Melatonin and Children
Are you using or thought about using melatonin to help your kids get to sleep? I have been hearing more and more parents resorting to using a synthetic (store bought) melatonin to help get their children to calm down and get to sleep.
I totally understand why parents would want to try it because they are exhausted from the bedtime battles with their children and all they want by 8:00 p.m. is a little peace and quiet! I totally get it! There is no judgement here, I just think parents feel like they do not have other options and I want to let them know they do!
While I am not a doctor or nurse, I am going share what I have found on a trusted website as I researched more about melatonin. From Healthy Children.org
“What parents should know about melatonin:
Melatonin is a natural, hormone-like substance produced by an area in the brain called the pineal gland. It is released naturally at night and tells the body it’s time to sleep.
Melatonin is sold as a sleep aid. It can be found over the counter as a dietary supplement, which means you can buy it at the pharmacy or a health food store, without a prescription. However, this also means that it’s use is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or approved for that purpose. More on this here.
While melatonin plays a role in sleep; it is NOT a sleeping pill. It should only be used after a discussion with your pediatrician and pre-established healthy sleep habits that do not include medication.
We need more research on the use and safety of melatonin in children. While studies have shown that short-term use is relatively safe, less is known about longer uses of melatonin. For example, there are concerns about how it might affect a child’s growth and development, particularly during puberty. Studies have also found that morning sleepiness, drowsiness, and possible increased urination at night are the most common side effects that occur while taking melatonin. Further, melatonin may interact with other medicines a child takes.”
Again – I understand why parents use it because they see the impact immediately. I just want them to be cautious because often times parents start on it without conversations with their pediatricians and do not have a plan for stopping it. Unfortunately, for many children – it helps them fall asleep, but they wake in the night or in the early morning because the synthetic melatonin produces more than they need or peaks a few hours after taking it and the natural body does not know what to do.
There are a number of things families can do to help children calm their bodies and minds for sleep such as modifying the bedtime routine to include certain yoga poses, belly breathing and using essential oils. Take a listen to this Facebook Live video Mira Binzen of DoTerra and I did, talking about how we support families on this journey to peaceful sleep!
Recently, I helped two families stop using melatonin and establish an environment and a routine that allowed their three-year olds to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night. It can be done with a plan, structure, consistency and support!
Check out our website to download the FREE five-page Keys to Peaceful Sleep that will help you evaluate where your family is at and changes you may want to make. Individual coaching can support you in those changes to help your children learn to calm, self-soothe and sleep all night!
If you would like more assistance, please reach out for a free 20-minute consultation!
Wishing you restful sleep!