With the daylight savings time change happening, many kids (and adults) can have trouble falling asleep, which we all know can ruin our (I mean their) mornings! Although the use of low doses of melatonin seems to be safe and effective, more research is needed to answer some questions. As with any supplement, please only give melatonin to your child under a doctor’s direction.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone secreted in a small organ in the brain. The hormone helps the body maintain its circadian rhythm – the internal clock that helps people with their sleep-wake cycle. Darkness actually helps stimulate the secretion of the hormone, which is why melatonin levels typically rise in the evening.
Does Melatonin Help Kids Fall Asleep?
If you’re wondering if Melatonin can help kids fall asleep, in short, the answer is yes. There is good evidence to support this. An Analysis of 13 studies found that children with a neurological condition fell asleep 29 minutes faster and slept 48 minutes longer on average when taking melotonin.
Similar findings have been observed in healthy kids and teenagers who struggle to fall asleep.
Is Melatonin Safe for Kids
If you’re considering Melatonin for short-term use (for example, a couple of days after the time change) to get them on track, then it is considered safe. Most studies show that short-term use is safe to use with little to no side effects. If you’re considering it long-term (ie, more than 3-4 days in a row) then it’s incredibly important to consult with your physician. The last thing you want to do is interrupt your child’s natural ability to produce Melatonin.
How to try Melatonin on your child?
The standard dosage of Melatonin in kids ranges from 0.5 to 1 milligram per day. However, the optimal dose has not been formally established. It’s important to note that the FDA has not approved Melatonin for any use. This is why it’s incredibly important to pick a brand from a reputable company and know where it is coming from. Be careful of third-party sellers on sites like Amazon. Also, since not all Melatonin is the same, make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. If you’re concerned about giving too much, start with the lowest dose, you can cut a pill in half, see if that alone helps and then decide from there.
How to Increase Melotonin Levels Naturally in Kids
Usually parents have tried everything to get their child to sleep before even considering Melatonin. But in case you haven’t already tried, here are the specific ways to increase natural levels of melatonin before resorting to supplements.
- Start dimming the lights early (earlier than you think) It actually can take a few hours which may mean dimming the lights as soon as you get home from work. Turn off all electronics.
- Expose them to a ton of natural light during the day. As much as you can, get your kids in the sunshine.
- Reduce stress… ever notice how sleepy you can get during or after a massage? Works on kids too! Start a new pampering bath then massage routine for your kids. Focus on their active legs and shoulders and they will love the relaxation.
- Eat right! Eating certain foods that are rich in melatonin can help naturally raise your levels. Goji berries, walnuts, almonds, pineapple, bananas and oranges all contain substantial amounts of melatonin.
- Exercise! It goes without saying that tiring kids out will help them sleep! Plan on some super active days especially when the daylight savings switch happens. If you need some game ideas, try one of our sports starter kits!
- Lavender scent – some people swear that this aromatic scent can get anyone to sleep. The scent is known to induce relaxation. Try getting some bath time products infused with Lavender like the Honest Baby Calming Baby Wash
The Bottom Line
Most experts agree that more research on Melatonin’s long-term safety is needed. You should always try the natural methods to increase melatonin first and if all of that fails, consult your doctor first and ask about trying a tiny dose for a few days.