Should you use melatonin supplements to help your child sleep?

Should you use melatonin supplements to help your child sleep?

All Ages

Jan 18, 2022

Have you ever slipped your child a melatonin gummy to try to get them to sleep sooner? Or maybe melatonin is a part of your regular nightly routine? Perhaps, your pediatrician has recommended them for your child’s sleep troubles. In this video, I am going to discuss what melatonin is and what the research says about the safety and necessity of melatonin.

Is melatonin right for your child?

If you find yourself relying on melatonin for your child to sleep, we have a lot of education and strategies for you to use tonight that can help your little one sleep better without relying and depending on a band-aid solution.

Did you know that melatonin for children is not regulated and not approved by the FDA? This is a big deal! While melatonin can help adults, it’s not actually recommended for children. Yet many pediatricians are out there telling parents to take melatonin for sleep training troubles.

Now, before I get into everything, I do want to acknowledge if your child has ADD or autism, there are some limited studies that suggest this actually may help those children. Many children with autism, ADD, and ADHD actually have sleep disorders as well*.  So please know and understand that if you are watching this video with a child who does have ADD, ADHD or autism, please talk with your pediatrician.

We are not providing medical information here. This is not a prescription for your child. This is simply showing you what is available out there. So if your child has been using melatonin supplements and they fall into the category of ADD, ADHD or autism, continue to speak with your pediatrician about that.

But if not, we’re are going to get into all the things you need to know about melatonin, melatonin supplements, and how to naturally help your child.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that we all have. It’s often called the sleepy hormone. It is produced inside of your body when the sun begins to set. I love the explanation of how melatonin is produced by Dr. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep. He claims that melatonin production is essential for us to fall asleep, but the problem lies with the introduction of the light bulb and screens disrupting our sleep patterns. When we get to the end of the day, as the sun sets lower in the sky, our body begins to produce melatonin, which makes us sleepy and tired.  In addition to helping you fall asleep, melatonin helps you stay asleep until it is time to wake in the morning. Unless your child has a sleep disorder, your child is producing enough on their own.

Your child is likely not sleeping due to a lack of melatonin, but due to bad sleep habits. Melatonin only acts as a band-aid to deeper sleep issues.

One of the biggest problems with melatonin supplements is there isn’t a safe dose in each serving tested. As a result, the FDA hasn’t approved or regulated this industry.*

So this is my pitch to you. Just stop melatonin, stop it tonight.

How to quit using melatonin

Let’s talk about how we can move forward to help your child fall asleep better without melatonin.

Step one?  Ditch the supplement right now! Additionally, if they are watching screens like using an iPad or watching tv before bed, just quit. Those devices are emitting blue light that blocks the release of natural melatonin. After you quit melatonin, I’d recommend limiting screentime within 2 hours of bedtime.

Step two, the second thing that you can do instead of screentime is go outside! As the sun begins to set, your child’s body will produce melatonin.

Lastly, eating foods naturally high in melatonin may help. Cherries are a trace source of melatonin. This last tip may not work, but it’s certainly not going to harm your child. Give your child some cherry juice instead of their evening of melatonin gummies to replace the regular routine of taking something before bedtime.

What if my child no longer sleeps after these lifestyle changes?

So here’s the thing. Your child can sleep. Whether you need to change some of their routines or remove their dependency on melatonin, here at Little Z’s, we have a lot of free content on the blog and YouTube. But sometimes, families need an actual step-by-step program and we can offer that. If you are ready to take that next step, we have sleep classes for children ages zero to five years old.

While melatonin supplements are a band-aid solution, the training habits that we teach can last a lifetime. You can finally get confidence with sleep without relying on gummies or different sleep props.

–>Check out our Little Z sleep programs

I hope that this video has given you some practical ways to ditch the melatonin, deliver to you the education on what’s happening inside your child’s body, and give you some strategies to try today.

Sweet dreams. See you next time.

Becca

SOURCES MENTIONED:

Melatonin Labels Questioned: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5263069/

Autism/ADD/ADHD & Melatonin: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226342/

Autism & Melatonin: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24050742/

Melatonin- What You Need To Know: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know

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