Whether you are a first time parent or more seasoned in the game we call kid’s health, knowing what medication is right for your child and when is a big decision. On top of this, knowing that our children get not only the most sleep but the best sleep is crucial. Sleep plays a large part in their development, personality, and just overall mental health and well-being. We’ve all heard of adults using Melatonin to help with those restless nights of sleep, but is Melatonin safe for kids? We dug a little deeper and here’s what we found:
The Sleeping Pill: What is Melatonin?
Believe it or not, our bodies already produce this hormone in our brains. Melatonin is a natural chemical that is produced in our pineal glands. This helps carry out the function of setting our sleep clocks (also known as the circadian rhythm). Our Melatonin levels rise in the evening when we are ready to start thinking about calling it a day and heading to bed. This makes us sleepy therefore triggering the desire to sleep. Levels then fall when it is time to start coming out of the REM cycle and wake up in the morning.
Melatonin also plays other roles in our bodies such as regulating:
- blood pressure
- body temperature
- cortisol levels
- immune functions
In a nutshell, Melatonin is already being created in your little one’s body. The real question is, can they handle an additional dosage?
Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?
Most Dr.’s, scientists and researchers will say that short term use of Melatonin for kids is safe. It is still unclear due to the side effects that come from long term use if it truly is safe. Some children may experience nausea, headaches, bed wetting, excessive sweating, dizziness, morning grogginess, stomach pains and more. The melatonin dosage for kids is also still largely up for debate. Kids just like humans have different processing capabilities in their systems- so for one kid what may just put him in a gentle restful sleep to another it could be much more than that.
Best Forms of Melatonin:
Just like vitamins, melatonin comes in many forms. Which one is best for your child? It really depends on a few factors.
Gummies or Chewables for Kids:
This is probably the most common form of taking Melatonin when talking about young children. Just like the Flinstone gummy vitamins, Melatonin comes in the form of some tasty yet effective chewables.
- Taste: Some taste better than others, but it’s a tried and true method of administering any type of “medicine” to your child is much easier this way.
- Ingestion: Because they are likely to take and eat the whole amount, there will be better ingestion coming from the full amount being taken.
- There is typically a higher sugar content — flavor comes at a cost in this case.
- Medicine doesn’t equal candy and you don’t want your kids mistaking them for candy.
Zarbee’s Natural is a chewable supplement for children age 3 and older. Each tablet contains 1 mg of melatonin. (you can purchase on Amazon here — 50 count for 12.74)
Sometimes it’s much easier to have children (especially the younger kiddos) take medication orally in liquid form. Liquid melatonin for kids has a few pros and cons of their own:
- Easier to take if they can’t swallow capsules yet
- Because it’s in liquid form it absorbs faster because it doesn’t have to break down the particles of a capsule.
- Usually liquid melatonin doesn’t have a super appealing taste– this makes it a little harder to convince them.
- LIquid usually is more expensive than chewable melatonin for kids
This melatonin is alcohol-free and safe for the whole family. It’s also 100 percent cruelty-free. Take 1 ml before bedtime. Hold the liquid under your tongue for 30 seconds, or mix the supplement in 8 to 12 oz of water for the best results. (you can purchase on Amazon here— (2) 2 oz bottles for $26.49)
Capsules and Tablets:
If you have older children who can take a capsule or tablet, there are a few befits to taking melatonin in this form.
- Longer shelf life
- Tasteless (no one likes the tantrum that comes after having to take “nasty medicine”)
- Easy to divide– you can administer less of the recommended dosage
- If your child isn’t old enough, swallowing a tablet may not be an option
- They may need to take with water (sometimes this causes a mess)
NOW melatonin contains 5 mg of melatonin per capsule. Take one capsule at bedtime with water. (you can purchase on Amazon here — 100 count for $8.79)
In a Nutshell, is Melatonin safe for kids? Yes! If taken in the proper dosages. Make sure that you watch for any side effects that are abnormal during the short term of administer Melatonin to your child. And as always, speak with your pediatrician if you have any other questions about Melatonin for kids!