Over the last few years, many more parents have been melatonin for kids to help with sleep. But is it safe? Based on the research, yes—to a point. It’s best when it’s not used regularly but as needed to help kids fall asleep so you can work to reset their sleep clocks, such as after cross-country travel or sickness that gets their sleep cycles out of whack.
What is melatonin?
What many people don’t know is that melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s made in our brain’s pineal gland. Throughout the day your body produces different amounts of melatonin based on your exposure to light. Melatonin also occurs in certain foods and drinks such as grapes, broccoli, rice, beer, and wine, though the levels vary widely.
What does it do?
Whether it’s a natural hormone or a synthetic supplement, melatonin does the same thing: it helps you fall asleep. Here’s how: their internal “clock” and the amount of light they’re exposed to each day both determine how much melatonin their brain makes. The darker it gets, the more it produces (helping them sleep); the lighter it is, the less it produces (helping them wake up and stay alert). When taken as a supplement, Melatonin works with the body to safely promote falling asleep.
What’s the research on melatonin supplementation?
Research shows that melatonin supplementation is safe for short-term use with children helping guide them to sleep. And more good news: It’s shown to be non-habit forming.
How should I use it with my child?
Many children will respond to a low dose (0.5 mg or 1 mg) taken 30 to 90 minutes before bedtime. Mommy’s Bliss Melatonin Sleep Liquid contains 0.5mg of Melatonin (per 2ml, for kids 3-5). As noted above, melatonin shouldn’t be used every day and it isn’t a “silver bullet”. It should always be used in conjunction with healthy sleep habits—no screens an hour before bedtime, a quiet and cool bedroom, and white noise. And like with any remedies, be sure to discuss with your pediatrician the appropriate usage and dosage for your kid. Check out our 7 Tips for Bedtime Bliss for setting up healthy sleep habits.
And like with any supplement, be sure to discuss with your pediatrician the appropriate usage for your kid.