Melatonin & Sleep in Adults and Children!

 

 

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 tough time reaching the deep sleep needed to let your brain and body rest. The circadian rhythm or biological clock is what 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. 

How Adults Should Prepare Before Bedtime!

Everyone knows that sleep is the key to productivity and there are certain routines that should be followed to obtain a good night’s sleep. You should reduce anxiety about your day prior to sleeping at night. You should start your sleeping routine by shutting down electronics. This is called “electronic sundown” by Frank Lipman M. D. a sleep expert. Some transition activities include restorative yoga, relaxing music or even something as simple as dimming the lights. Find any method to lower your activity level and make it a routine so your mind registers that it is bedtime.

Strengthening your stress management routine will also pay off for sleep since lingering anxious thoughts from the day have a way of keeping people up at night. Some authors recommend a journal keeping for reducing stress: Before tucking in, note three things you would like to accomplish the next day -- not pie-in-the-sky ambitions, but things you can reasonably do in the next 24 hours.

Keep your room cool. Sleep and temperature are inherently connected. As one study explains, core body temperature decreases during sleep and increases when awake. “Keeping your room cool can help trick your body into feeling sleepy.” 

Keep your room dark and spend money on an eye mask. This allows minimal expense on your part to reduce the light exposure to your eyes, which is essential for a good night sleep.

For a little extra support, a calming supplement can be the cherry on top of a well-rounded wind-down routine.

 

Which Sleeping Position is The Best Position?

Sleep is the state of healing for the body, waking up with aches and pains is not the intended result. The sleeping positions preferred by many may not be the most suitable for healthy sleep and rest. There are many advertisements about pillows and mattresses to promote a good night sleep, but the simplest way is to change your position that you sleep on the mattress or pillow. Many experts say that the best sleeping position is on your back with your arms on your side. Fetal position may be another favorite pattern that is acceptable as a healthy sleeping position. This position may be best for people with sleep apnea (see below). The worse position appears to be sleeping on your stomach. This position by far causes the most back issues and aches and pain as it puts major pressure on the spine, so is best avoided. If you are sleeping on your side it appears to is best to sleep on your right side unless you are pregnant which then it is best to sleep on your left so the major veins inside the body are not obstructed by the enlarged uterus.

Does Exercise Help or Hurt Your Sleep?

Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. In addition to improving the quality of sleep, exercise also can help you increase the duration of your nightly rest. These results have been replicated across all age groups, including teens, but are especially significant in older populations. The myth of late-night exercise being bad for you has been broken by some studies. “Yoga can help with sleep problems by loosening tight muscles, releasing tension, and putting you into a deep state of relaxation. But it is a type of relaxation that requires fixed attention to work well. The breathing and stretching exercises are designed to slow down your racing thoughts and pull you into the present moment. The practice of yoga helps stem the flow of stress hormones that your body produces when you are under stress. Indeed, when your body, mind, and spirit are connected and relaxed, you are more resilient to stress.” We always recommend that a meditative or yoga like exercise right before sleep appears to improve your mood and sleepiness.

Do Foods Hurt or Help?

Dr. Eric J. Olson recommends to avoid the following foods and habits: High fat foods and large meals tend to take longer to digest and therefore may prevent you from sleeping well, so avoid eating large, high-fat meals too close to bedtime. Foods and drinks that contain caffeine may also keep you up at night, as caffeine has a stimulating effect. Spicy foods and tomato-based foods may trigger heartburn, which can create bodily discomfort that interrupts sleep. Try to enjoy these foods, and any other known heartburn triggers for you, earlier in the day to avoid disrupting your sleep at night.

Sleep Apnea!

Many individuals suffer from the common effects of obstructive sleep apnea which can be brought on by obesity but at times by a deviated nasal septum. The signs to look for are the following:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

These individuals should seek medical attention and may require sleeping with masks that provide continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) vs surgical corrections. Most commonly a sleep study in a controlled environment is the first step to diagnosis of this harmful condition.

