What Are Melatonins Side Effects On Kids
Potential, though mild, side effects of melatonin use in children include agitation, headache, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness. While it is not known for sure and more research on the long term use of melatonin in children is needed, its important to remember that melatonin is a hormone, and, as such, there is a possibility that it may affect hormonal development, including puberty and menstrual cycles.2
The Bottom Line
If your child occasionally has trouble falling asleep, instilling better sleep habits and routines might be in order. But if your child experiences significant difficulty falling asleep, melatonin might benefit your child, especially when its used in combination with behavioral interventions and healthy sleep practices.5
Most importantly, talk with your childs pediatrician before giving them amelatonin supplement to make sure its right for them, to understand the proper dosage, and to rule out any underlying health issues.
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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.
Symptoms Of Melatonin Overdose
Too much melatonin can have the opposite effect of its intended purpose. It can make it harder to sleep because your normal circadian rhythms will be disrupted.
For some people, too much melatonin can affect their blood pressure. Medications that lower blood pressure, such as calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers, may reduce your bodys natural production of melatonin.
However, taking a supplement to make up for lower melatonin levels may not always be advisable. Be sure to talk with your doctor about melatonin and any other supplements you take if youve been prescribed medications to help control your blood pressure.
What Happens If You Take Too Much Melatonin
Taking too much melatonin may make you feel ill, but it is unlikely to be fatal or cause you any permanent injuries. In experimental research studies, scientists could not find a lethal dose of melatonin. Also, very large doses have been given to pregnant rats in research studies without any increased risk of death or injury to the offspring observed. We dont know how this translates to humans, though, so pregnant people should not take melatonin without speaking to their healthcare provider .
Higher doses of melatonin can cause some minor adverse reactions, such as :
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 and seek emergency help:
- Trouble breathing
- Sudden chest pain
- Blood pressure thats over 180/120 mmHg
These arent typically signs of a reaction to or drug interaction related to melatonin. They are serious signs of a medical emergency, though, and shouldnt be ignored.
If you think you may have overdosed on melatonin or any other substance, contact Poison Control either by phone or online. This is a free, confidential service that is available 24/7.
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Melatonin Dosage For Older Adults
Melatonin levels naturally , disrupting the sleep-wake cycles for many older adults. As a result, older adults may have an increased sensitivity to melatonin.
In a meta-analysis of 16 studies, melatonin dosages between 0.1 and 50 milligrams per kilogram were administered to older adults aged 55 to 77 years old. In all of the studies, the melatonin levels remained higher among the older adults when compared to younger adults and stayed higher for a longer period of time leading to increased daytime drowsiness. The more melatonin the person took, the more pronounced these effects.
As a result, researchers recommend older adults start with the lowest dose of melatonin possible. Lower doses may help older adults sleep better without disrupting their circadian rhythms and causing prolonged drowsiness.
Older adults with dementia should avoid melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Melatonin For Sleep: Does It Work
Melatonin sleep aids are growing in popularity, with 3 million Americansusing them in 2012, according to a nationwide survey from the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention. If youre among them or are consideringmelatonin for sleep, its smart to understand exactly how melatonin works.
Your body produces melatonin naturally. It doesnt make you sleep, 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.
Most peoples bodies produce enough melatonin for sleep on their own. However, there are steps you can take to make the most of your natural melatonin production, or you can try a supplement on a short-term basis if youre experiencing insomnia, want to overcome jet lag, or are a night owl who needs to get to bed earlier and wake up earlier, such as for work or school.
If youd like to harness melatonins sleep-inducing effects, Buenaver recommends taking these steps.
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Melatonin For Older Adults
The amount of melatonin your body produces decreases with age. Because of this, melatonin supplements may be helpful for older adults who are having trouble falling asleep.
Researchers are still looking into the optimal melatonin dosage for older adults. One 2016 review of sleep aids for older adults suggests a dosage of 1 to 2 mg of immediate-release melatonin 1 hour before bedtime.
How Much Melatonin Should I Take
Melatonin supplements are available in a wide range of dosages, from 1 milligram up to 10 milligrams, and can be taken in pill form, as dissolvable tablets, liquid drops, or even gummies. However you take it, the best time to use melatonin is about 30 minutes before bedtime.
