Safe Alternatives to Melatonin for Child With Sleep Disorders
Are you looking for safe alternatives to melatonin for your child? Every parent has spent a night awake because their child wouldn’t go to sleep. Sometimes, kids just have a hard time going asleep. That makes a lot of parents look for ways to help their kids go to sleep. Giving kids sleep help is becoming more and more common.
It might be hard for kids to get that much sleep, so many parents have turned to other ways to help their kids get into good sleep habits. Melatonin supplements are one of the most popular, and there is proof that they may help kids fall asleep faster and get more sleep. Still, many people don’t know the pros and cons of giving melatonin to children.
We’ll talk about whether or not melatonin is safe for kids in this piece. Then, we’ll talk about safe alternatives to melatonin for children that can help them sleep well.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that your body makes. It is a key part of your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal clock that controls when you sleep and wake up.
Melatonin is also found naturally in eggs, fish, milk, rice, and some fruits and veggies.
When taken as a supplement, melatonin has been shown to make it easier for people to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why it’s often used to treat sleep problems like insomnia.
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Why Use Melatonin?
Melatonin has been tried on people who have trouble sleeping. They have also looked into whether melatonin helps people who work night shifts, people in the military, older people, and children. Most studies have only looked at how people use melatonin for short periods of time, ranging from a few days to over three months.
Here is what study has found about melatonin’s possible benefits:
- Fall asleep faster: In one study, people who took melatonin fell asleep 22 to 34 minutes quicker than those who took placebo pills.
- Improve sleep efficiency: How well you sleep is measured by how much time you spend in bed you spend sleeping. Taking melatonin might help you sleep better, according to some studies.
- Help kids fall asleep and stay asleep longer: Melatonin may help kids who have trouble sleeping, which is common in autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Reset your sleep-wake cycle: Your circadian schedule controls when you feel like going to sleep and when you are ready to get up. Some studies have shown that melatonin may help control this cycle.
When to Take Melatonin?
Melatonin helps control your sleep-wake cycle, so you need to take it at the right time of day to get the results you want. From sunset to dawn, your brain makes melatonin on its own. When you take a melatonin pill, it takes your blood levels about 30 minutes to reach their highest point.
People usually take melatonin about an hour before bed. But there are times when it’s helpful to take it when you shouldn’t:
- For trouble falling asleep: Take melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime.
- For night owls: People with delayed sleep phase syndrome might want to take melatonin a few hours before they go to bed. For example, if you usually fall asleep at 2 a.m. but want to go to bed at 11 p.m., try taking melatonin around 9 p.m.
- For early birds: If you have advanced sleep phase syndrome, which means that you go to sleep and wake up very early, you can treat it with a bright light that is timed to keep you awake longer. You might want to ask your doctor if you could also take melatonin and when it would be best to do so.
Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?
Melatonin is a hormone that is made by the body itself. Melatonin is a food supplement, which means that the FDA doesn’t have any rules about it. Melatonin supplements are usually thought to be safe, but not everyone reacts the same way to them. When you take melatonin, you might have some side effects. Melatonin can help you sleep better if you know how much to take and choose the right dosage. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine just put out a health warning that says parents should:
- Before giving melatonin to a child, you should talk to a doctor or nurse.
- If parents want to give their kids melatonin, they should choose a pill with the USP Verified Mark.
- Don’t let children take melatonin pills.
When you talk to your child’s doctor about giving them melatonin, be sure to tell them about any other medicines or supplements they take. In some cases, they may not work well together. For example, medicine for seizures or medicine to thin the blood. It is also important to know that taking melatonin can cause allergic responses.
Read Also: Tips for Staying Awake When Too Sleepy
Safe Alternatives to Melatonin for Child
There are a lot of “natural” goods on the market, but keep in mind that natural doesn’t always mean safer or healthier. Also, the Food and Drug Administration does not approve the safety or effectiveness of vitamins as drugs, including any possible side effects. So, it’s important to talk to your doctor or nurse before adding anything to your routine before bed.
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, the first thing to check is your sleep hygiene. Other than melatonin, there are many natural ways to help you sleep, and many of them don’t require pills you can buy at the store. Here are some good ways to sleep and alternatives to melatonin to get you started.
