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.
Melatonin Is Not Meant For Kids
In her sleep consulting practice, McGinn has met babies who have been on melatonin from as young as four months of age. But, of the more than 500 melatonin-containing products licensed for sale in Canada, only two are licensed for teenagers , and there arent any approved for kids under 12.
Cummings, who does recommend melatonin to some of his pediatric patients as a treatment for managing insomnia, says the average kid under five would not have developed the type of sleep disorder where melatonin could be useful, and therefore they wouldnt need it.
What Is The Maximum Dose Of Melatonin For Children
Normally I buy 2mg melatonin. this time all they had was 5mg. what happens if one kid took 3 tablets? I gave they 7 year old 2 tablets thinking that I hadnt given any, which I didnt. Dad also gave 4yr old 2 tablets but I had already given him 1 tablet. Will this harm them?
Melatonin is a manmade form of a hormone produced in the brain that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycle. It has been used in alternative medicine as a likely effective aid in treating insomnia .
Melatonin is not regulated by the FDA in the US and is often sold as a dietary supplement and has not been subjected to the same safety or efficacy requirements as a medicine.
The dose given to a child will depend on age and response. The dose range is usually 2mg to 5mg 30 to 60 minutes before bed. If night time waking is a problem then long acting tablets may be better than immediate release formulations.Melatonin appears to be well tolerated with only few side effects reported and most often in doses greater than 8mg/day, headache sleepiness and depression being most common.
Research does suggest that Melatonin is likely safe when taken at recommended doses, typically 1-20mg, for up to three months.
For more information see:
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How Much Melatonin Can Children Take
Few studies;look at the use of melatonin in healthy children, including research into appropriate dose levels, so it’s challenging to come up with an exact amount.;If you’re concerned about your child or infant’s sleep habits, it’s best to speak with your pediatrician before attempting any at-home dosing.
Some kids, such as children with immune disorders or those taking immunosuppressants, should not take melatonin at all. While melatonin is generally well-tolerated in adults, further studies are needed to confirm its safety and efficacy in children.
Anatomical and physiological differences give rise to differences in the bodily absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs in children compared with adults. Many medicines, including melatonin, have only been tested for safety and efficacy in adults.
Can You Overdose On Melatonin
While melatonin is generally considered safe, it is possible to take too much. There is no official recommended melatonin dosage, and people can have different sensitivities to melatonin, so finding an appropriate dose can be challenging. Moreover, because melatonin is not regulated in the U.S., the actual melatonin content of supplements can vary significantly. Studies have found that some melatonin products can have nearly five times as much melatonin as their label claims, or much less.
The first sign that youve taken too much melatonin is that youll continue feeling its soporific effects the following day. You may feel especially drowsy or groggy. Doses of 10 milligrams or higher can cause side effects like drowsiness and headache. Other symptoms of melatonin overdose include:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Vivid dreams or nightmares
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Can I Give My Dog Benadryl And Melatonin At The Same Time
Benadryl and melatonin are synergistic in their actions and therefore should not be used together in dogs. Synergy means that when both the drugs are administered together, they augment the action of each other such that the overall effects of the two drugs combined are greater than the sum of individual effects.
This overall effect may be similar to melatonin overdose and could cause side effects consistent with an overdose.
Seek more information about the appropriate drugs to use in conjunction with melatonin when treating your dog.
Melatonin is very much safe for use in the management of anxiety, fear and sleep disorders. The side effects are very rare making it more appropriate and safer than other medications that can be used for similar purposes.
You should always seek expert advice when you are considering the use of melatonin to manage any condition to prevent worsening of any preexisting conditions.
Ideally, it is not advisable to self-diagnose your dog and start administering medications. If your dogs health is worrying you, you should talk to your vet and get expert help.
The prognosis for anxiety, fear and sleeping disorders after treatment with melatonin is usually good. Save your dog from anxiety and fear by choosing the best treatment option for him or her.
How Much Should You Take
The majority of studies have researched doses ranging from 0.3 mg to 10 mg as the safest and most effective dose. However, the ideal dose depends on age, weight, the problem youre trying to address, and any current medications that youre taking. Generally speaking, the ideal dose is the lowest dose possible that provides the desired effects. Most experts recommended starting at the lowest dose and slowly increasing until you get the desired effect.
If youre unsure which dose to start with, its best to talk to your doctor.