How Sleeping Aids Help Your Circadian Rhythm

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.

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!

How Melatonin Helps Avoid the Grogginess

Melatonin is a hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. The production and release of melatonin in the brain is connected to time of day, increasing when it is dark and decreasing when it is light. Melatonin production declines with age.

People commonly use melatonin for sleep disorders, such as insomnia and jet lag. Melatonin exists widely in many kinds of food stuffs like animal foods (melatonin concentrations were found higher in eggs and fish than those in meat), Cereals, in many commonly fruits (Grapes, cherries, and all berries specially strawberries), in lots of common vegetables, Legumes and Seeds, Nuts, Juices and Beverages, and Herbs.

Melatonin helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles and supports sleep for healthy adults.

It is both a supplement and a hormone in your body and produced naturally by the brain’s pineal gland. "Melatonin is made naturally in the brain's pineal gland each evening and throughout the night," explains Dr. Jeffery Durmer, Chief Medical Officer of Nox Health. It's known as the natural hormone of the dark, says Dr. Abhinav Singh, facility director of the Indiana Sleep Center. As the sun starts to set and you're around less light, your brain produces melatonin to regulate your body's circadian rhythms, helping your body understand that it needs to sleep. This natural sleep aid helps you get the shuteye needed by already providing the melatonin needed for sleep!

Frunutta’s Melatonin is different because our tablet dissolves under the tongue, allowing the active ingredient to be absorbed straight and faster into the bloodstream. Our small, quick-dissolving design allows us to eliminate the additives and impurities found in other swallowed melatonin pills, making Frunutta a cleaner form of this remarkable supplement. The other advantage is that our product absorbs without the need to undergo digestion and it is surmised that our melatonin can reach the bloodstream and be available faster than swallowed supplements.

 

 

Summary

In summary it appears that non addictive products such as GABA or Melatonin appear to provide an excellent help to induce a restful sleep with less grogginess and tiredness the next day. The under the tongue products may have a more immediate response vs. swallowed products.

If you're considering taking GABA or Melatonin supplements, check with your doctor first especially if you have any health conditions. He or she can help you determine if GABA or Melatonin are right for you. *

 

*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.

 

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.

 

References:

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.

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.

mindbodygreen. 2022. 6 Ways To Make Your Bedroom Darker — Without Shelling Out For Blackout Shades. [online] Available at: <https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/make-your-bedroom-darker-without-blackout-shades> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

mindbodygreen. 2022. A Sleep Specialist's 4 Non-Negotiables For Deep, Restorative Sleep. [online] Available at: <https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/frank-lipman-sleep-tips> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

Indiana Sleep Center. 2022. Abhinav Singh – MD, MPH, FAASM, D.ABIM-SM (Sleep Medicine) Facility Director - Indiana Sleep Center. [online] Available at: <https://indianasleepcenter.com/physicians/abhinav-singh/> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

better?, 0., (SMA), E., triathletes, F., pram, T., cognition, E. and Habits, E., 2022. Can exercise help you sleep better? - Exercise Right. [online] Exercise Right. Available at: <https://exerciseright.com.au/can-exercise-help-you-sleep-better/#:~:text=Exercise%20can%20help%20you%20sleep%20better%201%20It...%203%20It%20can%20help%20with%20chronic%20insomnia> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

Duncombe, S., 2022. Does CBD Make You Sleepy or More Alert? - Leaf Science. [online] Leaf Science. Available at: <https://www.leafscience.com/2017/04/09/does-cbd-make-you-sleepy-or-more-alert/#:~:text=At%20low%20doses%2C%20CBD%20appears%20to%20act%20as,seems%20to%20cause%20drowsiness%20and%20help%20with%20sleep.> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

Nox Health. 2022. Home. [online] Available at: <https://www.noxhealth.com/> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

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HowStuffWorks, Health, Wellness, Medicine, and Medicine, 2022. Natural Sleep Aids. [online] HowStuffWorks. Available at: <https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/alternative/natural-sleep-aids.htm#pt7> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

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