Melatonin is becoming a popular sleep aid for children. Especially since more than 10% of kids have trouble sleeping.
Many parents believe that melatonin might be helpful for their kids, especially those with ADHD or sleep-wake disturbances due developmental disabilities, etc.
But, according to the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, melatonin isn’t considered a first choice for sleep in most kids.
Here’s what they recommend to healthcare professionals:
- Instead, suggest improving sleep habits by having a consistent bedtime routine and avoiding caffeine and TV before bedtime. You can see my blog on “Strategies for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep” here.
- For kids on stimulants (methylphenidate, etc), suggest giving the stimulant earlier in the day or switching to one with a shorter duration of action.
- Short-term use of melatonin might be appropriate when these other strategies aren’t enough.
- Suggest starting with melatonin 3 mg about 30 to 60 min before bedtime.
- Doses between 0.3 mg and 6 mg are usually needed.
- Explain to parents that side effects are usually mild, such as headache or morning drowsiness. If these are a problem, suggest lowering the dose.
You can read my blog on “Strategies for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep”, for tips to help get a better night’s sleep here.