What To Consider Before Giving Your Child Melatonin
Before giving a child any sleep aid, it is important to discuss this decision thoroughly with a pediatrician. Childhood sleep problems do not always require treatment with drugs or supplements. Many times, changing bedtime behavior alone is enough. The childs doctor can discuss whether melatonin is appropriate for the situation as well as the supplements risks, benefits, and dosage.
As a dietary supplement, melatonin is not regulated or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a result, the actual concentration of melatonin contained in different products and formulations varies greatly. The true amount can even be different from the amount listed on the products label. Some experts suggest using pharmaceutical-grade products, which may be more reliable.
Furthermore, what may work for an adult as a sleep aid may not be helpful for a child. One reason for this is that children metabolize medicines and supplements differently than adults.
Many different melatonin products are available to purchase. If a childs doctor approves the use of melatonin, it may be helpful to ask about specific products, as well as the dosage and duration of treatment.
Reputable Sleep Supplements
The safety and efficacy of supplements is not closely monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . Shoppers should take additional measures to make sure they are purchasing reputable products.
Is Melatonin Safe For Children
Further research is needed regarding the safety of melatonin for children.
Nearly 25% of children have difficulty sleeping, and parents increasingly turn to melatonin for help. Between 2007 and 2012, pediatric melatonin use rose seven-fold and is now the second most common natural supplement in this age group.
Despite its prevalence, there are reasons for parents to be cautious about using melatonin. It appears that children may be particularly vulnerable to the possible effects of this supplement on reproductive hormones. Melatonin has been associated with puberty delays, irregular menstruation, and overproduction of the hormone prolactin. It is important to note, however, that research on this topic is conflicting, and experts agree that the topic is understudied.
Parents should also be aware that melatonin may . Children taking other medications or who have illnesses affecting these systems should consult their doctor before starting melatonin.
Melatonin should only be used for children under the guidance of a doctor. Most pediatric sleep disorders can be managed with behavioral changes, such as proper sleep hygiene and cognitive therapy. Melatonin should not be used before trying other measures.
How Much Melatonin Is Too Much
The amount of actual melatonin thats in those supplements at the store varies. Melatonin is typically sold in doses ranging from 0.3 milligrams to 20 milligrams or more, even up to 60 milligrams, according to the label. It can come in many forms, including tablets, time-release capsules, sprays, and gummies. Of surveyed adults, 63.4% take it in gummy form, and 56.6% consume it as a pill or tablet.
Studies say the appropriate dose Trusted SourceUpToDateMore than 2 million healthcare providers around the world choose UpToDate to help make appropriate care decisions and drive better health outcomes. UpToDate delivers evidence-based clinical decision support that is clear, actionable, and rich with real-world insights.uptodate.com of melatonin for adults ranges from 1 to 5 milligrams. Overall, 71.2% of survey respondents say they take 5 milligrams or less. Meanwhile, 4.2% dont know how much they take, which climbs to 22.2% when users describe their consumption as infrequent.
Among people who take melatonin daily, the average dosage increases from 4.8 milligrams to 6 milligrams, according to the survey.
Most people should not exceed a dose of 3 milligrams, Dr. Dimitriu says.
Whats the risk of taking too much? You likely will not overdose. But you may see side effects.
Its a very well-studied, non-dependent, and non-toxic supplement, Cook says.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Melatonin
While side effects of melatonin are generally mild, you may experience grogginess while sleepiness before bed is desirable, taking a high melatonin dosage may cause drowsiness the next day.If you experience melatonin side effects, talk with your doctor. They may recommend to start with a lower melatonin dose until you find what works best with your body.
What Are The Long
Minimal research exists on using melatonin beyond a few months. Therefore, there is much we do not know about its long-term effects. There is not even agreement on what constitutes long-term melatonin use.
Most of the concern around taking melatonin for extended periods centers around its potential to affect reproductive hormones. While the exact mechanism of action is still unclear, some reports indicate that melatonin may inhibit reproductive hormones.
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Is Melatonin Approved By The Fda
Because melatonin supplements arent medications, they arent regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . Theres no guarantee about the quality of the product youre purchasing or the quantity of ingredients claimed on the label, unlike prescription drugs. A pharmacist or nutritionist may be able to help you find a product produced by a reputable manufacturer.
How Long Does Melatonin’s Effect Last
If you do decide to take a melatonin pill now and then, the timing of when you take it matters.
“Your body absorbs melatonin fairly rapidly, and its half-life meaning the time it takes for your body to eliminate half of what you took is about 20 to 50 minutes,” says Dr. Ramkissoon.
