The Ultimate Guide to Melatonin for Kids

17 min read
The Ultimate Guide to Melatonin for Kids

Heard of Melatonin that Helps Kids Who Struggle to Fall Asleep?

Here is the Ultimate Guide to everything you need to know about Melatonin for Kids.

Do you have a child who struggles to fall asleep? Or do you simply want to improve your child’s quality of sleep?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that signals to your body that it’s time for sleep. Kids and teens need more sleep than adults because their natural production of melatonin takes longer to kick in at night.

Here’s how melatonin can help your child get a sound night’s rest.

Table of Contents:

1. What Actually Is Melatonin?
2. What is a Melatonin Supplement?
3. Common Melatonin Supplements and Formulations
4. The Benefits of Melatonin for Kids
5. Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?
6. Is Melatonin Safe for Babies and Infants?
7. Melatonin Dosages
8. Where Can I Buy Melatonin for Kids?
9. When Should Melatonin NOT Be Used for Kids?
10. Side Effects of Taking Melatonin
11. Kids and Sleep
12. What a Lack of Sleep Causes to Children
13. When to See A Doctor About Your Child’s Sleep?
14. Summary

1. What Actually is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that helps regulate sleep. It is produced in response to darkness and low light intensity. The production of melatonin is suppressed with artificial light, leading to difficulties in falling asleep and staying asleep.

In children, these problems can be caused by a disrupted circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock that governs the timing of biological processes such as sleeping and waking. Due to the lack of natural light and the shortened day length, children experience a reduction in the production of melatonin.

This can lead to delayed sleep, difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and frequent awakenings. Kids can also have trouble focusing, irritability, and mood swings.

2. What is a Melatonin Supplement?

As mentioned, melatonin is a hormone produced by the human body that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Thus, a melatonin supplement increases melatonin levels for regulating the body’s circadian rhythms, or the biological process that enables the body to adapt to a 24-hour cycle.

When levels of melatonin improve, it will adjust the body’s internal clock and make you sleepy at night. When its function is disrupted, the body’s natural rhythms tend to become disturbed. This can result in insomnia, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and late synchronization of a child’s biological clocks.

3. Common Melatonin Supplements and Formulations

Melatonin supplements are available in various formulations, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking to buy a melatonin supplement for your child, here’s what you need to know.

Melatonin Tablets

The most common type of melatonin supplement is a tablet, which is easy to take and typically provides a relatively high dosage of melatonin. However, tablets can be difficult to swallow, especially for children.

Melatonin Liquid or Melatonin Syrup Formulation

Another popular option is a liquid melatonin supplement, which can be easily mixed into drinks or food. Liquid melatonin supplements are often flavoured, making them more palatable for kids. However, they may not provide as high of dosage as tablets.

Melatonin Chewables and Melatonin Gummies

Melatonin Gummies and chewable melatonin supplements are also available, which are easy to take and often tasty for kids. However, gummies and chewable may not provide as high of dosage as other formulations.

More Reading:

4. The Benefits of Melatonin for kids

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that helps regulate sleep and biological rhythms. Melatonin levels start to decrease as we age, which can affect our sleep patterns.

In children, melatonin levels are lower than in adults because their bodies are still developing. However, kids benefit from melatonin too.

Hasten Sleep Phase

Children need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day to function well. Younger ones might need longer sleep for improved growth and development. The main function of melatonin is to enhance sleep quality for children. But, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how much is too much for your kid.

Get More Sleep

The benefits of getting more sleep go beyond giving children energy to get through the day. Having an easier time falling asleep, better quality sleep, and a happier mood makes them feel less stressed. A night of better sleep can lead to a more regular sleeping schedule and an overall improved mood and mental health.

Better Sleep Patterns and Sleep Schedules

Kids and teens need a better sleep schedule. When children and teens go to bed beyond their normal hours, they are creating irregular sleep patterns. This means they need to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to reset their biological clocks. If kids get enough quality sleep and their body’s internal clock is synchronized, their learning and memory are enhanced.

Enhances Children’s Immune Systems

Melatonin also has antioxidant properties and can help with the functioning of the immune system. Melatonin plays a role in regulating many biological processes, including sleepiness, stress, mood, and memory.

Reduce Heart Problems

Studies have shown melatonin may reduce the risk of heart disease. The research shows that melatonin may lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of stroke, and may even improve the heart function of children with heart issues.

Relieve Symptoms of Children with ADHD

The benefits of this medication in children can include sleep, mood, behaviour, and behaviour problems. Kids with ADHD are more likely to have problems sleeping. A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University found that about 50 percent of children with ADHD have sleep problems. Thus, children with ADHD may take melatonin to help them sleep.

Boosts Cognitive Skills

Melatonin can help improve learning, improve memory and even provide better muscle control. Sleep can affect their mental health, performance in school, sleepiness during the day, and even physical health.

Eases Anxiety, Depression, and Irritability

Melatonin can help in decreasing anxiety and irritation which are the symptoms of children when they are with too many sleepless nights.

5. Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?

