Melatonin supplements are becoming more popular among adults, especially with our bustling, 24/7 hustle lifestyles. Sometimes it can be tough to sleep, either because we are too busy or because our minds just can’t settle down once we finally snuggle into bed.
However, kids can also have difficulty falling asleep from time to time. Many parents wonder whether their melatonin supplements or any type of melatonin are safe for kids to use. Let’s take a look at the effects of melatonin supplements and explore whether they may be safe for use with your child.
Melatonin’s Role and Effects
Melatonin is a natural hormone secreted by the pineal gland in your brain in both kids and adults. It plays a significant role in our sleep cycles.
In a nutshell, your body creates melatonin as darkness falls, which causes drowsiness and slowly brings your brain down into a restful state. Melatonin levels increase throughout the night until morning when they wane, and your brain wakes up again.
For some individuals, melatonin supplements are important aids for restlessness, insomnia, and other conditions. Melatonin supplements are made from animal sources or in synthetic labs. Furthermore, they can be purchased as over-the-counter sleep aids or be prescribed by a doctor.
While melatonin supplements are pretty common, they’re mainly used by adults. It’s very easy to experience sleeplessness in this day and age. For example, many of us spend a ton of time in front of computers or other electronic device screens. These screens typically emit blue light, making it harder for us to sleep since blue light tricks our brains into thinking that morning is coming soon.
Does Melatonin Help Kids Sleep?
Technically, yes. That said, there is still a lot of research on the use of melatonin to help kids sleep overall. While there aren’t any studies indicating that melatonin use is especially dangerous for kids, it’s also not clear how much melatonin has on their developing brains.
Just like with adults, melatonin may induce sleepiness and help children fall asleep more easily.
In these instances, melatonin may improve sleep onset and sleep quantity, helping these kids get as much sleep as they need to grow healthily and avoid fatigue over the next day.
Overall, current science indicates that melatonin may help kids sleep. If their brains don’t produce enough of it, it can interfere with sleep quality or quantity, melatonin supplements could be the right answer.
So, Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?
Even with the apparent benefits of melatonin supplements for kids, the FDA hasn't approved melatonin for sleep issues in kids and adolescents. This isn't to say that kids can't use melatonin supplements at all, however.
Indeed, some doctors recommend and may even prescribe melatonin supplements for kids who sleep poorly or suffer from health issues. This just means that any melatonin supplements for kids are so-called “off label” – in simpler terms, the drug hasn’t officially been recommended for use in kids by the FDA as a whole.
This doesn’t mean that a melatonin supplement is automatically unhealthy or potentially unsafe. It means that there’s a lack of medical literature focusing on the subject, and the FDA can’t in good conscience call melatonin supplements safe for kids until more studies are performed.
Is Melatonin Safe For Infants?
Although melatonin may be safe for kids, it’s not recommended for babies or infants. This is because melatonin concentrations are naturally very low in kids under the age of three months. Their circadian rhythms and systems are still developing.
Because of this, you should not give a melatonin supplement to your infant, especially without the recommendation of a pediatrician. If your infant is still experiencing difficulty sleeping, talk to a pediatrician and pursue different means of treatment.
Is There a Risk of Side Effects?
Fortunately, there don’t seem to be many risks of side effects with melatonin supplements in children or adults. So far, there’s only a little evidence that kids taking melatonin supplements may experience mild symptoms, including:
All of these are relatively simple and can be spotted immediately. If your child takes a melatonin sleep aid and you see these symptoms, you can simply stop the treatment, and the symptoms should also cease shortly after that.
However, it’s important to remember that there isn’t much research looking into the long-term effects of melatonin supplements for kids. Because of this, there’s a chance that melatonin supplements, when taken over a long period in childhood, could affect hormone development and secretion levels in adolescence and adulthood.
Because of this potential risk, all melatonin supplements should only be taken short-term and when necessary.
How Much Melatonin Is Safe for Kids?
The majority of melatonin supplements are concentrated in doses for adults. These range from 0.5 mg to 5 mg and are meant to be taken about one hour before sleep.
Additionally, it may be very difficult to find kid-specific melatonin supplements designed for their smaller bodies and lower melatonin levels.
If you wish to give your child a melatonin supplement, try to split an adult melatonin supplement into smaller pieces and start with a low dose. This way, you may see how melatonin affects your child before you give them a larger dose.
For example, Hope Health’s Melatonin Supplement comes with 5 mg of melatonin by default. Adults should take one to two gummies per day, depending on how much sleep assistance they need.
Because of the organic ingredients used in this supplement, it may also be appropriate for kids. However, kids should only ever ingest half of one gummy instead of taking a full gummy. This will give them 2.5 mg of melatonin and allow you to see whether it provides beneficial effects.
Overall, melatonin supplements may be beneficial for kids who have difficulty sleeping. That said, there isn’t a lot of research in this area as of yet. Because of this, there aren't any kid-specific melatonin supplements to shop for.
Therefore, you should be careful when giving your child a melatonin supplement, especially with high hormone concentrations. If your child has difficulty sleeping because of a disorder or another condition, speak to their doctor or a pediatrician before pursuing melatonin supplementation. It may be that your child needs another form of treatment.
In addition to melatonin supplements, Hope Health offers the opposite: focus boosting and concentration improving gummies in our Mind Supplements. These healthy gummies are made with organic ingredients like Ginkgo biloba and more, and they may be able to assist with memory recall, focus, and more.
Check out our Mind, Melatonin, and other supplements today!
Sources:Is Melatonin Safe for Kids? | Sleep Foundation