What Are The Negative Effects Of Melatonin Are There Any Side Effects
Studies have not shown any danger with melatonin, including any risk of dependency. That said, some patients may experience reactions to melatonin, which may depend on the dose. The higher the dose, the greater the likelihood of experiencing any side effects. Possible melatonin supplement side effects reported in children have typically been mild, according to NCCIH 8, and include:
What Happens If I Take Melatonin With Another Medication
According to the Mayo Clinic, taking melatonin should be safe for most people, though in some circumstances it can interact with other medications such as blood thinners, blood pressure medications, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives and others. However, this doesnt mean the interaction will be dangerous, in some cases it may just inhibit melatonins ability to simulate drowsiness.
Before taking melatonin, be sure to discuss your current medications with your doctor to be sure its the right choice for you.
Potency Difference Between Brands
Without FDA regulation dose of melatonin sold in the U.S. isnt controlled.
Potency varies by brand and even between different batches from the same manufacturer. Its important to note that many studies using melatonin have been done using pharmaceutical grade melatonin, which is not commercially available in the United States. ~Dr. Maida Chen
My Doctor And I Have Talked About It What Should We Consider Regarding How And When To Give Melatonin
Melatonin can be a tricky medication to dose. Effects change depending on when you give it compared to your childs usual sleep schedule. Thus, a small dose a few hours before bedtime can have more of an effect than a large dose given at bedtime. In some situations dosing may the opposite effect. This is a special case and should be addressed with your physician. A couple of rules of thumb.
- Timing: For shifting sleep schedules earlier 36 hours before current sleep onset is best. For the sleep onset effects, 30 minutes before bedtime is recommended. Remember, not every child gets sleepy with melatonin.
- Dosing: In general, I would start at a low dose and increase slowly. Recognize that melatonin, unlike other medications, is a hormone, and that lower doses are sometimes more effective than higher ones, especially if the benefit of it reduces with time.
- Good Sleep Hygiene is Critical: Melatonin is not a substitute for good sleep hygiene practices and should only be used in concert with a high quality bedtime, limitation on light exposure, and an appropriate sleep schedule.
- When possible, purchasing a USP Verified preparation;may indicate that the product is manufactured to the;requirements of the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which could mean that the quality controllers are tighter.
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Why Do People Take Melatonin
Melatonin is the hormone released by our brains once we fall asleep and it is actively used to handle a range of different conditions. Apart from the regular sleep-related ones, melatonin is also known for being particularly useful in various cancer treatments as an additional ingredient to use through chemotherapy, for instance.
Alternatives To Taking Melatonin
If you have trouble sleeping, it is always wise to see a doctor.; A doctor can assess your symptoms and determine if a medical condition may be an underlying cause. If that turns out to be the case, your doctor can then identify treatment options that may also allow you to sleep soundly.
If you want a more restful sleep without melatonin supplements, start by establishing a sleep/wake routine. By following the same schedule nightly, you can create a pattern that your body gets used to, increasing the odds that youll be sleepy at the right time.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, exercise and digital devices at least a few hours before bed. All of those things can disrupt your natural melatonin production, so forgoing them as the evening approaches can help. Anxiety can also hamper sleep. Finding natural ways to relieve stress can help.;
For some, herbal tea can promote better sleep. Some find consuming them relaxing, and that general sense of calm can make a difference.
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Why People Take Artificial Melatonin
Since melatonin regulates the sleep cycle, individuals who suffer from sleep-related issues, like insomnia, may take artificial melatonin as a supplement. Similarly, travelers may use melatonin to reduce jet lag and adjust to a different time zone. Night shift workers may also take the supplement to make falling asleep during the day or at odd times easier.
When taken before bed, supplements increase the amount of melatonin in the body. This could make falling asleep or staying asleep easier. However, there is limited scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of melatonin supplements, so it isnt clear whether people experience the purported benefits or simply a placebo effect.
As shown above, outside factors like sunlight can hinder your bodys production of melatonin. Supplements can bypass those factors and help you feel more ready to sleep, even if your environment is less than ideal.
How Much Melatonin Is Safe For Kids The Proper Dosage For Your Child
Quick Health Scoop
- Melatonin is a hormone that the body naturally produces.
- Melatonin helps regulate your circadian rhythmyour internal clock that regulates the sleep/wake cycle.