A couple of research show that taking melatonin for a short period is safe for children with few to no side effects. Some youngsters, however, may develop headaches, dizziness, incontinence, grogginess, and other symptoms. These symptoms are often light and passing.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia recognized certain melatonin supplements for children and teens, but with a prescription from doctors.

Off-label and over-the-counter melatonin drugs for children are not officially recommended.

For instance, Slenyto is recommended by doctors with a prescription, for treating sleep disturbances in children ages 2 to 18 years old. This is especially true for kids suffering from autism and Smith-Magenis syndrome who suffer sleeplessness.

The TGA highlighted the threat of widespread abuse of melatonin for the improvement of underlying sleep conditions in children. The concern is due to the potential problem of drug interactions, and the dependence on long-term melatonin use for youngsters with behaviour problems.

6. Is Melatonin Safe for Babies and Infants?

Though melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone, melatonin supplements are not recommended for babies.

Additionally, melatonin can interact with other medications, and it can have side effects such as headache, nausea, and dizziness. If you are considering giving your child a melatonin supplement, it is best to speak with a doctor or your child’s paediatrician first.

7. Melatonin Dosages

For kids, melatonin is usually prescribed at a dosage of 0.5 milligrams to 1 milligram as the dosage must be appropriate to the age, weight and hormonal status of the child. However, this usually depends on your doctor’s orders.

For teens and children, melatonin is usually taken 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Children usually start taking melatonin between ages 6 and 10, while teenagers often start taking it between 13 and 16 years of age. If your child has a sleep disorder, melatonin may be helpful to improve their sleep.

Generally, Melatonin is only taken once only per day. When considering how much melatonin to give your child, it’s important to consult with a Pediatrician. They will be able to offer guidance based on your child’s individual needs.

Overall, melatonin should be used sparingly in children, and only for short-term use. Children should only take melatonin for a few days at a time and should take it every night, 30 minutes before bed. The exact amount of melatonin that your child should take will vary depending on their age and weight.

8. Where Can I Buy Melatonin Suitable for Kids?

Melatonin supplements are available for purchase at many chemists and online retailers. They come in a variety of formulations, including chewable tablets, gummies, and liquids. Melatonin supplements can be a helpful way to ensure that kids get the rest they need.

Melatonin supplements can be a great way to help kids get a good night’s sleep. While melatonin supplements are safe for most children, it is important to talk to a doctor before giving them to kids.

Brands of Melatonin that are suitable for ages 4+ include:

9. When Should Melatonin NOT be Used with Kids?

When used in the right context, melatonin can have a positive impact on your child’s nighttime routine. For example, your child struggles to fall asleep and suffers from a disrupted circadian rhythm.

But, before you rush out to purchase melatonin supplements for your child, there are a few things you should understand about melatonin and its use with kids.

Don’t take melatonin if:

  • The cause of stress and anxiety is situational, seasonal, and short-term.
  • Diagnosed illness and infection have medication contrary to melatonin.
  • Your child is younger than three years old.

You must call your doctor’s office at least 24 hours before taking melatonin for your child. All forms of melatonin administered to children MUST HAVE A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION. Children and teenagers should receive medical supervision, as this can lead to some side effects. Remember, melatonin is to be taken no later than the night before bed. Take the recommended dose of melatonin.

10. Side Effects of Melatonin for Kids

While this drug has been around for over two decades, its effectiveness and dose vary widely. Kids are more likely to see side effects than adults and almost 40 percent report serious side effects.

For kids who go to sleep for an hour, the recommended dosage of melatonin is a daily dose of 0.5 mg for children between the ages of 3-and 6, and 1 mg for teens and kids between the ages of 6-and 18.

When children are younger than 1-2 years old, melatonin is not recommended. Also, it’s best not to give melatonin to kids with any possible allergies or asthma problems. Consult your doctor if melatonin is not working for your child.

Some known side effects of melatonin for kids are:

  • Drowsiness and grogginess
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased urination or bedwetting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Melatonin appears to have few negative effects in kids, most of which are minor and resolve once the medication continues and even drops.

11. Kids and Sleep

Ensuring that your kids get enough sleep is important for their health and well-being. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children between the ages of 6 and 12 need 9 to 12 hours of sleep every night, and teenagers need 8 to 10 hours.

Unfortunately, many kids do not get enough sleep, which can lead to problems such as difficulty concentrating, moodiness, and impaired immune function. One way to help improve your child’s sleeping habits is to give them melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep, and it’s available in both pill and liquid form. While it’s generally safe for kids to take, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before giving it to your child. Melatonin supplements can have several benefits for kids, including improved sleep quality, less daytime tiredness, and better behaviour.

Some kids may experience side effects like headaches or stomachaches after taking melatonin, so it’s important to start with a low dose and see how your child reacts.

Why do Kids Have Problems with Sleep?

Sleep problems are among the most frequent complaints parents have with their children, and they can be very serious and interfere with a child’s cognitive and social development.

Here are common reasons parents found out about their child’s problem with getting a proper shut-eye.

Stress and Depression

Have you noticed your child’s behaviour change during stress? It may be due to school or family problems at home. A stressful environment doesn’t seem to help sleep. What’s more, it can leave your child with feelings of tiredness and low mood.

