I am always getting questions from parents about the use of Melatonin for aiding in sleep with kids. It has become very common to hear that parents have tried Melatonin (it is over-the-counter after all…). I have become a little concerned with just how frequently I am seeing Melatonin being used on a long-term basis with children.
In researching the evidence to put this blog-post together, I found an excellent post by Dr. Craig Canapari, who is the director of the Yale Pediatric Sleep Center and considered one of the foremost experts on sleep.
You can find his discussion of Melatonin here: http://drcraigcanapari.com/should-my-child-take-melatonin-a-guide-for-parents/
There are a few things that I would like to point out from his discussion.
“parents need to know that melatonin is a hormone with effects throughout the body and we do not yet know what the long-term effects of melatonin use will be. Many parents in the US would be surprised to know that melatonin is only available with a prescription in the European Union or Australia.
This is important, while Melatonin is thought to be very safe for short-term use, we really do not know if there are any long-term side effects in kids.
“Melatonin preparations have been shown have to variable concentrations from preparation to preparation.”
Melatonin is not FDA regulated because it is considered a “supplement” and not a drug. So make sure you are only purchasing from a well-established and reliable brand.
If you are using melatonin for your children, or are thinking about trying it, please read Dr. Canapari’s whole post for more excellent information.