Can Toddlers use Melatonin safely and without negative side effects?

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is known to be one of the most commonly sold naturopathic treatments for insomnia. Promoted as a form of nutritional supplement, melatonin supplements are produced with the use of pure melatonin which is the same hormone released by the brain in order to regulate the circadian rhythm. Inside the body, it is melatonin which informs our brains when it is nighttime already and thus, giving the time to sleep. Several people which include the elderly and persons suffering from autism-spectrum disorders are likely to have lower melatonin levels. Since this is produced naturally inside the body and not a real sedative, melatonin can be an appealing alternative for stronger drugs.

Both the National Institutes of Health and the pediatrician of my toddler advise against giving melatonin to a good number of healthy toddlers. Melatonin has not been studied as a form of treatment for the usual toddler insomnia even if this is known to be safe and effective in treating insomnia in children with autism, mental retardation and other neurobehavioral disorders. Since my baby was not diagnosed yet with a neurobehavioral condition, I opted not to give her melatonin or any other form of sleep aid. Nonetheless, the parents of the special-needs children can administer melatonin to their toddlers until the guidance of their physician when special circumstances can make it suitable.

Guidelines in Dosing

You need to consult your healthcare provider before you give your toddler melatonin. If the pediatrician of your child agrees to give melatonin to your toddler, the doctor can recommend any of some doses for the treatment of insomnia. According to NIH, 5 milligrams of melatonin each day is capable of treating insomnia in toddlers suffering from developmental disabilities safely and effectively. But other organizations recommend a lower dose not more than 0.3 milligrams for children who are under 15 years old.

Possible Risks

Unsurprisingly, mild sleepiness is the most common side effects associated with melatonin. Other common problems are stomach upset, headaches as well as mood changes. High doses which exceed 5 milligrams will trigger seizures. But even low doses can result to seizures in children with epilepsy. In addition, melatonin can theoretically have an effect in the production of reproductive hormones like testosterone and estrogen in the bodies of the toddlers.

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