Melatonin with Kid Gloves

We often think only adults have the bane of worry and restless nights. But more and more doctors are prescribing sleep aids for young children for various reasons. One of the biggest reasons for sleep disruption in kids is the effect of autism, pervasive developmental disorders and/or Asperger syndrome.

Since melatonin is considered one of the least risky and may provide the highest benefit for children with temporary sleep issues, melatonin is believed to be a relatively safe alternative to some of the harsher sleep aids on the market today. Melatonin is natural and when paired with behavioral interventions and sleep habits, can be highly effective and non-addictive.

That said there are some ongoing concerns because studies in animals have shown melatonin affecting puberty-related hormones. Although it’s not been proven true in humans as well, it has given some pause.

So many parents may be hesitant to give their children melatonin but there’s evidence that low doses of melatonin appears to be both safe and effective. It’s also important to note, melatonin has only been shown to help kids fall asleep but not necessarily stay asleep. If your child is experiencing sleep problems, you may want to investigate some other behavioral interventions before reaching for the melatonin.

Doses for melatonin have spanned from 2 to 5 mg in children 6 months to 14 years old. If you’re considering a sleep aid for your child, check with your health care provider for guidance on dosage for your child, as melatonin concentrations can vary.

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