Gress Smith says that magnesium is a mineral that helps your body do many things, like brain and muscle function. “Magnesium can help make the body feel calm. It helps relax muscles and controls the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a neurotransmitter that turns off alertness.
Some study shows that magnesium may help reduce mild to moderate anxiety (4), which is known to keep you up at night. The recommended daily amount of magnesium is about 310 to 320 mg for women and 400 to 420 mg for men, but you may not be getting enough. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that almost half of all Americans are at risk of not getting enough magnesium.
The best way to get magnesium is through food. Pumpkin seeds and dry-roasted walnuts are two of the best sources of the mineral. There are also many magnesium supplements, such as magnesium glycinate, which is a combination of magnesium and the amino acid glycine.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) is my favourite plant for kids that can be used in many ways. In the past, it has been used to treat everything from colds to teething pain to colic to indigestion to nervousness, anxiety, and irritability. It is a great vegetable for fussy babies and kids who can’t calm down enough to sleep. Chamomile tea is easy to find in many grocery stores and health food shops.
For children older than 12 months, a small bit of honey can be added to the tea to make it taste even better. Chamomile is usually thought to be very safe, but people who are allergic to other plants in the Asteraceae (or daisy) family shouldn’t take it.
Lavender is a sweet plant that is known for its soothing smell and unique purple colour. It has been used for a long time in herbal medicine as a herb that can help you fall asleep. Inhaling the smell of lavender (10) essential oil helped people with mild sleep problems, according to a study from 2017.
Most of the research on lavender’s ability to help people sleep has been done on lavender essential oil. The dried plant, on the other hand, can be used to make tea or put under your pillow or in your pillowcase.
You can also spread the oil into the air, mix it into a neutral body lotion, or put a small amount on your pulse points. Lavender oil has chemicals that are poisonous and shouldn’t be taken by mouth.
Reducing Screen Time
A lot of study has shown that blue light makes it hard to sleep. Blue light can not only make it hard to fall asleep, but it can also make it hard to get into a deep sleep state. Experts say that gadgets should be put away 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed. Right now, if your child is using tools before bed, you should replace that with something else, like reading.
In the same way, don’t leave electronics in your child’s room while they sleep. Kids with ADHD often wake up in the middle of the night, but when they do, they shouldn’t use their phones or computers. Other things, like breathing exercises, are better for getting asleep and going back to sleep if you wake up. Find out about the best apps for getting kids to sleep.
The California Poppy, or Eschscholzia California, is a very gentle plant that calms the nervous system. It helps with anxiety, pain, and not being able to sleep. Even though the California Poppy is linked to other types of poppies, it does NOT have opium or opiates in it and is very safe for kids over the age of 2. California Poppy is in a lot of plant products that help you relax. One of my favourites is Wise Woman Herbals Kalmerite Glycerite, which has California Poppy in it.
Also Read: Sleep Habits of Successful People
There are many perks to breathing exercises. They are known to ease both the physical and mental effects of worry, calm anxiety, and help people sleep better. There are many ways to work on your breathing. Stick to simple breathing routines like the 5-5-5 breathing exercises for kids who are younger. To do the 5-5-5 breathing practice, you should take a full breath in for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, and then slowly let it out for five seconds.
Progressive muscle relaxation is another choice. In progressive muscle relaxing, you slowly tighten and loosen your muscles as you breathe in and out. If your child is a visual learner, you can use a kid’s breathing exercise movie to show them how to use techniques like breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation to get to sleep.
Warm Bath or Shower
When it comes to natural options for melatonin that help your body get ready for sleep, a warm bath or shower an hour or two before bed may have the most science behind it (11). The hot water warms your body, which brings blood to the surface. When you get out of the shower, your core body temperature drops quickly, which helps you fall asleep faster and sleep better. Gress Smith says that being in warm water is also relaxing, which makes it easier to get to sleep.
Herbal Sleep Remedies
Some children may sleep better if they use herbal sleep aids. Chamomile and passionflower are two common choices, but there are many more. Most of the time, these are taken as plant tea.
Don’t forget to tell your child’s doctor about any vitamin he or she takes, even if it’s just a herb or mineral.
