Melatonin is a natural hormone produced in the pineal gland of your brain. In some cases, it may help a child sleep but should be given along with helping the child to learn good sleep habits. Consult a pediatrician on whether melatonin is right for your child.
The purpose of melatonin is to help regulate your sleep cycles. When it gets dark, your brain produces more of the hormone, which helps you feel sleepy and prepare for bed. During the day, this chemical is essentially dormant.
Even though melatonin is naturally produced in the brain, people all over the world take melatonin supplements in the form of liquids, gummies, pills, and chewable tablets. These supplements can help with insomnia, interrupted sleep cycles, and other sleep-related issues.
About 25-37% of children have difficulty falling or staying asleep. In addition, as many as
Many caregivers have also used melatonin to help their children fall asleep faster, and it has been used safely in many cases. However, there is not a lot of research on safety in babies, and it is not necessarily a good choice for any child struggling to sleep.
Read on to learn about the safety of melatonin for babies and children.
There isn’t a lot of data on the safety of melatonin supplements for babies to improve sleep. Available
That being said, it may be safe for babies and children in some cases if your doctor recommends it. It should always come
It’s important to keep in mind that young babies are still learning how to sleep on a regular schedule. Most babies begin to sleep regularly about 6-18 weeks after birth.
In the second 6 months of their life, they usually sleep about
- Setting and maintaining regular, routine bedtimes.
- Managing the frequency and duration of naps.
- Turning off electronic devices and lights before bedtime.
- Giving meals at least 2 hours before bedtime
- Ensuring children
sleepin a safe space
The use of melatonin in children is growing. According to a 10-year study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the annual number of pediatric melatonin ingestions increased
This applies to children with insomnia, anxiety, or other health issues that may affect sleep. In addition,
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Though side effects in children are rare, they can include:
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also recommends caution before giving melatonin to children for sleep, especially since many melatonin supplements contain different amounts, and determining a safe amount can be challenging.
In fact, the CDC reported that melatonin ingestions represented
If you choose to give melatonin to your child, make sure to select products from reputable manufacturers. Here are the 16 best melatonin supplements for 2022, according to experts.
Some children should also not take melatonin, such as those with autoimmune conditions or lymphoproliferative disorders (LPD) or those taking immunosuppressants.
In any case, children should not be given melatonin without a sound medical reason and monitoring by a pediatrician.
You should always consult with a doctor before determining the right melatonin dose for your child.
However, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends 1 milligram (mg) of melatonin for infants, 2.5-3 mg for older children, and 5 mg for adolescents. Children with neurodiversity may receive as much as 10mg.
A child should be given melatonin 30-60 minutes before going to bed.
Melatonin generally may be safe for children in amounts approved by a doctor, and it can be effective for certain adults and children with sleep disorders.
However, there is not enough research on safety in infants. Few studies have evaluated melatonin in children with specific conditions that cause sleep difficulties, so much of the available research is not conclusive.
If your child is having difficulty sleeping, the best first step is to work with your child to build healthy sleep habits such as a sleep schedule. If that isn’t working, talk with your doctor about other options. Depending on your child’s individual situation, melatonin might be an option worth discussing. However, it may be wise to proceed with caution.