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Melatonin For Kids- Is It Safe To Give Your Kids Melatonin?
Is melatonin for kids safe? Why is there a need of giving your child melatonin? Well, it is estimated through research that 75% of children going to school do not sleep enough. Unfortunately, their poor quality sleep affects their ability to study or pay attention along with mood.
The absence of proper sleep has also been linked to other health issues like obesity in children. This is a reason why parents are often worried about their child’s sleep and look for some supplements and ways that could provide them enough sleep to stay healthy. melatonin for kids is one such option. Melatonin is a hormone and popularly known for dealing with sleep problems. Using melatonin for kids is a good idea or not? Let’s find out.
Although many adults use it for good quality sleep, melatonin for kids is safe or not? You will get to know everything about melatonin for kids and when they should take it.
What Is Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced inside the pineal gland of your brain. It is often called a sleep hormone by many people. It will help your body set itself and get ready for sleeping by setting an internal clock which is also termed as circadian rhythm.
The levels of melatonin which is naturally present in our brain rise in the evening which will let you know when it’s time to sleep. Conversely, the level of melatonin starts falling a few hours before the time comes when you wake up. It works like this.
Interestingly this hormone is very important and plays some other functions too other than sleeping. It helps in regulating blood pressure and body temperature. It also maintains the level of cortisol in your body and immune functions.
In the United States, melatonin is generally available over the counter at different health food stores and drug stores. So you may easily get one.
People consume melatonin often to cope with issues related to their sleep such as:
- Insomnia (lack of sleep or no sleeping at all at night)
- Jet lag
- Sleep disorders that are related to their mental health
- Delaying in sleep phase syndrome
- Circadian rhythm disorders.
In other parts of the world like New Zealand, Australia, and my European countries, you can only take melatonin once it is prescribed by the doctors and can’t ask simply over the counter.
Is Melatonin For Kids?
You might be thinking that it’s safe for adults to have melatonin but what about melatonin for kids? Many parents think the same if melatonin will be able to fall their children to a good sleep or not.
There are good pieces of evidence that support your query. Melatonin for kids can be useful in having enough sleep. This is especially for a child having ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, autism, or some other neurological condition that might affect their sleep quality and make it better.
For example, there was an analysis of 35 studies conducted on children having autism. The studies and analysis helped researchers find out that taking melatonin supplements helped kids fall asleep better and faster for a longer duration than they actually sleep.
A similar study was conducted on 13 children having some other neurological condition and it was concluded that kids fell asleep faster by 29 minutes and slept for longer periods of time (48 minutes) after they had taken melatonin supplements. These were the results when it was tested with children having autism or neurological condition, what about melatonin for kids that are healthy with no disorder?
The results were quite similar to be the above in teenagers and healthy kids as well who had problems with sleeping and struggled a lot previously. Sleep problems are also different and complex, there are many reasons one could be having problems with sleeping.
For example, one such problem that is pretty evident in children especially teenagers these days is light-emitting devices. These devices like mobile phones, laptops, etc emit light which can suppress the production of melatonin when used late at night. Simply limiting the usage of these gadgets a few minutes or an hour before bed can help you sleep much better.
In other cases, some undiagnosed health conditions can cause disruption in your child’s sleep. The health condition may inhibit them to fall asleep properly or on time. If you think this is the case with your kid, it is best to seek a doctor’s advice. The doctors will let you know if melatonin supplements or some other supplements should be given to them or not. They will do certain tests and carry out investigations to know the root cause and find a solution accordingly.
Is Melatonin For Kids Safe To Be Used?
Many studies had revealed that using melatonin for a short span of time for children does not cause any side effects as such. However, it has also been observed that some children faced symptoms like headaches, nausea, wetting of their beds, dizziness, excessive sweating, stomach pain, and grogginess when they wake up.
Currently, even the health experts have no information on using melatonin for kids in the long term. Very little research has been performed on this issue so more information is not available. Due to less information, many doctors are highly cautious when it comes to recommending melatonin for kids.
Other than this factor, the food and drug administration or FDA, DO NOT approve of giving melatonin to kids. Until some long-term studies have been conducted and results have been found, one cannot say with confidence if you should give melatonin to the kids or not. If your child has been struggling for a long with sleep issues, it is best that you see a doctor that can help.
Here are some other ways that you might use to get your child to sleep faster and for a longer time. Sometimes you do not have to worry about taking supplements or giving them to your child, simple methods can also resolve the problem. This is because sleep problems in children are mostly due to some activities that keep your child engaged late at night.
If your child has problems with sleeping, try these tips that can help them fall asleep really quickly.
- Try setting a bedtime for your child. Going to bed and then rising from the bed at the same time every other day will train the child’s internal clock to behave the same every day. This will result in making them sleep easily at the time you have set. Make sure your child practices the given time daily without being awake late at night.
- Limit the use of technological gadgets before your child is going to bed. Many electronic devices like iPad, mobile phones, laptops, and TV emit light while watching. This light disrupts the body’s natural melatonin production. Less melatonin means less sleep. This will prevent your child from sleeping at a given time. Try to take their gadgets or make them understand not to use any before 1 or 2 hours they are going to sleep.
- Help the child relax. When the child takes stress, excessive stress usually promotes alertness, which makes their mind alert thus disrupting their sleep at a given time. Make sure you relax your kiddo before bed so that they can sleep better.
- You should create a bedtime routine for your child too. Routine is a great way for younger kids as it will help them to relax their brain and body and will allow them to sleep earlier.
- Try to keep a cool temperature. Some kids find it very difficult to sleep because of the warm temperatures. A temperature slightly lower than the room temperature or cooler temperature is more recommended for a child if they are not sleeping in a warm room.
