What Are The Side Effects Of Melatonin Supplementation
1 Daytime Sleepiness. Drowsiness is undoubtedly amongst the most visible and common side effects when it comes to overdoing it with your supplementation. 2 Hormonal Changes. When youre taking a hormone hormonal changes are bound to happen. 3 Headaches. 4 Dizziness. 5 Paranoia. 6 Stomach Issues. 7 Anxiety & Depression.
Some Top Melatonin Products For Kids
Please note that the statements below are based only on research. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.Also, it is important to consult a doctor before administering melatonin to a child, as other treatments and approaches are better supported by research and may be safer and more effective.
Safety In Toddlers & Young Children
Dr. Maida Chen, who leads the Pediatric Sleep Center summarizes this well, There have only been a few studies to look at long-term melatonin use and associated effects, but some sleep specialists consider melatonin safe, particularly for occasional short-term use. Often the child has a chronic sleep disorder and melatonin is covering up the underlying symptoms. It can be a slippery slope for families because continuing use of melatonin can delay obtaining more appropriate treatment for the underlying sleep disorder.
Generally, research finds that supplemental melatonin is not tremendously effective in children who arent diagnosed with underlying ADHD or ASD, though some kids get benefit in falling asleep more quickly. I sincerely believe that many young children getting melatonin would do better with improved consistent bedtime routines, strict rules about no emitting devices for 1 hour prior to bedtime . For any child having trouble falling asleep, work to avoid screens and/or dim the screen light in the hours before bedtime.
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Children With Adhd And/or Autism Spectrum Disorders
Children with ADHD and/or autism spectrum disorder are known to have challenges falling asleep. Studies with melatonin have been done in these populations of children. Dr. Chen explains,
More trials of melatonin for sleep difficulties have been done in children with ADHD or ASD than studies for typically developing children. Evidence from these trials suggests that melatonin is safe and does shorten the length of time it takes to fall asleep. However, the effects are not generally overwhelming and not every child who takes melatonin shows sleep improvement. The studies mostly evaluate short-term use only.
Most worries about long-term use and safety are speculative but without clarity from research its always best to get kids off melatonin when you can.
Melatonin And Kids With Adhd
Attention deficit hyperactivity is commonly associated with sleep problems, just as sleep problems can cause attentional issues. As many as 70% of children with ADHD may have sleep problems. Sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep, abnormalities in sleep architecture , and daytime sleepiness. Trials of melatonin showed that it helped children with ADHD to fall asleep more quickly, although there was no evidence of improvement in attentional symptoms during the day. Side effects reported included problems with waking up at night and daytime sleepiness in some children. There is a nice review article here.
Parents Are Relying On Melatonin To Help Their Kids Sleep Should They
A survey suggests that nearly half of children with difficulty sleeping have taken melatonin.
For the Langstaff family, the bedtime routine had become more like a bedtime marathon.
My son has struggled with sleep from the moment he was born, Anna Langstaff, the head of a Montessori school in Portland, Ore., said of her 6-year-old son, Henry. We used to joke that he was like a little knight fighting a dragon called sleep.
When Henry was a toddler, dimming the lights and other bedtime cues simply sent him into battle mode she said. Hed start yelling, No bed! No bed!
After years of struggling with what had become a two-hour bedtime routine, the Langstaffs turned to their pediatrician, who recommended a chocolate containing melatonin, a hormone secreted by a pea-size organ in the brain called the pineal gland that helps regulate the bodys internal clock and induces sleepiness.
It was like magic, she said. Now Henry falls asleep at 7:30 p.m. and continues to wake up at the same time he always has, shortly before 6 a.m., Langstaff said.
Magic game changer these are words frequently used by parents describing how melatonin helps their children fall asleep.
An online survey of 933 parents with children under 18 conducted by YouGov for The New York Times in May found that only about a third had kids who were struggling with sleep issues in the past year. But among those parents, almost half had given melatonin to their children.
Is Melatonin Safe For Kids A Look At The Evidence
Unfortunately, poor sleep can affect a childs mood and ability to pay attention and learn. It has also been linked to health issues such as childhood obesity .
This is why some parents consider giving their children melatonin, a hormone and popular sleep aid.
Though its considered safe for adults, you may wonder if your child can safely take melatonin.
This article explains whether kids can safely take melatonin supplements.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your brains pineal gland.
Often referred to as the sleep hormone, it helps your body get ready for bed by setting your internal clock, also called the circadian rhythm .