- Melatonin is a 100% drug-free sleep supplement and can help you fall asleep faster and may help you stay asleep longer.
- The proper melatonin dosage depends on your age and specific sleep issue.;
When your childs bedtime hits, you might dim the lights, read a book, give a big hug and say goodnightall cues that its time for your little one to fall asleep. But what if they struggle to fall asleep? You might be considering giving them melatonin, a 100% drug-free sleep aid. After all, plenty of adults turn to melatonin supplements to help normalize their sleep. If you are considering this for your little one, you are likely wondering, is melatonin safe for kids? If so, whats the right melatonin dosage for children? Should they take the same melatonin sleep aid made for adults, or is there a children’s melatonin?
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Dosage: How Much Melatonin Can You Give A Dog
Heres dosage chart based on weight.
|Over 100 lbs||3 6 mg|
Melatonin for dogs is available over the counter. However, you should always consult your veterinarian to help you determine the right dosage for your dog.
Individual dogs are given different dosages based on their difference in body size and the type of condition being managed. This means that the amount required to induce sleep in sleeping disorders may differ from the amount used to treat anxiety and fear.
Your veterinary will weigh your dog to determine his/her weight. The weight obtained will then be used to calculate the melatonin dosages for your dog with reference to the condition being managed.
Ideally, 1 mg of melatonin is the recommended dose for dogs who weigh less than 10 pounds. This is the average amount of drug that should be given to avoid complications. Dogs weighing 10 to 25 pounds are managed with a dose of 1.5mg while dogs weighing 26 to 100 pounds are managed with a dose of 3mg.
Additionally, 3 to 6 mg is recommended for dogs weighing more than 100 pounds. Some dosages may exceed these limits since these are the standard amounts for melatonin therapy in dogs.
Nevertheless, you should seek guidance from a qualified expert such as your veterinary officer to avoid the possibility of overdosing or underdosing your dog.;These dosages are indicated each for a single use and should not be administered more than three times within 24 hours.
Maximum Or Lethal Dose Of Melatonin
Its hard to pinpoint the lethal melatonin dosage because its a natural hormone. Just make sure youre not going beyond the recommended dosage for your melatonin use. If you do, you may start to experience more severe melatonin side effects, such as overly vivid dreams, headaches, etc.
Also, make sure you understand different melatonin interactions and how melatonin mixes with other things youre taking or ingesting. There are specific interactions between melatonin and alcohol and melatonin and marijuana that you should be aware of.
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Melatonin Dosage For Older Adults
Our 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 milligram 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.
Can Melatonin Interact With Other Substances
Its also a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting melatonin if youre taking any prescription medications.
The following list of medications may interact negatively with melatonin:
- Blood-thinning medications : Melatonin may increase risk of bleeding.
- Blood pressure drugs: Melatonin may make them less effective.
- Diabetes medications: Melatonin may affect blood sugar and make these drugs less effective.
- Birth control pills: Hormonal contraceptives increase your bodys natural levels of melatonin, so adding more may cause drowsiness.
- Steroids and immune-suppressing drugs: Melatonin may make these medications less effective. Do not take melatonin with corticosteroids or other immunosuppressants.
- Medications to prevent seizures : Melatonin might make them less effective, increasing the risk of seizures in some people.
Because melatonin has a sedative effect, it may not be a good idea to take it with other things that can make you sleepy, such as opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, or alcohol.
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Melatonin Could Help Kids With Adhd And Autism
Kids with attention disorders and autism commonly develop sleep problems that can be helped with melatonin. Additionally, medication used to treat ADHD can lead to difficulty falling asleep. That was the case for Jackie Botman,* whose son has ADHD. The eight-year-olds medication was keeping him up until 9:30 or laterhe was wired and couldnt settle down. He was resistant to calming down and having quiet time. He became chronically tired, says Botman, who lives in Toronto. Now her son takes a ;5 mg dose of melatonin when hes brushing his teeth, then gets into bed and falls asleep in a reasonable amount of time.
Although Cummings agrees that melatonin can help kids with ADHD or autism, he says the downside is that theres a high relapse rate: Once you take your kid off melatonin, they are almost guaranteed to go back to having difficulty sleeping. It sets up a situation where those kids, to function well in life and in school, may need to use the melatonin on a longer-term basis, says Cummings.