Melatonin: A Safe, Natural Sleep Aid for Kids
With school, homework, and extracurricular activities keeping kids busy almost every waking moment of the day, finding ways to help them relax and get ready for bed can be a challenge. Sleep is essential for growing children – it’s when their brains process new information and develop long-term memory. Getting enough sleep on a regular basis also helps kids perform better in school and manage their stress. Making sure your child goes to bed at a reasonable hour, turns off electronics 30 minutes before bedtime, and has a relaxing bedroom environment with blackout curtains can all help promote healthy sleep habits. Supplementing with natural sleep aids like melatonin can also be an effective way to give kids that little bit of extra support they need to get restful sleep at night.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pineal gland of the brain. Although melatonin production naturally increases with age, it is also available as a dietary supplement. Melatonin’s main function is to help regulate sleep and wake cycles in the body. In children, melatonin may also be helpful in boosting immunity and reducing the risk of developing certain cancers. While melatonin can have positive effects on sleep, it should be used carefully, as it also has properties that may be helpful in treating other conditions, like migraine headaches and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If your child takes melatonin, make sure to consult with a doctor to determine the correct dosage and find out if there are any potential interactions with other medications.
How Does Melatonin Help with Sleep?
Melatonin helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle in the body. When taken close to bedtime, it can signal to the body that it is time to prepare for sleep, which can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?
Research has shown that melatonin is safe to take as a short-term treatment for sleep difficulties, but it’s important to remember that it should always be used under a doctor’s supervision. Like any medication, melatonin can have side effects in some people. Although it’s been studied extensively in adults and children, we still don’t know how long-term use might affect growing bodies and brains. That’s why doctors usually recommend that melatonin be used for only a short period of time, under close supervision.
How to Give Your Child a Safe Dose of Melatonin
When using melatonin for sleep, melatonin doses for kids should be lower than the doses recommended for adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a dosage of 0.3 mg of melatonin given one hour before bedtime. Make sure to consult with your doctor before giving melatonin to your child, as dosage and length of treatment will depend on the reason for taking it. It’s also important to remember that melatonin alone may not be enough to help your child sleep better, so try incorporating other sleep-promoting activities, like reading, listening to music, and dimming the lights in the house.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that can help to promote sleep in children. Melatonin is typically safe, although it is important to use it under a doctor’s supervision, and to follow the recommended dosage. Get your melatonin for kids here.