If youve never taken melatonin before, start small and work your way up if needed. For adults, Dr. Kohli recommends beginning with a 1 to 2 milligram dose daily and increasing the dosage by another 1 to 2 milligrams at a time. For children, the AAP says the dose should remain low , capping out at no more than 3 to 6 milligrams of melatonin. The maximum dosage for healthy adults ranges from 5 to 10 milligrams. If that sounds like a wide spectrum of normal, its because the right dose of melatonin is very individualized. According to University of Missouri Health Care neurologist Pradeep Bollu, MD, while some people respond well to 3 milligrams daily, others may need more or less. If you feel like you need more than 5 milligrams, you should talk to your doctor first before trying a higher dose. The more melatonin you take the more likely you are to have side effects. Melatonin dosage is fixed according to age, and does not vary by body weight.
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Who Should Not Take Melatonin
According to John Hopkins Medicine, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take melatonin. Also, people with certain health conditions like autoimmune disorders, seizure disorders, and depression should avoid melatonin however, if you have one or more of these conditions, talk to your doctor about the safety and efficacy of melatonin use. Melatonin supplements can raise blood sugar levels they can also increase blood pressure in people who are on medications to lower blood pressure. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or take other drugs, talk to your healthcare provider before taking melatonin.
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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Who Can And Cannot Take Melatonin
Melatonin is mainly prescribed for adults aged 55 or over, to help for short-term sleep problems.
It can sometimes be used by adults under the age of 55 and by children, if a doctor recommends it.
It’s not suitable for some people. To make sure melatonin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to melatonin or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- have rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or lupus, or any other autoimmune condition
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.
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Safe Dosages For Melatonin
Melatonin dosages of between 0.3 mg to 20 mg have been used in research studies to treat different health conditions. For sleep disorders, has been used in most human research trials.Higher dosages are generally reserved for more serious medical conditions and should not be used without a doctorâs guidance. To determine the appropriate dosage for a child, speak to your doctor as age and weight can significantly affect dosage guidelines.
Melatonin is safe for adults when used appropriately, but it is still recommended to check with a doctor about the correct dosage for your needs.
Consider Melatonin Sleep Help For Occasional Insomnia
Even sound sleepers have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep once in a while, Buenaver says. You may want to try melatonin for sleep if you have difficulty for more than a night or two. Research shows that a supplement may help people with insomnia fall asleep slightly faster and may have bigger benefits for those with delayed sleep phase syndromefalling asleep very late and waking up late the next day.
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What Does Melatonin Do
Research has shown that taking melatonin supplements is especially helpful for people who have specific sleep problems. It’s useful in resetting your body from jet lag. It can help people who have trouble falling asleep if they are anxious about something like surgery.
Melatonin can help make children feel sleepier before bedtime. This helps them wind down and go to sleep earlier than they would without the supplement.
Melatonin is especially helpful in helping kids with specific health or behavior conditions, including:
Children who have these issues tend to have trouble falling asleep on their own. Melatonin supplements help them get to sleep more easily.
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.
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Melatonin Safety For Kids And Pregnant Women
Melatonin is rated as Possibly Safe for children when used at appropriate dosages for single-use occasions only. This supplement should not be given to children without first consulting with a doctor to determine the proper dosage.
Melatonin is considered Possibly Unsafe for short-term or long-term use. While it has been used safely in some short-term clinical trials, there is a theoretical risk that elevated levels of this hormone could negatively affect gonadal development and may delay the onset of puberty.
Melatonin is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. This supplement is rated Possibly Unsafe during pregnant since increased levels of melatonin may inhibit ovulation and cause a contraceptive effect. This supplement should also be avoided by women trying to become pregnant.
