Sandra is a medical herbalist, medical anthropologist, and columnist for the NZ Herald.

Your health: Natural remedies to help children sleep

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Getting wee ones to sleep can be a trying time for everyone involved. Photo / Getty
Getting wee ones to sleep can be a trying time for everyone involved. Photo / Getty

I am wondering if I can give my children anything to help with getting them to sleep. They are just not sleeping through the night and are very tired in the day.

Getting wee ones to sleep can be a trying time for everyone involved. It is important to try and investigate why they are not sleeping: are they anxious? Are they over stimulated before bed? Or maybe it's something they're eating that may be affecting how they sleep?

Traditional plant medicine is a wonderful tool to help children with their health and works especially well if they cannot sleep.

Having plant remedies as a medicinal tea can help them establish a sleep routine which can give them a refreshing and restorative sleep.

Specific medicinal plants can facilitate falling and staying asleep, such as Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Hops (Humulus lupulus) and Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis. They are well researched for their sleep supporting properties.

Hops is a great plant that has been used to help with sleep and relaxation for centuries.

It has been used successfully to treat sleep disorders as well as restlessness and anxiety.
Numerous studies confirm that when Hops is combined with Valerian it shows even stronger improvements in sleep parameters.

Lemon balm helps relaxation and reduces anxiety that can occur if people are finding it difficult to sleep.

A 2006 study showed that in children under 12, over 80 per cent found their wakefulness reduced and 70 per cent found a decrease in restlessness after consuming a combination of Valerian and Lemon balm.

This is great for children as often they wake in the night, get wound up and cannot get back to sleep.

Having a set sleep routine might be helpful; incorporating a warm bath before bed with lavender oil in the water will help to induce feelings of sleep, as well as having a set time for them to have their medicinal tea.

Instigating a routine will help you both as it indicates it is time for bed, and this may hopefully stop further sleep issues occurring.

However, if you find that their condition gets worse or you find no relief then please contact your lead medical provider.

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Sandra is a medical herbalist, medical anthropologist, and columnist for the NZ Herald.

Sandra Clair is the founder of Artemis (artemis.co.nz) offering New Zealanders a premium range of traditional plant medicine products. She is one of New Zealand’s most highly qualified health professionals in her field, as a Swiss trained medical herbalist and a medical anthropologist (M.A.). Sandra is currently completing a PhD in health science at the University of Canterbury in collaboration with the Chair for Natural Medicine of the University of Zürich, Switzerland.

Read more by Sandra Clair

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