Melatonin for Kids
Lack of sleep is an issue for many adults and as we get older it becomes harder and harder to get a good night’s rest. However, many children also suffer from insomnia and poor night’s sleep. Adults have learned the benefits of natural sleep aids, such as melatonin, the question now arises “is melatonin safe for kids?” As your child’s poor sleep interferes with their school and daily activity this no longer becomes a theoretical question but a true need for parents that are getting no rest themselves as they deal with their child’s insomnia.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by your pineal gland (located just above the center of your brain). During the day, the pineal gland is inactive. In the evening, melatonin levels rise sharply as your brain starts to recognize light reduction. The elevated levels continue for about 12 hours. The following morning, after a night of sleep, melatonin levels return to low daytime levels – barely detectable.
The body’s production of melatonin declines gradually with age. Many doctors believe that the loss in melatonin is associated with several age-related diseases, lowered sleep efficacy, and deterioration of the circadian rhythm.
How Your Circadian Rhythm Controls Melatonin Release!
Your circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle that tunes in with your physiological processes. This rhythm is what enables you to wake up minutes before your alarm, because your body is wired to start the day at that time. Without a regular circadian rhythm, people have a difficult time reaching the deep sleep needed to let your brain and body rest. The circadian rhythm or biological clock is what ultimately controls the release of melatonin in your body and is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which sits on top of your optic nerve in your brain. Even if you are blind, your optic nerve is still able to detect the difference between day and night also referred to as light and dark. You can influence your circadian rhythm with external cues, such as sunlight and temperature. This, for example, is why your body can break the circadian rhythm when you travel to different time zones. On the other hand, this is also why your irregular sleeping patterns, staying up late at night, can further worsen your circadian rhythm.
How to Promote Melatonin Production?
If you are not yet willing to supplement melatonin, you can also do your part to allow melatonin to be produced. Even if the pineal gland is “on” because of the time of day, artificial indoor lighting can prevent the release of melatonin. Help your body by turning off lights and avoiding bright computer screens as you wind down for a night’s rest.
Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?
Melatonin is a synthetic form of a natural hormone that our brains naturally produce to help us fall asleep. Melatonin release is stimulated by onset of darkness. If you are unable to get the rest you need then melatonin may be the right supplement for you. Under the tongue melatonin products are easily dissolved under the tongue without the need for water or swallowing. But is it beneficial or is melatonin safe for your kid? Before we answer the question, here are some recommendations for good sleep hygiene for children:
- Napping during the day should be avoided.
- Appropriate dinner time should be at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Screen time, such as watching television, playing computer or video games should be discontinued at least an hour before bedtime.
- Regular bedtime routine including routine sleep and wake-up times should be maintained.
- Children should sleep in their own beds.
- Sleep environment should be dark and quiet; room should not be too hot.
A recent article from Boston Children’s Hospital does touch on this subject and seems to recommend overall use of melatonin to be safe in children over 4 years of age for short durations.
Melatonin dosage for kids:
The recommended doses are along 5mg by both Boston Children’s Hospital and studies by Canadian Pediatric Society. However, the authors in the article recommend always to follow with your pediatrician to get the best advice before starting your child on any vitamins or supplements.
Melatonin a Quick Fix to help you sleep!
Many of us work long hours and simply do not have the time available in the day to wind down. Melatonin tablets are your best supplement to promote natural sleep, according to Pretty Progressive. These mighty tablets dissolve under your tongue, allowing them to absorb straight into your bloodstream and get to work. This absorption method makes it possible for the melatonin to reach maximum concentration in the blood quickly compared to what usually takes about 1-2 hours for other pills that are swallowed. The best time to take melatonin is at least 30 minutes before bedtime to help get you right to sleep.
How Melatonin Helps Avoid Grogginess?
Sleeping aids were created to promote that feeling of initial tiredness. This way, when you need to get up early in the morning, you will not spend the whole night tossing and turning to try to get to sleep.
Much like vitamins, not every sleeping aid is created the same way. Some medications are only meant for inducing sleep, while others are used for staying asleep. Depending on how your body is reacting to the sleeping aid, you may find that your body never truly achieves deep sleep. This is what is causing you the grogginess!
Melatonin is a natural supplement that helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles and supports sleep for healthy adults. This natural sleep aid helps you get the shuteye needed by already providing the melatonin your body needs for sleep!
Also, under the tongue melatonin products are different from other melatonin products because the tablet dissolves under the tongue, allowing the active ingredient to be absorbed straight into the bloodstream. The quick-dissolving design allows the tablet to eliminate the additives and impurities found in other swallowed melatonin pills, making such products one of the purest forms of melatonin product currently on the market.
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Mindell, Jodi A et al. “Pharmacologic management of insomnia in children and adolescents: consensus statement.” Pediatrics vol. 117,6 (2006): e1223-32. doi:10.1542/peds.2005-1693
Fliesler, Nancy. “Five Things to Know about Melatonin for Kids.” Boston Children's Answers, 19 July 2019, discoveries.childrenshospital.org/melatonin-for-children/.
Janjua, Irvin, and Ran D Goldman. “Sleep-Related Melatonin Use in Healthy Children.” Canadian Family Physician Medecin De Famille Canadien, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Apr. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4830653/#b2-062031.
*, Name, et al. “9 Best Effective Natural Sleep Aids.” Pretty Progressive, 29 Aug. 2020, prettyprogressive.com/9-best-effective-natural-sleep-aids/.
“Your Guide to over-the-Counter Sleep Aids.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Oct. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep-aids/art-20047860.
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