- Getting enough sunlight during the daytime is another tip you must try once. Getting plenty of sunlight has helped many kids having sleeping issues fall asleep faster and the sleep lasts for longer durations too. Just try once.
- Taking bath after evening or closer to their bedtime. If you make your child bath around 90 to 120 minutes prior to the time they go to bed, it will help them relax and their sleep quality will also improve automatically without referring to melatonin for kids.
These were some natural ways that could help your kid fall asleep faster. To summarise them, you just need to set a routine, time, and limit their technology.
Natural Sleeping Aids
If your child still faces problems with sleeping on time, you can also try these natural sleep aids to help them have good sleep. These sleeping aids enable your child’s brain to work properly and function in their body or brain. Having a great sleep can improve your kid’s decision-making abilities, memory, creativity, and reduce the chances of obesity.
You should also know that not getting enough sleep for the long term is also related to a higher risk of severe diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity. Melatonin for kids can reduce sleep latency. It is the time required for sleeping, however as there are not enough studies on using melatonin for kids for the long term, these are few other ingredients that occur naturally and might be useful.
- Valerian Root- It is a type of herb and its root is mostly used as a natural ingredient to treat severe issues like depression and anxiety. In the United States and Europe, valerian root is used for sleep-related problems too. It may improve the sleep latency period in your kids making them fall asleep faster.
- Magnesium- Magnesium is a mineral that has been present in the human body and typically used to carry many functions of the brain and body. Instead of getting melatonin for kids, you can also try magnesium by speaking to a doctor. Magnesium usually quiets the brain and body which helps your kid sleep faster. It is also useful in relaxing the muscles. In adults, magnesium combined with melatonin and vitamin B has helped cure insomnia which is again a sleeping disorder.
- Lavender- Lavender aromatherapy is also effective in improving sleep quality. There have not been enough studies on lavender that might tell us more about its safety and efficiency. You can just place a lavender plant in your kid’s room or your room too. It not only helps in sleeping, but it also bears beautiful flowers and can be used as home decor. Unlike melatonin for kids, these are natural herbs which means they are less likely to have side effects.
- Passionflower– This is another natural method that can be used effectively to improve the quality of sleep in your kids and making them fall asleep faster. It is a very popular herbal remedy when it does to insomnia. They are linked to Noth America. When it is consumed in the form of tea leaves or adding to tea, they have worked effectively in increasing sleep. More studies are needed to show its effect on long-term usage in kids and adults.
- Glycine- Glycine is the amino acid type and plays a significant role in the functioning of our nervous system. It usually lowers the overall temperature of your child’s body which signals the brain that it is the time to fall asleep. Many people who have used it already have stated that they did not face much fatigue the next day when they woke up, making it a great way to have good sleep for everyone. Glycine can be given naturally to your kids using beans, spinach, meat, eggs, cabbage, and some other food items.
- Tryptophan– It is an additional amino acid supplement that can be used in place of melatonin for both kids and adults. Having tryptophan as low as 1 gram every day has helped in improving the quality of sleep. Taking such a limited amount of dosage may help in sleeping better and faster. Melatonin for kids is effective for the short term, keeping that in mind consider tryptophan too.
- Kava- It is a plant that is linked to improving sleep quality. It is traditionally used in tea to enhance sleep. It can also be given in form of supplements. But some studies have released that Kava is also associated with liver damage so many countries have banned its use. However, if you have planned on using it because you know the benefits, you are recommended to talk to a doctor before planning its usage.
- Ginkgo Biloba- This is a natural herb. many previous studies have been performed on animals which are highly successful till now. Taking nearly 240 mg on this supplement or natural herb before half an hour or one hour of your child’s sleep can reduce their stress and enhance relaxation which will enable them to sleep a lot faster.
- L-theanine- This is another amino acid that you can get instead of getting melatonin for kids which is not yet known to be safe or not. Consuming this amino acid up to 40 mg will help in relaxing your child’s body and improve sleep overall. Many studies have shown that it has worked highly effectively when used in combination with GABA.
These were some important alternative supplements and herbs which occur naturally. Instead of getting melatonin for kids, you can also talk to your doctor and discuss if taking these supplements will work fine for your kid or not.
The Bottom Line
Having good sleep is highly important for everyone. There are plenty of benefits associated with good sleep. It improves the overall quality of your life and your child’s life too. Many short-term studies have shown that melatonin for kids having problems with sleeping is a good supplement. The side effects associated with melatonin for kids are also very little or no side effects at all. They might help your child fall asleep faster and the sleep even lasts for a long time.
However, if we talk about the long term, there has not been enough study that can describe its advantages and disadvantages. For this reason alone, it is not recommended that you start using melatonin for kids unless they are advised by a reputed doctor or health care expert.
In many case studies till now, the poor sleep quality of kids is mainly due to the use of light-emitting gadgets before they go to sleep or the warm temperature of their room. These are some issues that you can easily resolve as apparent without relying on melatonin for kids.
We have mentioned plenty of tips to be used which can easily cure the child’s sleep problem. However, if your child still faces problems in sleeping it might also be due to the fact that they have slept too much during the day, you have to make sure you check such things too.
If nothing works, it is highly suggested that you take your child to a doctor, because there might be some underlying serious causes that indicate more than you usually know. Get them checked and know the root cause of the problem so that it can be fixed at the best time.
If you wish to follow all-natural methods instead of getting melatonin for kids, here is a list of planters that you can get to improve the sleep quality of your kids.
Also, please refer to this guide which will help you learn how many doses of melatonin should be given to your kids or adults.