Witching hour kicks off in my house at 5pm sharp (on a good day), and is the time when I'm staring at the clock, thinking has it stopped?!
I know most parents and munchkins hit the exhaustion, tired and hungry point by late afternoon. Not to mention some irritability, mood swings or tantrums thrown in the mix.
There's a few things we can do naturally to calm our little delights, regulate their emotions and support sleep.
My top 3 Natural Weapons for Witching Hour:
1. Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate compound. Since epsom salts are high in magnesium when you add them to a bath, they are absorbed straight through the skin in to the cells. Magnesium is called 'nature's tranquilliser' for it's calming and grounding properties, and ability to induce sleep. I recommend adding 1/2 cup of epsom salts to a bath, or if you don't have one or have the time, add 1/2 cup of epsom salts to a bucket of water and enjoy a ten minute foot soak, in front of tele or reading a book. The soles of our feet are very absorbent so this works well too.
You can use food as medicine, and ensure your munchkins are having magnesium-rich foods during the day and before bed. The best sources are cacao (yep, you read correctly; it's the highest wholefood source of magnesium, so a little cacao-rich dessert is perfect . Here's some recipes), plus dark green leafy veggies like spinach, avocado, beans, nuts, seeds and lentils.
You can use a magnesium supplement, I usually recommend 60mg-120mg for kids, depending on their age and size. Check with your natural health practitioner for a high quality brand and specific dose.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
- Calms the nervous system
- Relieves insomnia
- Promotes sleep
- Relieves headaches
- Supports healthy skin and can be used to manage acne, eczema and psoriasis.
You can pop a few drops in a diffuser and rub some into the soles of their feet before bed. I also put 2 drops on both my kids teddy bears (their comforters) every few nights, just to up the ante.
Just jump on to any peer reviewed medical journals online and you'll see there's hundred and hundreds of studies showing the therapeutic benefits of lavender. One study in particular, looked at the effect of lavender being diffused for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman showed a significant improvement of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale after four consecutive weeks of administration of lavender. * I truly believe plants are a safe and more empowering option.
* Conrad P, Adams C. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman—a pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2012;18(3):164–168.
Olivia McFadyen, based in Lane Cove on Sydney's North Shore, is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath. Whilst Olivia is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, she is also a realist and understands the demands of modern day life, offering nutrition, herbal medicine and homoeopathic consultations and support without compromising on the enjoyment food can bring. She is passionate about supporting patients to reach their lifestyle goals, optimise their health & develop a healthy yet balanced way of life through naturopathy and homoeopathy. She services her clients by consultations and offering 4 and 12 week natural health programs from her clinic in Lane Cove on Sydney's Lower North Shore.