How Safe Is Melatonin For Children

Is there a specific melatonin for children?

Because my 9-year-old seems to be having problems with sleeping. I know she is still up hours after I send her to bed because I can hear her fumbling around. And when I go over to check, she pretends to sleep, and she is very grumpy each morning when I try to wake her up for school. I am wondering if it would be safe to give her melatonin supplements and what the appropriate dose would be. 

Melatonin is a human hormone produced by the pineal gland. It is a powerful antioxidant and plays an important role in Sleep Disorders the regulation of the sleep/wake cycle. Synthetic versions of melatonin are now sold over the counter as diet supplements for the management of sleep disturbances and for several other purposes including cancer treatment. Melatonin is well-tolerated among adult users with very few cases of adverse reactions and with no reports of life threatening side effects so far.

Several studies have been conducted from the early 90s to the present to determine whether melatonin for children would bring about favorable results in the treatment of childhood sleep disorders. Sleep disturbances are relatively prevalent among school-age children. The most common sleep disorders in children are usually associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), visual impairment, and neurologic injury.

Studies showed that administration of melatonin to children suffering from sleep disturbances resulted in earlier sleep onset, fewer nighttime awakenings, increased sleep duration and improved daytime behavior. About 90% of all subjects exhibited positive results and very few cases of adverse reactions were reported.

The side effects commonly observed among the study group include headache, drowsiness, increased heart palpitations, decreased body temperature and depression. The doses employed varied from 0.5 mg to 20 mg depending on the age of the child and the severity of the sleep disorder. But the most common doses ranged from 2 mg to 5 mg and were administered in the evening about an hour before bedtime.

However, these studies were not enough to provide adequate evidence that melatonin for children really does work and safe for long term use. In fact, melatonin has been found to worsen the symptoms of asthma and could even result to seizures. It is also not advisable for children with autoimmune disorders. The studies were conducted on a limited number of subjects with neurodevelopmental illnesses wherein melatonin deficiency could be an issue, so it wouldn’t be surprising that the results were overwhelming.

Currently, there is no specific melatonin for children. Its effective dose has not yet been determined and further randomized studies are yet to be conducted to ensure its efficacy and safety. However, in cases wherein traditional management has failed to improve sleep, this could be a good adjunct therapy especially among children suffering from neurodevelopmental disabilities.

But parents should bear in mind that melatonin is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and saying that, you might want to think twice about giving the next dose to your kid. There is no such thing as “melatonin for children” as of yet. And since we are talking about safety, let me just add that synthetic forms of melatonin could be a little safer than bovine-derived ones, but still that does not make it advisable for use in children.

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How Do I Deal With Insomnia That Is Unresponsive To Medication

I have been suffering from insomnia for decades now and I have tried almost all sleep medications to no avail. Recently, my doctor started me on Rozerem. I have been on it for a month but the best sleep I got so far is 4 hours. I am starting to get more depressed from lack of sleep that I resorted to taking Rozerem with Ambien. I am currently on therapy but it’s the sleep loss that’s bothering me. Are there any other med options out there?You mentioned you’ve been through different sleep medications for your insomnia but apparently, they are not working they way you wanted them to. So, most probably, your response to the next sleep medication would still be the same.

Insomnia is a condition wherein there is a difficulty trying to initiate sleep and/or maintain it. This condition may be caused by poor lifestyle and sleeping habits. This is also called transient insomnia. One way of dealing with it would be avoiding alcoholic drinks, smoking, and caffeine-containing foods and drinks, i.e. chocolates, teas, colas, coffee. Practicing good sleep hygiene may also prove to be helpful.

However, if you have tried the above-mentioned measures without positive results, then the insomnia may be caused by factors other than lifestyle. Insomnia may also be brought about by an underlying medical condition such as ADHD, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, pain issues, etc. Visiting a physician and having yourself checked for such disorders and dealing with it would take care of the sleeplessness. Mental and emotional issues can also trigger insomnia but you mentioned you are on therapy so, we are ruling that out for the meantime.

Being on medications does not always mean relief from symptoms. Sometimes they just mask the symptoms making you think you’re cured and a few more days or weeks of taking them, the symptoms come right back. In your case, they simply won’t work. So, something else must be the problem.

I am sure you are aware that sleeping aids has unpleasant side effects and can be addicting, so my suggestion would be to keep that to a minimum, if not discontinue it altogether. But make sure your sleep apena doctor knows about it, too. Discontinuing sleeping medications should also be done the right way, gradually. And taking two sleeping medications at the same time can be dangerous. Similar medications, when taken together, will increase the effect of the other which can lead to an overdose. Ask your doctor first about it before starting any medication.

It all boils down to one thing, get yourself seen and assessed by a specialist because it is only through proper screening and diagnostic testing, as in sleep studies, that we can determine what is causing your sleeplessness so that an appropriate treatment regimen will be initiated. And do not self-medicate, much more have medicine cocktails. Going to the root of the problem and addressing it from there is often the safest and best way to go.

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