Melatonin levels rise in the evening, which lets your body know its time to head to bed. Conversely, melatonin levels start to fall a few hours before its time to wake up.
Interestingly, this hormone plays a role in other functions besides sleep. It helps regulate your blood pressure, body temperature, cortisol levels and immune function (
In the US, melatonin is available over-the-counter at many drug and health food stores.
People take melatonin to cope with a variety of sleep-related issues, such as:
- Sleep disorders related to mental health
- Delayed sleep phase syndrome
- Circadian rhythm disorders
However, in other parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand and many European countries, melatonin is only available with a prescription.
Many parents wonder if melatonin supplements can help their child fall asleep.
How Do You Know If Melatonin Might Be Helpful
Children on melatonin should meet some criteria for insomnia, and in particular for difficulty falling asleep. But they also should have other things ruled out, experts said.
If you are worried about your kids sleep, talk to your pediatrician, said Craig Canapari, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at Yale University, director of the Pediatric Sleep Center at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Melatonin certainly may be on the table for a finite period of time, but you have to look and see is there an underlying problem that is causing your childs insomnia.
For example, melatonin is not appropriate for restless leg syndrome. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health say that children should not take melatonin long-term, but neither organization defines what long-term means. Some children naturally fall asleep later than parents might like, but that doesnt mean they need melatonin.
What Do Melatonin Supplements Do
People produce the hormone melatonin in the evening as a signal to the body that its time to go to sleep higher levels of melatonin make people feel tired and ready for bed. If you give your child melatonin at the right time during the evening, it may make it easier for them to fall asleep.
Melatonin doesnt help everyone fall asleep, although many people do find it useful, says
Chee Chun Tan, M.D., pediatric sleep medicine specialist at K. Hovnanian Childrens Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Some research suggests that it may also be helpful for kids with ADHD or autism who struggle with sleep when used for short periods. However, long-term usage of melatonin supplements as sleep aids hasnt been well-studied in children.
Because melatonin is a type of dietary supplement, its production isnt regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that any melatonin gummies that you purchase may contain more or less of the active ingredient than the label says. Always do research first and make sure to purchase supplements from reputable manufacturers that are lab-tested. Consult your childs doctor for advice. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, U.S. consumers should look for the USP Verified mark, which indicates that the products makeup meets the requirements of the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, an independent global testing organization.
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Melatonin Overdose In Children
You rely on melatonin to know when it is time to go to sleep 56. However, some children experience difficulty going to sleep due to sleep-related medical conditions. When this occurs, melatonin may be recommended 5. Understanding the proper dosages and the circumstances by which to take this medication can help to prevent overdose and adverse symptoms.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
You Can Encourage The Release Of Natural Melatonin In Your Kid
Melatonin is released by our pineal glands in response to darkness as a part of our circadian rhythm. There are things you can do to help your kids sleep cycle get on track so that natural melatonin gets released at bedtime. Having a dark sleep environment, a consistent bedtime and limiting screens and snacks before bed all naturally promote melatonin and bring on sleep, says McGinn.
These types of sleep practices are called sleep hygieneand Cummings says he would never recommend melatonin as a replacement for these practices. We are in an age where families are often looking for a quick fix, he says. But not everything needs a pill to get better.
*Names have been changed
When To Talk To Your Doctor About Melatonin
To ensure safe usage, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter sleep aid, including melatonin. They know your personal medical history and can best advise you on the appropriate melatonin dosage for your needs. They will also know whether melatonin might interact with any other medications you may currently be taking.
Certain health conditions and medications may increase your risk of side effects when taking melatonin. If you take any of the following medications, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking melatonin:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Shift workers
The research into melatonins potential benefits and use cases is still evolving, and its long-term effects are still unknown. For many people, melatonin offers mild improvements to sleep problems when used on a short-term basis. For others, it may cause side effects or not impact sleep at all.
If you find your sleep problems persist after trying melatonin, it may be time to talk to a doctor. They can recommend other strategies for improving your sleep, such as better sleep hygiene, changes to diet and exercise, or cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia. They can also evaluate other possible causes for your sleep problems.
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It Sounds Great Why Should I Worry About Melatonin
There are several areas for concern, specifically known and theoretical side effects, and problems with preparations.
A 2020 study of the PedPRM long acting melatonin formulation followed 80 children for 2 years, and did not show any evidence of effects on weight, height, body mass index, or Tanner staging .This is the best long term study of melatonin safety and is quite reassuring.