Feeling anxious about a certain situation

Anxiety causes the brain to create worries, doubts, and feelings of fear or anxiousness. That tossing and turning? It can have your child wide awake at night overthinking things that might go wrong. When anxiety gets in your child’s way and keeps them up at night, it becomes a vicious circle: Kids get cranky if they have a poor night’s sleep. And their crankiness makes them less able to sleep.

Colds and Infections

Colds and infections can easily make your child’s sleep miserable as it affects the flu virus to spread in the body. As the virus becomes active, it’ll create mucus in the nose, headaches, and a sore body. These side effects make them uncomfortable, which is why children are restless, cry, and don’t sleep.

Children who have Chronic or Diagnosed Illnesses

Your child’s chronic illnesses such as restless leg syndrome, cancer, or heart disease are likely to cause problems sleeping for the child. Even diagnosed illnesses have effects that can be wide-reaching. One common condition is asthma, which has a variety of symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath, which can disrupt your child’s sleep.

Multiple medications

One medicine may affect your ability to get your child to sleep. When a child is put on multiple medications, they are getting multiple medicines in addition to a bedtime routine. These medications can disrupt the usual flow of sleep and increase the effects of a sleep disorder.

12. What a Lack of Sleep Means for Children

A lack of sleep increases the risk of several adverse health effects including diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and poor growth. Poor sleep is linked to increased irritability, aggression, chronic fatigue, and even a range of mental disorders.

Lack of sleep can harm children’s physical and mental health

Studies have shown that children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep can also take a toll on kids’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to illness. In addition, poor sleep can interfere with growth and development.

It can affect their mood, concentration, and ability to learn

Studies have shown that children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from problems like poor grades, hyperactivity, and behavioral issues. So if your child seems cranky or struggling in school, be sure to ask about their sleep habits.

It hinders healthy brain development

It’s no secret that poor sleep can lead to crankiness and a bad mood. But did you know that Lack of sleep can also hinder healthy brain development? This is especially true for kids and children, who need plenty of rest to grow and develop properly. When they don’t get enough sleep, it can impact their brain development.

Children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to become obese or develop diabetes

Poor sleep has been linked to several health problems in kids and children, including obesity and diabetes. While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, it is thought that poor sleep disrupts hormones that regulate appetite, leading to increased food intake. Poor sleep also causes the body to release more insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Sleep deprivation can also cause health problems in the long run

Lack of sleep can have a variety of negative effects on your health. In the short term, it can lead to poor concentration, increased irritability, and fatigue. However, sleep deprivation can also cause health problems in the long run.

Studies have linked poor sleep to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes even in children. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can hurt children’s growth and development. Poor sleep has been linked to behavioral problems, poor school performance, and a higher risk of accidents

The Ultimate Guide to Melatonin

Other Sleep Tips for Parents

Children can also improve their sleep by making sleep a priority. Parents can help them develop healthy sleep habits. To ensure your child gets enough sleep, follow these tips.

1. Prepare them for bedtime.

Make sure they have dinner, get a bath, brush their teeth, read a story and get into bed. Let them know it’s time for bed.

2. Set a regular bedtime schedule.

The first step is to create a bedtime routine. If a child can go to bed and get up on time, their body will learn that it’s time to go to sleep. Having the same bedtime and waking time each day can create a healthy pattern for them.

3. Keep electronics out of their rooms.

They shouldn’t watch any shows or videos before bedtime. Also, they should put down their phones and tablets. It’s okay to watch TV after they go to bed if they want to. Just make sure it doesn’t take up more than an hour. If they are watching, they should also use headphones or an earplug to limit the sounds coming from their room.

4. Set limits for screen time.

Make sure they don’t spend too much time on their phones, tablets, or computers. Limit their screen time to 30 minutes a day and adjust it each day depending on how much their schedules are going to change.

5. Exercise regularly.

Exercise helps the body adapt to better sleep. It can also improve overall mood. Exercise can also help reduce anxiety.

Creating a bedtime routine, avoiding caffeinated beverages in the evening, and keeping electronics out of the bedroom can all help kids get the good night’s sleep they need to thrive.

13. When to See a Doctor for Your child’s Sleep?

Most kids don’t need to see a doctor for their sleep issues. Poor sleep can be caused by many things, including an irregular sleep schedule, noise in the bedroom, too much caffeine during the day, and stress. If your child is struggling to sleep, there are a few things you can try at home, such as establishing a bedtime routine and making sure their bedroom is quiet and dark.

 You can also talk to their teacher or school counselor about possible stressors at school. However, if your child is still not sleeping well after trying these things, it may be time to see a doctor. A doctor can rule out any medical causes of poor sleep and help you develop a plan to help your child get the rest they need.

14. Summary

Most kids these days lead pretty hectic lives. Between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and spending time with friends and family, it’s no wonder that many kids struggle to get a good night’s sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of problems, including difficulty concentrating, moodiness, and even behavioural issues. That’s why more and more parents are turning to melatonin supplements to help their kids get the rest they need.

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle, and taking a supplement can help to promote restful sleep. In addition to helping kids feel rested and focused during the day, adequate sleep is also important for overall health and well-being.

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

Ask a Question

Close sidebar