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Parents frequently give melatonin to kids at night.Here’s why you might want to reconsider.

Parents frequently give melatonin to kids at night.Here’s why you might want to reconsider.

Wanting to sleep more and better is one of the most common wishes. In a global poll including over 11,000 participants, more than 80% expressed their desire for increased sleep. On the other hand, only 10% said they slept enough.

Even while these findings are relevant to individuals’ personal sleep experiences, additional study suggests that parents are also motivated to enhance the quality of their kids’ sleep. Some parents look to books, sleep coaches, and different suggestions for bedtime routines for assistance. Even over-the-counter sleep aids are used by some parents. Indeed, according to a different survey, almost 50% of parents whose kids have trouble falling asleep at night have given them the melatonin supplement.

Melatonin: What is it?

Our bodies create the hormone or chemical melatonin to aid in the promotion of sleep. However, when individuals refer to “taking” melatonin, they are referring to the synthetic supplement form, which is available in tablet, liquid, gummy, or powder form.

According to the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, melatonin has been gaining popularity as a sleep aid because it imitates what melatonin does naturally in the body, which is promote feelings of sleepiness by influencing the body’s circadian rhythms, which are its natural 24-hour internal clock schedule.

Even while the majority of us naturally create enough melatonin to get a good night’s sleep every night, there are several situations in which short-term melatonin use can be beneficial.

Is melatonin secure to use?

Adults, for example, may take melatonin supplements to help with a disturbed sleep pattern, to adjust their bedtime after previously developing a habit of staying up late, or to assist with adjusting to time shifts while traveling. Additionally, the supplement is occasionally suggested as a treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia.

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Jennifer Martin, a psychologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, notes that although melatonin supplements are generally thought to be safe for adults to take for brief periods of time, it’s important to keep in mind that they are not regulated in the same way as food and drugs are in the United States.

This leads to a wide range of chemical variations in melatonin supplements and conflicting dose guidelines. According to Martin, “data on safety is also limited,” so it’s not a good idea to think that just because a supplement or sleep aid is sold in your neighborhood drugstore or retailer, it’s “automatically safe.”

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She adds that taking melatonin too frequently can also have negative effects. These include an increased chance of dependency, agitation or restlessness, headaches, nausea, dry mouth, or daytime sleepiness.

Can a youngster be given melatonin?

When providing melatonin to young children, parents should be extremely cautious to prevent negative effects such as these. According to Dr. Judith Owens, a board-certified sleep medicine specialist and the head of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, “we have limited information about potential long-term effects in children and we have limited data on use in typically developing children and no information about safety in children 2 and under,” even though it’s thought to be safe to give to some children under medical advice.

She states that as a result, melatonin should “only be given to children under medical supervision and when combined with a behavioral plan.” For instance, because melatonin has been specifically investigated for usage in children with neurodevelopmental problems like autism, ADHD, and epilepsy, doctors may recommend it.

FAQs: Melatonin to kids at night

Why would parents feed their children melatonin at night?

Melatonin is frequently given to kids by parents to promote better sleep, particularly if the kid has trouble falling or staying asleep.

Melatonin: What is it?

The pineal gland in the body naturally produces the hormone melatonin. By telling the body when it’s time to go to sleep, it aids in the regulation of sleep-wake cycles.

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