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What Is The Take Home Should My Child Take Melatonin
I have not met a parent who is eager to medicate their child. Such decisions are made with a lot of soul-searching, and frequently after unsuccessful attempts to address sleep problems via behavioral changes. Treatment options are limited. There are no FDA-approved insomnia medications for children except for chloral hydrate which is no longer available. Personally, I use melatonin for children commonly in my practice. It is very helpful for some children and families. I appreciate Dr. Kennaways concerns but I have seen first hand the consequences of poor sleep on children and families. I always investigate to make sure that I am not missing other causes of insomnia . My end goal is always to help a child sleep with a minimum of medications. I know that this is the goal of parents as well. Some children, especially those with autism of developmental issues, will not be able to sleep without medication. So, melatonin may be a good option for your child if:
- Behavioral changes alone have been ineffective
- Other medical causes of insomnia have been ruled out
- Your physician thinks that melatonin is a safe option for your child and is willing to follow his or her insomnia over time
What Are The Appropriate Doses Of Melatonin In Elderly People
Melatonin does not have a standard dosage that fits all. But when it comes to older people, the best results showed dosages from 2 to 3 mg taken 30 minutes before bedtime. These quantities do not cause overdose symptoms or side effects, significantly improve the quality of sleep, and help maintain alertness during the next day, according to Happysleepyhead.com.
Doctors usually recommend starting with the smallest dosage and gradually increasing it. Thus, you can better understand how much melatonin has the most pronounced effect.
Quick note: A large dose does not necessarily mean falling asleep faster. In many cases, smaller doses will be digested quicker .
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My Kid Ate Half A Bottle Of Melatonin
Melatonin is the body’s sleep hormone, which is naturally produced by the brain’s pineal gland, and helps regulate sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin supplements are often used to help with a variety of sleep-related issues, including insomnia and jet lag. In the United States, melatonin is available over the counter however, in many other parts of the world, it is only available with a prescription.
The short answer: only after talking to your child’s pediatrician. While it’s an over-the-counter medication, your child’s sleep issues might be indicative of a problem that requires further medical intervention.
According to the National Institutes of Health, most studies show that short-term melatonin use is safe for kids and produces little to no side effects. . However, little research has been done about the long-term side effects of melatonin, and because of that, many doctors are wary to recommend melatonin for sleep issues in children.
Not enough research exists about the long-term use of melatonin in children for it to be considered safe. Melatonin should only be used as a short-term sleep aid for your children.
According to Dr. Kimberly Lemke, a licensed child and adolescent clinical psychologist in Illinois who specializes in sleep issues, there are many things that parents can do to help their children fall asleep more easily.
If Youve Decided To Use Melatonin With Your 2
Because melatonin is not approved by the FDA as a sleep aid in children, before you give it to your toddler, it is imperative that you talk it over with your pediatrician. Once youve gotten the go-ahead, start with the smallest dose possible. Most kids respond to 0.5 1 milligram. Start with 0.5, and see how your toddler does. You can increase by 0.5 milligrams every few days until you find the right dose.
In addition to giving the right amount of melatonin, its equally important to give it at the right time. If your toddler has a hard time falling asleep, experts recommend giving them their dose about 1-2 hours before bedtime. But some kids need help with the sleep/wake cycle throughout the night. In these cases, pediatric sleep expert Dr. Craig Canapari suggests a low dose at dinnertime. It can really depend on why your toddler needs melatonin, so definitely talk to your pediatrician about the right time to administer it, too.
What Is The Best Melatonin Dosage
People struggling with sleep issues often make the mistake of taking too much melatonin at once assuming that thats the best way to get better sleep. Excessive melatonin can just disrupt your sleep cycle and cause serious side effects , so its always best to consult your doctor if you arent sure.
For insomnia and occasional sleeplessness, the average adult typically takes 0.2 milligrams to 5 milligrams about an hour before bedtime. A good rule of thumb is less is better. Its better to start with the smallest dosage possible. Once your body adjusts to the smaller melatonin dosage, you can increase your dosage as needed.3
Your age, weight, and sensitivity to melatonin can affect how much of the supplement you should take. A study from MIT shows that adults over 50 should take 0.3 milligrams of melatonin to maintain good sleep throughout the night.4
When Should Melatoninnot Be Used
As mentioned above, children lose sleep for many reasons.Avoid melatonin:
- if the insomnia is situational
- if the insomnia is short-term
- if the insomnia is due to an underlying physicalcause
- if your child is younger than 3
Melatonin should never substitute for healthy sleeppractices: a regular, age-appropriate and consistent bedtime and bedtimeroutine, no caffeine, and no electronics or screens before bedtime.