Get your child to SLEEP
Here is a list of some of the factors that may be at play when your child cannot sleep.
**This list is intended to help you troubleshoot as you know your child best. We recommend getting a functional medicine doctor on board to help you with these issues.**
1. Low ferritin.
A full iron panel plus ferritin can check for this. Vit C can help the body absorb iron.
2. Low potassium.
This is indicated by a child not being able to STAY asleep.
3. Constipation can cause poor sleep.
The pain alone is enough to wake the child during the night. Look for posturing, lack of appetite, loose stools (which are indicative of a blockage), not eliminating completely, and more. The best way to check for constipation is with a KUB, which is an abdominal x-ray. Talk to a pediatric GI doctor or your pediatrician.
4. Food sensitivities.
An elimination diet can help pinpoint the foods that are causing a problem. Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities cause a delayed reaction. The biggest offenders tend to be dairy, gluten, soy, egg and corn.
Here is a chart that shows signs of food sensitivity:
5. Allergies (Histamine).
Over 90% of food allergies in kids are caused by these eight foods:
Dairy, Egg, Soy, Wheat, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Shellfish, fish.
Environmental allergies are important as well. Have you ever noticed your child cannot sleep during pollen season? Look into mold, pet dander, pollen, dust and other environmental triggers. Histamine levels rise at night, which can cause sleep problems.
6. Phenols & Salicylates.
These properties of food can affect children in many different ways. Some phenols are beneficial from natural foods, but others may be a problem. It is very child specific. Kids on the autism spectrum seem to be more susceptible to them. See the link for more info on Phenols & Salicylates.
7. Magnesium deficiency.
Doctors rarely test for this but it is critical. A trial of supplementation maybe helpful. Talk to your functional medicine doctor.
8. Vitamin D deficiency.
This is a blood test.
9. Enlarged adenoids and tonsils.
They can definitely interfere with both feeding and sleeping. See a pediatric ENT if your child has any of the listed symptoms in this link:
10. Methyl donors…. like methyl B12 and 5MTHF (methylfolate).
The body needs methyl donors to make serotonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that depends on serotonin for proper function. Serotonin is converted into melatonin in the pineal gland of the brain. Vitamins needed for melatonin production are: 5mthf (methylfolate), methyl B12, betaine and other methyl donors.
The adrenal hormone that affects melatonin is cortisol. If cortisol gets too high, melatonin levels drop. In a healthy person, cortisol is highest in the morning so you feel awake. Throughout the day, the levels should slowly drop. However, that pattern is compromised in some people due to adrenal fatigue. During the night, cortisol should raise slowly again. One of cortisol’s functions is to break down glycogen in the liver and turn it to glucose for energy for the morning. If your liver is taxed, you have a hard time doing this conversion. For this reason, liver support may help with sleep, especially if the child cannot stay asleep.(Liver support is milk thistle, inositol, molybdenum, artichoke, and more.)
See our file on parasites:
13. Candida (fungal) overgrowth in the GI Tract
See our file on candida:
14. GABA, Glutamate Imbalance
GABA is the anti-anxiety neurotransmitter in the brain. Glutamate is converted into GABA as needed for calming. The GABA shunt can go two ways. It can convert Glutamate into GABA or it can continue to make glutamate which is excitatory. For these reasons, sometimes a diet completely free of glutamate may help sleep.