Aromatherapy is another one of the most commonly used natural sleep aids. The lavender essential oil can help you relax, and studies have shown that it helps you sleep better. You can use straight lavender oil, but it might be easier for some kids to use creams that are made to help them sleep and have lavender oil in them.
Other essential oils, like chamomile oil, can also make you feel better. But lavender essential oil seems to be the best scent for sleep, based on studies.
Regular Physical Activity
Okay, so it’s not really a “treatment,” but if your child spends a lot of time sitting still during the day, they might not sleep as well at night. Our bodies need to move and exercise on a daily basis to burn off energy and make us tired enough to sleep well at night. A good goal is to give your child at least 30 minutes a day to run around outside without anything planned. It can also help to get them interested in sports, gymnastics, martial arts, or other group exercise programs.
Even though sleep problems are common and usually not too bad if your child has continuous insomnia, it could be a sign of a more serious health problem and you should talk to your family doctor. Children and teens with sleep problems may have worry, depression, ADHD, thyroid disease, sleep apnea, or even asthma.
Maintain a Consistent Bedtime Routine
If your child’s sleep plan is all over the place, it could cause or make sleep problems worse. Experts say that kids and adults should go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day instead of switching it up. This will help them sleep better. In the same way, make sure that your child’s bed is in a quiet place that is cool.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do Kids Need?
The amount of sleep needed depends on age. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), here is a basic outline:
- 4 to 12 months old – 12-16 hours (including naps)
- 1 to 2 years old – 11-14 hours (including naps)
- 3 to 5 years old – 10-13 hours (including naps)
- 6 to 12 years old – 9-12 hours
- 13 to18 years old – 8-10 hours
What Can I Give My Child to Help Them Sleep?
Melatonin is often the first thing parents and other caregivers try when they want their kids to go to sleep. Melatonin, which is often called the “sleep hormone,” is a hormone that is released at night by the pineal gland and makes you feel sleepy.
Melatonin products are available in pills, chewable, and liquids. Even though you don’t need a prescription to buy melatonin sleep aids for kids, you should always talk to your doctor or nurse before giving your child any herbal supplements. Melatonin sleep aids usually take about an hour to start working, so you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure your toddler is ready to sleep at bedtime.
People of all ages sometimes have trouble going to sleep. Being a parent is one of the best things that can happen to a person, but it can also be stressful. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, we have just what you need. Check out our favourite natural sleep aids for adults and learn how to make a bedtime routine that will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration has not looked into these claims. This product is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or avoid any disease.
To Know More: Sleep Habits of Successful People
Potential Side Effects
When kids take melatonin, they often don’t have any side effects. But melatonin could have some of the following side effects:
- Increased bed-wetting or urination at night
Melatonin can cause problems when it is mixed with other medicines that kids take. Before giving this vitamin to your child, you should talk to their doctor, especially if they already take other medicines.
Healthy Sleep Habits for Kids
If you give your child melatonin to help them sleep, you should also teach them how to get a good night’s sleep in other ways. Here are some options for giving your child melatonin that is safe:
- Routine: Make a plan for every night and stick to it.
- Naps during the day: Even bigger kids should only take short naps during the day.
- Sleep in bed: Put them to bed while they are still awake instead of letting them fall asleep in your bed, on the couch, etc. and then bringing them to bed later.
- No caffeine: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says that kids under the age of 12 shouldn’t have any coffee.
- No sugar before bed: Every parent can tell when their child has had too much sugar. When kids eat too much sugar, it’s hard for them to calm down.
- Screen time: 30 minutes before bed, stop using screens.
- Bed is Bed: Keep your child’s bed for sleeping and not for playing.
- Stay active: Keep kids busy during the day so they can burn off some energy while it’s still light out.
Melatonin is a common supplement that parents give to kids and teens who have trouble going to sleep. Melatonin seems safe to use for a short time, but scientists don’t know how it will affect kids in the long run.
The supplement isn’t regulated by the FDA, and it can have some bad effects. Most experts say that you should talk to a paediatrician before trying melatonin to help you sleep. You might see changes if you change how your child sleeps.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not comprehensive and should not be used to make health or well-being decisions. Consult a qualified healthcare professional with questions about a medical condition, treatment options, or health regimen. This website or the content should never replace professional medical advice.