- Kids Health
Natural Remedies to Help Children Sleep
In this hub I will be explaining to you how you can use natural herbal remedies to help improve your child's sleep. I've also written another hub Top Ten Sleep Tips for Children which provides other steps you can take.
One of my favorite ways to use natural herbal remedies is by Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses the natural essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The benefits from the essential oils are achieved by inhalation or by absorption through the skin. Although essential oils are natural products this doesn't mean that they are safe and care must be taken in their use. Undiluted they can cause skin irritation and they can be toxic if ingested. You should not use essential oils to treat children in the same way that you do for adults as their skin is much more delicate so it is important that you either buy products specially formulated for children or that you carefully follow directions for use of essential oils for children.
If you are pregnant you need to be cautious about the use of essential oils during pregnancy, especially during the first three months as even oils that are generally safe during this time might be too stimulating for women who is prone to miscarriage. Fortunately the safe oils are the gentle ones some of which are also suitable for treating children. Oils which appear on both lists are lavender, tangerine, mandarin, neroli, frankincense, and chamomile.
One of the main ways I use essential oils for children is by using a diffuser. There are several different types of diffusers some of which use nightlights (a small type of candle) to evaporate the water containing the essential oils. I would never use or recommend one of these types of diffusers for use in a child's bedroom and would not use them anywhere a child is present.
The least expensive method to diffuse a room is to use a ceramic ring that is placed on a light bulb. A few drops of the essential oil are placed in the ring and the heat from the light bulb evaporates the oil.
The next step up would be to a plug in diffuser. To use these diffusers you place a few drops of essential oil on a disposal pad and plug it in. After this you get then move up into various different types of electric freestanding diffusers some of which also have calming lighting effects and then there are also multi purpose units which not only diffuse essential oils they also kill bacteria, germs and pollutants in the air whilst releasing oxygen and ionizing the air. The more money you spend the more features you get.
The content of this article is provided for your informational purposes only and it is not intended to be used as a substitute for accurate and appropriate medical advice from your health care professional.
Diffusers for Travelling and Use Away from Home
You can even buy diffusers that you can use whilst travelling and staying away from home. There are versions which plug into the lighter of your vehicle and others which operate off batteries. The plug in version is also highly portable.
The advantage of being able to use Aromatherapy on the move is that the scent will be familiar to your child and it can help overcome insecurities.
You will be able to use the diffuser to treat various problems for your children but for insomnia you can either buy a ready made mix of essential oils such as Aura Cacia Calming Nursery Blend or you can experiment and devise your own personalized mix. I would recommend a base of lavender and chamomile to which you try adding a drop of one or two other oils such as neroli, frankincense or mandarin. Essential oils are quite expensive but you do use them very sparingly. If you are new to Aromatherapy one of the ready made formulas is likely to be the best to start with
Make sure that you start off with just one or two drops of the oil mix in the diffuser and remove the diffuser from the room before your child goes to bed. gradually increase the number of drops used and eventually leave the diffuser in the room. Don't rush this process and remember that your child is more sensitive so what might seem quite pleasant to you could be very overpowering to them! Once you've reached a level which works and is comfortable for your child stop increasing the strength.
Aromatherapy in Bath or by Massage
If you'd like to try Aromatherapy without using a diffuser another way of using these essential oil mixes is to put one or two drops in your child's bathwater or to use them diluted in a carrier oil as a massage oil.
Giving your child a warm bath and then a gentle massage can be a great way to relax and getting them to wind down ready to get a good night's sleep.
Remember that the dilution for massage needs to be much weaker for use in children as their skin is so sensitive - start at 25% of the adult mix.
After Aromatherapy my next favorite method of using herbal remedies is in herbal teas. You can use Chamomile tea for helping children sleep but don't forget to make it much weaker.
Over the Counter Herbal Remedies
One other way you can use herbal remedies to treat your child's insomnia is to be over the counter treatments such as those made by Native Remedies. These can prove very helpful if your child is likely to respond well to the fact that the bottle looks like a medicine. Most children know that medicine is supposed to help them get better and this belief can increase the beneficial impact of the treatment.