Since its job is to help promote sleepiness, this means you’ll want to take melatonin about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to fall asleep.
“What you don’t want to do is take melatonin at bedtime since this can shift when melatonin levels peak and, therefore, also when they fall meaning you could be sleepier later into the morning,” explains Dr. Ramkissoon. “Additionally, taking melatonin later than your planned usual bedtime can throw of your sleep-wake cycle.”
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Can Melatonin Be Taken Daily
Unlike other sleep aids, melatonin is considered safe with low risk of side effects. It has been studied extensively through controlled trials for short-term use, even at high doses. The side effects of melatonin supplements that have been observed in clinical trials are minimaland the likelihood of those side effects increases with the melatonin dosage.
With all melatonin use, make sure you take it before you get into bed for a good night of rest. Taking it in the middle of the night when you wake at 3 AM and have trouble falling back asleep is not recommendedit could cause next-day sleepiness.
Its important to note that exogenous melatonin affects everyone differently. This is why some people say it doesnt work for them, or they fall asleep faster but wake more easily in the night. You may know someone who happily drifts off into dreams after taking a 3 mg gummy, and another who says they need 10 mg to help them sleep. Some people are more sensitive to melatonin, so what works for them may not work for someone with similar characteristics.
Because controlled trials on long-term use are rare, you should avoid taking melatonin supplements daily for a long time. Instead, take them in the short-termin combination with good sleep habitsto help normalize your circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep patterns.
Which Melatonin Is Most Effective
Melatonin use is subjective, and which form is better will vary from person to person. But a meta-analysis of controlled trials shows many people can benefit from this dietary supplement.
Some blends, such as Melatonin IR/XR, combine instant and time-release forms to help you get to sleep quickly and then stay asleep for up to seven hours. Other sleep aids deliver melatonin in gummies or liquid form to encourage healthy rest. Some supplements combine melatonin with other sleep-promoting compounds, such as ashwagandha, citrus peel and milk peptides, to help you rest well.
Whether you choose immediate or controlled support, you can rest easy knowing melatonin is helping fight oxidative stress and support already-healthy blood pressure while you get the sleep you need.
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What Is A Safe Melatonin Dose
According to Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, melatonin is very safe if taken in normal doses, which is anything between 0.5 mg and 5 mg.
A 0.5 mg dose may be all thats needed for sleep-cycle regulation, and should be taken three to five hours before bed, he says. For people who want to take melatonin just before bed, a 5 mg dose is appropriate. Some people report headaches or stomach problems at higher doses, but those side-effects are uncommon, he says.
Still, there are other concerns. Melatonin has an incredible safety record, no doubt about it, says Dr. Mark Moyad, the Jenkins/Pomkempner director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan. But its a hormone, and you dont want to mess around with hormones until you know what theyre doing.
People with existing medical problems should discuss melatonin with their doctor before using it. While some research has found that melatonin may help treat hyperglycemia in people with diabetes, for example, other studies have shown that, in diabetes patients who carry certain genetic traits, melatonin may interfere with glucose regulation. Its these sorts of contradictory findings that give experts pause when it comes to issuing melatonin a full-throated endorsement.
May Support Eye Health
Healthy indole-derived melatonin levels may support eye health.
Thats because this hormone has powerful antioxidant effects that may lower your risk of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration .
Indeed, a review concluded that melatonin supplements may reduce AMD by neutralizing free radicals and decreasing inflammation .
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Work With Not Against Melatonins Sleep
Melatonin levels rise about two hours before bedtime, Buenaver says. Create optimal conditions for it to do its job by keeping the lights low before bed. Stop using your computer, smartphone or tabletthe blue and green light from these devices can neutralize melatonins effects. If you watch television, be sure youre at least six feet away from the screen. Turn off bright overhead lights too. Meanwhile you can help program your body to produce melatonin for sleep at the right time of day by getting exposure to daylight during the morning and afternoon. Take a walk outside or sit beside a sunny window.
How Much Melatonin Should I Give My Child
Dosage recommendations for melatonin can vary depending on the type of sleep problem and the childs age.
Doctors may prescribe melatonin for sleep-onset insomnia, which makes it difficult to fall asleep. For this diagnosis, doctors often use the following dosage levels:
- Preschool-age : 1 to 2 milligrams
- School-age : 2 to 3 milligrams
- Adolescents : 5 milligrams
In all cases, however, experts recommend always starting with the lowest dose of melatonin available, then increasing the amount only if necessary.
