The questions many individuals have are whether melatonin is safe for kids and which form is best.
Anyone considering a melatonin supplement or any supplement for a child should always speak with their primary care physician or pediatrician. Different age groups require different dosages and even supplements can have side effects, especially with co morbidities present, or when in combination with other drugs or supplements. Melatonin is a serotonin derivative and is used for relaxation and as a sleep aid. It is said to regulate the Circadian Rhythm, the light and dark cycle of the brain, or the sleep/wake pattern. If this pattern is interrupted, sleep disorders can occur. Sleep disorders have many causes, stress, staying up too late, too much technology usage, social media and cell phones, and daily routine changes. Children who develop sleep disorders usually do so from school stress, being in sports, adrenaline and being raised before bedtime, and the most common of all, the over use of cell phones. With all the games online now, and available as apps, children and teens are showing an overuse of such games, especially at night before bed.
The best thing any parent can do is limit the amount of time spent on gaming and technology.
Rousing television programs before bedtime should also be avoided. Insufficient sleep for children can cause poor school performance and even changes in temperament. Children with chronic problems such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) tend to sleep poorly chronically. A night or two of poor sleep will not make much difference in health, but chronic lack of sleep will have a build-up effect. According to Web MD, sleep is as essential as eating, drinking, exercising, and other healthy habits. Social behaviors that are non-constructive can also develop in children who do not get proper sleep. The amount of sleep varies by age, and some younger children can require naps. Children generally sleep longer than adults, and every parent who has a teenager is aware of this. A parent should immediately address any sign that a child or teen is not sleeping properly before long-term consequences occur. Melatonin comes in many forms, but children and teens generally prefer the gummies. They are tasty and easy to take.
Kids can benefit from melatonin gummies, but the best type and dosage should be used.
As stated before, a family physician or pediatrician should be consulted before using any supplements, including melatonin. While generally safe, melatonin can have side effects.
It is safer to purchase the lowest amount possible in the gummies, which is one milligram. If more is needed, two or more gummies can be given. The brand chosen should be for children, free of artificial preservatives, non-GMO, and as pure as possible. Read the bottle carefully as every brand mentions when not to be using melatonin. Again, co morbidities can rule out melatonin usage, or a family doctor or pediatrician may want to monitor the usage for several reasons.
As a parent, make sure that a child or teen cannot reach even supplements as the gummies are tasty, and a kid can eat them just for the flavor. Underlying health issues also cause some sleep problems, and a doctor’s check-up is in order once a child or teen develops sleep disorders. Doctors will not generally recommend sleeping pills for children or teens but will advise on the best melatonin gummies for children and the dosages.
Of Fort Worth, TX, Carol Y noted that her 10-year-old son, Sean, was not sleeping well, as she could hear him get up at night several times each night.
She took him into her doctor for a check-up and was told to limit his chatting online with his friends each night before bedtime. Her doctor also suggested melatonin gummies supplement a half hour before bed each night, and she had this to say, “Sean immediately slept through the night once I took away his cell phone an hour before bedtime and gave him 1 MG of a melatonin supplement that my doctor suggested. He loved the gummies and slept right through the night the very first night. The combination worked well and continues to work! My doctor advised to only use the gummies when needed and to watch for side effects which were explained.”
So, what exactly are the side effects of melatonin gummies in kids?
Any supplement or drug can have side effects and although rare, melatonin side effects in kids do occur. These can include but are not limited to, bedwetting, morning drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. In rare cases, seizures can occur, so all parents need to be alert when giving any supplements even melatonin gummies. Morning drowsiness is the most common side effect of melatonin gummies in kids, and this can be avoided by ensuring that a full eight hours of sleep are possible before giving the supplement. The bedwetting can occur in younger children if they fall asleep too hard from the supplement. If an early day or late night prevents the eight hours of sleep, it is best to skip the supplement at that time to prevent daytime drowsiness. If any side effects are noticed, it is wise to stop the melatonin gummies supplements until further consultation with a doctor can occur. It is unclear why seizures occur occasionally. Melatonin does impact brain chemicals, however, so doctors are cautious with its use in children. Most labels on bottles of melatonin gummies for kids stress that it should be used with caution and many doctors also advise only limited usage to avoid possible side effects. Autism disorders are not generally compatible with melatonin gummies, and prolonged usage is generally never advised by medical professionals or sleep disorder specialists in adults or children.
The question does pose itself if kids can overdose on melatonin gummies.
While rare, this does occur. It is not a prescription sedative, but parents and kids alike may not take melatonin gummies seriously and inadvertently find that a kid has overdosed on the supplement because it is a natural supplement. Kids, especially older kids, and teens, if not sleeping well, might get up at night and although already given one melatonin gummies supplement might indeed chew a few to try and get some rest. This is how most overdoses occur. Or parents may administer more than the recommended dosage, feeling that nothing ill can happen when doing this. This is an incorrect assumption. Or in another scenario, one parent may give a supplement, and then another parent also follows suit and gives yet another. The most common symptoms of overdose are over drowsiness, headache and upset stomach. If a kid is felt to have overdosed and symptoms seem to get intense or increase within one day, a poison control center should be called, or a visit to an emergency room taken. However, most overdose symptoms are mild, and generally, the body removes the overdose of melatonin on its own.
Jack W., of Pittsburgh, PA, inadvertently gave his son, Josh, 14 years old, a 2MG melatonin supplement right after his wife Jane also gave the supplement, so their son, Josh, did experience a mild overdose. Jack explained, “Josh seemed drowsy the next day, and it was only then that my wife and I realized that we both had given the supplement without knowing this. We kept Josh home from school that day, and by nightfall, he was fine, although we did not give any more that evening. My wife and I now make sure that we communicate better, and that we both ensure that we mark down the date and time we gave the supplement, so this does not happen again.”
To sum it up, melatonin gummies for kids can be safe and effective, but caution is needed.
Parents do need to do research, and it is recommended to consult with a family physician or with a child’s pediatrician before giving any supplements. Sleep disorders can occur because of underlying medical issues, and while it seems like a supplement to induce sleep is the easiest way to help a child, it might not be the right course initially. An adequate physical examination is if any child is having trouble sleeping as children are more naturally worry-free than adults. If no underlying conditions are found, a physician will recommend the melatonin gummies and advice dosage, type of melatonin, and timeframes for usage. All parents need to use due diligence when addressing their child’s health.
Caution is needed in any child’s care for any health problem, even if it is only an inability to sleep.