You’re woken up in the middle night by the screaming cry of your child. Again.
It’s a situation almost any new parent has found themselves in. Early on in a child’s life, minor sleep issues and disruptions are a normal part of the nightly routine.
Some children, though, can experience sleep problems that are much more severe. These issues can cause unnatural sleep disruptions and leave the child feeling tired. It can even cause them to suffer from physical, mental and emotional side effects.
Melatonin is a popular sleep aid for adults, and many seem to advocate for its use with children. With a little melatonin supplement, your child may be able to sleep fully through the night and feel all the healthier for it– and you could say the same for yourself.
But is melatonin for babies safe? And how is it administered? Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know before administering melatonin to children.
What Is Melatonin?
Before administering anything to your children, you should make sure you’re aware of exactly what you’re putting into their body. The case with melatonin is no different.
The human brain organically produces melatonin each day. Melatonin is a hormone that handles many biological functions. These include the regulation of circadian rhythm and the release of estrogen.
When stress disrupts melatonin levels, the circadian rhythm of the body is broken, and it is difficult for one to feel sleepy or know when it’s time to rest.
Melatonin supplements are designed to help correct abnormalities or issues related to this hormone. These supplements can provide the body with a higher level of melatonin, which can help regulate the circadian rhythm for improved sleep quality.
What Is The Proper Dosage For A Baby?
While melatonin is considered to have a low risk of side effects in adults, children and infants should only be prescribed it under the direction of a physician. Dosages must be precise and carefully administered.
Melatonin supplement is available in liquid and pill form, and it is highly advisable that liquid melatonin is used when administering to children. The pill form of the supplement can be a choking hazard for young children.
The below recommendations for dosage are general recommendations. You should always consult a medical doctor who has a knowledge of the child’s medical history before administering melatonin supplements. Dosages are not a one size fits all scenario, and a doctor should be able to suggest the correct dosage for your child’s specific case.
A melatonin dosage of 0.3 mg/kg is considered safe to administer to babies and small children in order to reduce anxiety and stress. Human beings usually produce less than 0.3 mg of melatonin in the penal gland each day. In many cases, physicians keep melatonin dosages at or around this amount to lower the risk of side effects or adverse reactions.
Again, you should check with your doctor to make sure this dosage is applicable to your situation.
How To Administer Melatonin For Babies
There are a number of ways melatonin can be properly administered to a child. If you are working closely with a medical doctor, they will likely have their own preferred method of administration. Administering thirty minutes before bedtime is recommended.
There are over-the-counter melatonin products that are produced and designed for children. OZzzz, Tired Teddies and Mel-O-Chew are three popular brands that produce melatonin supplements designed for children.
These supplements have low dosages of melatonin, usually between .03mg and .05mg. They are designed to look and taste better than traditional supplements, to help kids stomach them.
You should not, under any circumstance, attempt to cut or dilute melatonin supplements intended for adults to repurpose them for use on a child.
What Are The Possible Side Effects?
The jury is still out on melatonin and children. Many experts encourage melatonin use, but others warn that the research that currently exists could use more information.
Melatonin has been proven to improve sleep quality in babies and children, but the long-term effects of melatonin use are unknown due to said limited research.
Common side effects from melatonin supplements are fairly mild. Morning drowsiness, bedwetting, dizziness, and diarrhea have been reported in the past. There is a chance that melatonin supplements may lead to sleepiness that can last throughout the day for a child.
It is important to know that melatonin has NOT been tested as a pharmaceutical as the FDA regulates it as a food supplement, nor have all labels on supplement products been found to be accurate about the precise amount of melatonin included.
Other Sleep Remedy Ideas
If you’re trying to get your child to go to sleep and don’t want to use melatonin or other sleep aids, there are natural solutions you can attempt to employ.
There are natural conditions that help to produce melatonin in the human body. Lowering the temperature in your home by about eighteen degrees can help. So can making sure the sleeping environment of your child is as dark as possible.
Light, especially from television or other kinds of electronic screens, can make it hard for your child to get a natural and healthy sleep. TV and computer screens decrease melatonin and increase cortisol, meaning you should keep your infant (and maybe even yourself!) away from them for up to an hour before heading to sleep.
Having a set bedtime routine for your child can help them mentally anticipate and prepare for bed. With a routine, they will relax more quickly and be ready for sleep. The above solutions won’t necessarily work in the case of serious sleep disorder but can help general issues of sleep disruption.
Can You Give A Baby Melatonin?
Many worried parents consider the benefits of melatonin for their child. The fact is, melatonin for babies is a viable option for children suffering from sleep disorders. It just needs to be administered carefully and with the approval of a doctor.
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