5.14.2013

Natural Remedies That May Help You {And Your Children} Sleep



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Photo by: Pedro Klien
Last August our daughter (then 17 months old) developed some very bad sleep issues.  It seemed like over night she began having night terrors and nights of waking randomly crying and screaming.  We are STILL working through these issues (9 months later), but they have improved tremendously with some steps we finally decided to take.  I'm even writing this after 2 nights in a row of her not waking at all... now, if I could just get myself in bed before 11 I'd be doing great!  :)  

I pretty much dove in head first with this.  I started doing several things every night on a consistent basis to help our daughter sleep, and we are seeing benefits.  I haven't wanted to experiment with taking one thing away for awhile to see if makes a difference, but we have randomly forgotten to do some things.  At first I thought it must just be a coincidence when we forgot something and she had a horrible night; however, it's happened now several times so I know that at least some of these things are helping!  

Photo By: Tempophage
This is not a complete list of all things natural to make you sleep; this is just a simple list of things that we do to help our daughter.  You may or may not need to take such measures, and you should research for yourself things that could be causing lack of sleep in you or your child.  You may even need to consider getting professional help.
1.  Magnesium -  Magnesium has a calming effect that can alleviate stress.  I feel this has been the biggest help with our daughter's sleep.  You can read more about magnesium here and here.  We started with giving our daughter magnesium orally. I wasn't pleased with the ingredient list of any local stores, so we bought it from Vitacost.  If you don't get the dosage just right for this it can cause some very nasty diapers!  :) 

We now put magnesium lotion from Creative Christian Mama on our daughter every night  as part of our bedtime routine.  We use the double strength so we don't have to apply as much of the lotion and it has lasted 2 months (and we still have some left).  I really like this method!  It's easy to apply and it's absorbed within 20-30 minutes.  I KNOW this lotion works because I normally don't wash it off my own hands after applying it to my daughter.  The first night I applied it to her I also rubbed some on my own arms and I slept like a rock that night.  It really does put me into this heavy sleep where I feel so relaxed and actually rested when I wake up! If our daughter is spending the night with grandparents this is the one thing I make sure I send. See this post for other ways that you can use this lotion.  You can purchase this lotion from Creative Christian Mama or you can make it yourself.  Want to WIN this lotion? See the bottom of this post for some chances to win!  :)  You can also get 10% OFF her entire store using the code LexieNaturals at checkout (this code is good until May 22, 2013)!
2.  Amber - My friend from EstanysFlame gave me an amber necklace for my daughter and an amber and hazelwood necklace for me.  Amber helps with many things and one of those things is sleep cycles.  I will be doing a full review and giveaway on these in a few weeks so stay tuned!  You can purchase her beautiful work and read more about it here

3.  Elder berry Syrup - Elder berry syrup doesn't directly relate to sleep; however, it does have a good amount of honey in it and honey promotes sound sleep.  You can click here to see an easy recipe for this syrup.

4.  Eliminate Annatto - We had been trying to stay away from yellow cheese just for the fact that the yellow is put there as "eye candy".  Then I read this post and I had never heard of this!  I decided to give it a try.  I will say that the two times in the past few weeks that we have accidentally given our daughter annatto she has been a monster that night.  
5.  Real Salt - This goes along with magnesium intake.  I've been using Redmond real salt when I cook and we've been bathing with Redmond Bath Salt Plus in our bathwater.  Nights when I've soaked for 30 minutes with Bath Salt Plus in my bath I've really had a good night's rest.  You'll hear more about Redmond and their wonderful products in a later post.    

6.  Gentleness -  Our oldest daughter never had extended problems with sleep.  We would put her down and she'd go to sleep.  The youngest is not that way and nights had become a battle... and we usually lost.  Then, we decided to take a more gentle approach with her.  Yes, it still takes us 30 minutes to 1 hour (or more) sometimes to get her to sleep, but at least now that time is spent with sweet cuddles, rocking, and back tickles instead of kicking, screaming, and crying.

Here are a few commonsense things we do with her (and a few other sleep resources you may find helpful):
  • early bedtime at the same time every night
  • bedtime routine that includes bath, brushing teeth, reading Bible, praying, putting on lotion, etc.
  • no screen time right before bed (my kids rarely watch tv and if they do it is in the morning)
  • no eating right before bedtime (especially spicy food or food that causes acid reflux like tomatoes)
  • dark room with noise maker
  • bedtime toys and blankets
  • More posts about sleep - Whole New Mom, Creative Christian Mama, Red and Honey
Natural remedy we do NOT use:

1.  Melatonin -  Melatonin was all over the place when our daughter first started having issues.  Friends and doctors alike suggest that we try it.  And we did.  And it worked.  And then I researched more.  I understand that there is a time and place for melatonin.  It does help make someone sleepy when they are not and it is safe to use in small amounts for short amounts of time; however, I do not feel like it's worth the risks associated with it when using in small children for extended amounts of time.  You can read more about it here and here.



Don't forget to enter the giveaway below!  If you are reading this via email you will need to click into the site to enter.  You can also get 10% off Creative Christian Mama's ENTIRE STORE using code: LexieNaturals. Giveaway and Coupon Code CLOSED!
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Disclaimer: Information I have provided is for entertainment purposes only and I am not providing medical, legal, or other professional advice.  As the reader, you should read and/or use any of the information you glean from this blog at your own risk.  I have done a lot of research on this topic, but it does not mean that it is right for your family just because it is right for mine.

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