How Much Melatonin Is Too Much Is Melatonin Safe Are There Melatonin Risks
In general, it is typically best to take the lowest effective melatonin dosage. In rare cases you may experience uncomfortable and unwanted side effects with melatonin supplementation. If youâre thinking of adding melatonin to your nighttime routine, hereâs what you should know before you begin:
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How And When To Take It
The dose will vary depending on why you’re taking it. Follow the instructions that come with your medicine if you’re taking melatonin to:
- prevent headaches
If your child is prescribed melatonin, follow the doctor’s instructions carefully. Find out more about giving melatonin to children from Medicines for Children.
Considerations When Taking Melatonin
It is a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new over-the-counter sleep aids. They can help you establish the correct dosage and timing based on various factors such as your weight, age, and other health conditions or medications you are currently taking. If you are not sure why you are having trouble sleeping, they may also be able to diagnose an underlying sleep disorder or health condition and work out a treatment plan. Improving sleep hygiene habits may also lead to better sleep.
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Melatonin Interactions With Alcohol
Alcohol can cause some serious problems when mixed with melatonin. Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns on its own, which can potentially interfere with melatonins effectiveness. However, alcohol naturally acts as a depressant, meaning it slows down the central nervous system, which slows down your thinking, behaviors, and actions and makes you drowsy. Given the situation, alcohol could either strengthen or weaken the effects of melatonin. The biggest safety concerns involve:
Drowsiness, especially while operating machinery
The combined effects can put you at a greater risk of accidents.12 Furthermore, you should avoid caffeinated drinks, including coffee, tea, energy drinks, and colas, while you are taking melatonin as caffeine may counteract melatonins effects.11
DrFormulas® Natural Herbal Sleep Aid Pills are specially formulated to support healthy circadian rhythms and more restful sleep. Along with 1 mg melatonin dosage per capsule, each pill contains L-theanine, magnesium, and GABA to promote healthy neurologic activity while you sleep for more calm, rest, and relaxation.
How Much Melatonin Is Too Much
Taken on a short-term basis, melatonin has very few side effects and when they do appear, they tend to be mild. Research shows that some side effects of taking melatonin can include headache, dizziness, nausea, and sleepiness.3Low dose melatonin can safely be taken for up to 3 months, however doses higher than 5 mg should not be taken for longer than 2 months.
If youre pregnant or nursing, you should consult your physician before taking melatonin. Keep in mind that, like all supplements, melatonin might interact with certain medications, such as antidepressants, blood pressure or blood thinning medicines so best to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking melatonin if you are taking prescription medications. In older adults, melatonin may remain active in their bodies longer than it does in younger people and also may cause daytime lethargy.3
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The Bottom Line
If you struggle to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow, you might benefit from taking melatonin to help regulate your bodys sleep cycle. The optimal melatonin dose depends on your age, so start with the lowest dose of melatonin as may be effective to meet your needs. If youre not sure whether takinga melatonin supplement is the right choice for you , talk with your health care professional for guidance and support.
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Those Who Are Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
There is not enough information available on the side effects of melatonin supplements to determine if pregnant or breastfeeding people can safely take these supplements. Those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should avoid melatonin supplements unless directed by their physician. If you are struggling with sleep, ask your doctor for other ways to improve sleep during pregnancy.
Is Melatonin Safe For Children
Melatonin is an excellent choice for children who have difficulty sleeping talk with your pediatrician, start with a foundation of a good bedtime routine, and discuss trying a low melatonin dosage specially formulated for kids to help when needed. Be sure to read the label and follow the instructions on when to give your child the melatonin dosage that is right for them: 0.5-1.0 mg melatonin, 1-2 Pure Zzzs Kidz melatonin gummies taken 30 minutes before bedtime can help kids fall asleep naturally.*
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Is It Safe To Take Melatonin Every Night
Unfortunately, theres no straight answer here, which youre probably hoping for. There isnt any evidence proving conclusively that long-term use of melatonin is safe. Though the supplement is generally not associated with dependency, habituation, or hangover symptoms, Dr. Kohli says she doesnt suggest taking melatonin every night because of the lack of long-term clinical trials evaluating the safety of chronic use.
At the same time, there isnt any evidence proving nightly melatonin use isnt safe. Dr. Bollu points out that melatonin is a natural hormone that fluctuates in our bodies on a daily basis anyway, meaning it may be safer than taking a prescription drug.