Photo Credit: Maya Visnyei
My daughter has a steady 7:30 bedtime. We don't really deviate from it. I remember when she was a baby reading somewhere the old adage 'sleep begets sleep' and that really stuck with me. The more sleep she has, the more she takes and, ultimately, her easy-go-lucky mood is more consistent. Unless you're talking about summer.
Summer is the time of year when the shit hits the fan when it comes to bedtime. Suddenly, roasting marshmallows over a campfire at the cottage takes precedent over a sane child. In the winter, after an hour-long swim lesson I always warn my husband that it's early to bed that night since the pool takes a lot out of her. "No winding her up when you get home," I remind him.
The other night after a full day in the water, I noticed her head face-down on the picnic bench, arms dangling by her side. "Are you O.K., honey?" I asked. "I’m just really tired," she quietly replied. I looked at my watch and it was 8:30. Great parenting. Where had the day gone?
If you're anything like myself (Hopefully, you're better than me!), you're challenged with the task of getting your kids back onto a schedule, one that involves a reasonable bedtime. Now that school is starting, all bets are off.
So I checked with my favorite pediatrician, Dr. Sears, of The Doctors television show fame for some ideas. I learned that I can use dinner to help with the process. According to Dr. Sears, it all comes down to a meal that is heavy in carbohydrates. Carb-rich foods contain tryptophan, which is a 'precursor of the sleep-inducing substances serotonin and melatonin,’ he explains. A meal high in carbs releases insulin which evacuates certain amino acids from the bloodstream that fire the brain. This allows the tryptophan, a 'natural sleep-inducing acid' to enter and lay a sleepy smackdown with the production of serotonin and melatonin.
In other words, I'll be rethinking my menus for the next week. And his list of foods that make a person want to crawl under a blanket for a snooze will also be helpful throughout the year when it comes to planning school lunches. I now know what I should steer away from. Actually, I'll need to rethink my own meals as well. I think I just unlocked the mystery of why I'm tired all the time.
Dr. Sears’ Foods for Sleep
Here are five delicious recipes that will ensure your family will be well-fed and well-rested this week, starting with Rosemary Dijon Lamb, with fresh herbs and tangy mustard.
Rosemary Dijon Lamb
2 racks of organic lamb with fat already trimmed off
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
1. Whisk together Dijon mustard, lemon juice, vegetable oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Place lamb in shallow dish; brush marinade over meaty part of lamb. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. With rib ends up, press racks together to interlink bones. Separate bases about 1 inch to stabilize. Place on greased rack in roasting pan, drizzle any remaining marinade. Cover exposed ribs with foil to prevent charring. Roast in 450°F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F; roast for 30 to 40 minutes longer or until meat thermometer registers 140°F for rare or 150°F for medium-rare.
3. Transfer to warmed platter; tent with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove all foil; carve between bones. Garnish with fresh sprigs of rosemary.
Here are the rest of the comforting choices:
Warm and really lemony – like springtime in a bowl! And fast to make.
Asparagus and Parmesan Frittata
A delicious breakfast-for-dinner that will help you catch some Zs.
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
This fresh and healthy chili variation is warming, filling and soothing.
Fresh Spaghetti with Heirloom Tomatoes
Carb-rich whole wheat pasta contains tryptophan.