Iron - The Super Nutrient
You would be surprised at how many of my clients are low in iron. Iron deficiency is quite a prevalent issue in children these days and it is super important that your child has sufficient iron levels to support many vital bodily functions. Iron helps to build energy and focus, supports the immune system, regulates the body temperature but most importantly from my perspective, it assists with great sleep quality.
Why? Well, iron carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body and provides energy. When there are sub-optimal levels of iron, there are not enough red blood cells to transport the oxygen and this means that the body will struggle to transport the oxygen around the body. This will lead to lower levels of oxygenation, which causes low levels of energy and fatigue but not necessarily sleepiness and can affect the ability to fall sleep and stay asleep.
If your child’s body is lacking oxygen transportation, it will lead to poor sleep quality. I often find that children who are low in iron will display this through their sleep presentation. A child who is a chronic early riser and is ready to start their day at the crack of dawn, or wakes through the night and can spend HOURS of time awake, is typically low in iron. This is because the body is tired but it has trouble staying asleep, particularly in the early hours of the morning.
Signs of Iron Deficiency in Children
There are many signs that your child may be low in iron and I have split these into day time presentations and the sleep presentations. Your child may exhibit only one, or several of the below symptoms.
Loss of appetite
Strange ‘food’ cravings (pica) like eating dirt
Failure to grow at the expected rate
Chronic early morning waking and not going back to sleep
Waking through the night and trying to go back to sleep