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Is Melatonin Safe To Take Every Night
Americans arent sleeping well. Roughly 80% of U.S. adults say they struggle to fall asleep at least one night a week, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey. And research has found that sleep problems are also on the rise among adolescents.
While the causes of Americas sleep woes are up for debate, theres little disagreement about Americas favorite remedy: Melatonin, the countrys most-used sleep aid.
Melatonin Dose For Children
Broadly speaking, Dr. Goldman doesnt have recommendations for children when using melatonin. In most cases with teens or younger children, trouble falling asleep is a behavioral issue or it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. In these cases, Dr. Goldman recommends working with a pediatrician or sleep medicine provider to diagnose the problem before using melatonin.
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Is Melatonin Dosage Based On Weight
Whether weight matters depends on your melatonin administration. A science-backed observation study found that immediate-release melatonin can be affected by BMI, thanks to melatonin diffusion into fat mass and other factors.
That said, melatonin dosage is mostly affected by age, thanks to the naturally-occurring decrease in this hormone.
Melatonin Dosage For Kids
Dr. Anis Rehman, Endocrinologist
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Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the body that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. This hormone can also be produced synthetically. Melatonin is sold over the counter as a dietary supplement and may be used by people experiencing sleep issues, such as insomnia or jet lag.
In recent years, the number of adults and children using melatonin supplements has increased significantly. As this supplement grows in popularity, parents may wonder whether their kids would benefit from using melatonin and, if so, how to determine the appropriate dosage.
We discuss the dosage and safety of melatonin for children and teenagers, as well as other measures that can help kids get better sleep.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Melatonin Overdose
Unwanted or troubling side effects can occur with any supplement, even if it is considered relatively safe. Concerning symptoms have been reported with higher doses of melatonin.
Possible symptoms of too much melatonin include:
- Worsening of alopecia areata
Because melatonin can affect the cardiovascular, dermatologic, and central nervous systems, those with other conditions may be vulnerable to additional risks. Evidence suggests that melatonin supplementation may induce depression, particularly in people predisposed to or currently experiencing it. Research on this topic, however, is conflicting, since some studies have demonstrated the potential for melatonin to treat depression.
People taking blood thinners and benzodiazepines should be careful, as there is a possibility for interaction. Those with epilepsy should also exercise caution, as melatonin has been associated with increased seizures. People who are currently taking medications or supplements should discuss potential interactions directly with their doctor before taking melatonin.
Research suggests that elderly people, who have lower natural levels of melatonin, may be more sensitive to the effects of melatonin supplements. Therefore, older people are encouraged to check with their doctor before taking melatonin and start with the lowest possible dose.
How Do Melatonin Supplements Work
The pineal gland in the brain is responsible for natural melatonin production in the body. It doesnt make you sleepy, but as melatonin levels rise in the evening, it puts you into a state of quiet wakefulness that helps promote sleep, explains Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M.
Taking melatonin can help with a range of sleep problems such as:
- Primary sleep disorders like insomnia
- Delayed sleep-wake disorder
- Sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
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Melatonin Dosage Chart By Age Group
Children 3 years or older Adults
The dosage you take may also depend on your reason for taking melatonin. Its use in the treatment of some types of migraines and anxiety is still being studied, but many people find taking melatonin at different doses helps them with these other health issues.
There are initial studies looking at melatonin as a therapy for certain headache disorders and anxiety, especially in relation to surgical procedures, says Dr. Kohli, though she emphasizes that there is currently no consensus on using it for these issues and studies about the effectiveness are ongoing.
Use Melatonin Sleep Supplements Wisely And Safely
Less is more, Buenaver says. Take 1 to 3 milligrams two hours before bedtime. To ease jet lag, try taking melatonin two hours before your bedtime at your destination, starting a few days before your trip. You can also adjust your sleep-wake schedule to be in sync with your new time zone by simply staying awake when you reach your destinationdelaying sleep until your usual bedtime in the new time zone. Also, get outside for natural light exposure. Thats what I do, Buenaver says.
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Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is the name for the daily habits and behaviors you can do to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night. They donât just take place before bed though â these habits begin the moment you wake up.
The most important habit of all is being careful about your light exposure. When compared to dim light , research shows exposure to room light before bed causes melatonin to be produced later and for about 90 minutes less time in total. And exposure to room light during usual sleep hours suppresses melatonin by more than 50%.
Hereâs how to boost your natural melatonin production for better sleep:
You can find out more about sleep hygiene here. RISE can help you keep on top of all these habits by reminding you when to do 20+ sleep-boosting behaviors.