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Melatonin Use in Children

Sleeping child

How to get your child to sleep

Getting little Bobby or Susie to go to sleep can be challenging for parents but it seems they are increasingly turning to using melatonin as a sleep aid.

Melatonin, know as the “sleep hormone” is a naturally occurring hormone affecting the circadian rhythm that determines our sleep/wake cycle.  Its counterpart is cortisol, the stress hormone, which wakes us up.

Melatonin is by prescription only in the UK, most of the EU and Australia but in the U.S. is available over the counter and many folks use it regularly.  Unfortunately, that designation allows for a wide variety of dosage strengths and impurities that would not be tolerated in a prescription compound.

The use by children is especially troubling given the above and as the author points out;

“While melatonin can be a useful sleep aid in certain situations, long-term use is generally not recommended. Especially in children, melatonin use may have unknown side effects, and using it as a sleep aid may send the message that pills are the answer to sleep troubles rather than behavioral changes.”

Parents, this is not a substance to be given lightly or regularly, your child’s brain is still developing and no one has studied the long term affects of melatonin, no matter what the TV commercials say.  These are powerful hormonal forces that need to be honored. 

Consult with your pediatrician or a sleep specialist to get strategies for better sleep hygiene. Limit screen time, especially before bed, a cool dark room and a regular bedtime routine.

Neurofeedback can be a useful tool, for children and adults, to help regulate brain activity and promote better sleep patterns.

 

Here’s a link to the article:

Melatonin Use is on the Rise in Children by Savannah Logan

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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional. 

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