Going Back To Work As A Mum Easier

      5 Ways To Make Going Back To Work As A Mum Easier

      Whether you’re going back to work after maternity leave or going back to work after being a stay at home mum, chances are you’re feeling a whole range of emotions about the transition. Not just for your little one but for you too!I wanted to share with you 5 ways you can make going back to work as a mum easier on the whole family, using my decades of experience working with families and their little angels.

      1) Handover To Child-Care

      When someone else is looking after your little one on a more regular basis, especially the first few times, it’s common to think of aspects of care that you’ve forgotten to mention multiple times throughout the day! Little things such as, how does baby like to be put to bed or that your toddler likes his sandwiches cut into dinosaur shapes that, whilst they don’t make much difference in the long run, are factors that you know will make your little one feel more at home. Make yourself a list of these things over the week or two before your child goes to child-care for the first time, this way you can pass over a simple document to your care provider and offer yourself peace of mind. Not sure what to include in your handover? There is a template included in our back to work guide here.

      children in the nursery playing with the nursery teacher

      2) Pre-Arranged Updates Where Possible

      The temptation to constantly check our phones and emails can often be big at the best of times, however, if you’re back at work without your little one for the first time in a long time then that temptation is going to be strong. Whilst your employer will likely be understanding of this transitional period, it will be easier to not be glued to your personal screens if you have pre-arranged with child-care when they will contact you with little updates that aren’t an emergency. It also helps if, for instance, you’re in a meeting and you see an email flash up from nursery. Luckily, you’re already aware that they were planning to send an email at 2 pm so you don’t feel the need to lunge at your phone.

      3)|Which Child-Care Option Is The Best?

      There are so many more child-care options available than there have been in previous years and it’s important to carefully consider not only what works best for you in terms of convenience but which environment your little one will thrive in the most. Talk to other parents in your area if you can and ask for recommendations (even if it’s strangers in a local Facebook group) and if at all possible request settling-in sessions – even if it’s with a relative or friend. That way not only will they feel more settled but you’ll hopefully be more reassured they are okay on your first day back at work. A full breakdown of the pros and cons of child-care providers and things to consider in our bigger guide.

      little girl going to school with her dad

      4) How To Calm First Day Nerves?

      Both you and your child might be feeling nervous about your first day at work, childcare or school. Firstly, you must try not to pass your feelings of anxiety onto the child, try to phrase everything positively for the both of you. Such as, ‘What are you most excited about for your first day? Mummy is excited about seeing her work friends, how about you?’. You can also try some breathing exercises, if you’re doing this with your child we recommend suggesting you both take a deep breath whilst thinking about any of your worries and then blow them away when you breathe out.

      family hanging out together

      5) Getting Over Mum Guilt

      Mum Guilt gets all mothers at some point during their child’s lives and a common flair up for these feelings is going back to work and placing them in the care of someone else. A key milestone in helping yourself work through the feelings of guilt is to revisit your values, as detailed in this Harvard study. Think about the reasons behind your return to work and the values you are looking to instil in your child.

      A helpful exercise is to remind yourself of these in moments of doubt “I’m returning to work to financially support our family”, “I’m returning to work to role-model a good work ethic to my children” or similar.

      If you’re worried about returning to work or need some extra support to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable returning, you aren’t alone and I have more advice available to you. For a bargain price of just £14.99 you can get my guide which provides a breakdown of all aspects of returning to work as a mum. From a detailed analysis of different childcare options; to helping your little one transition to childcare; to helping yourself return to the working environment, I’ve got you covered. Check out my new guide here or contact me for more information.

      If you have any suggestions of your own please suggest them in the comments.

      Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

      For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
       1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.