Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain which helps to regulate your natural sleep rhythm.
Not to be confused with melanin (which refers to natural pigments in your skin), melatonin is a powerful sleep aid with powerful health benefits.
Because melatonin is widely used as a natural sleep aid, products like melatonin gummies for kids are rising in popularity, but exactly how safe and effective are they?
Melatonin is normally produced by your brain to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and manage your natural sleep cycle, leading some people to call it ‘the sleep hormone’. However, modern distractions have disrupted many people’s natural rhythms, leading them to seek out external sources of melatonin for a good night’s sleep.
While you can boost your natural melatonin production with a healthy sleep routine (avoid unnatural light in the evening, keep to a routine, etc.) this is difficult for many people. Since you’re here seeking out the lowdown on melatonin gummies for kids, we’re guessing that you’ve already tried warm milk and cutting back screen time with your kids, so let’s dive into the wonderful world of melatonin…
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Melatonin is a neurohormone (a hormone that affects your nervous system) produced by the pineal gland in your brain, mostly at night. Melatonin regulates your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle, helping you to fall asleep quickly and improving the duration and quality of sleep.
In addition to acting as a sleep aid, melatonin has powerful antioxidant effects and helps to regulate blood pressure, immune function and body temperature. With all these amazing effects, we can’t blame you for wanting to stock up on melatonin gummies for kids and yourself but keep reading to learn more about this wonderful hormone.
Just like any other gummy-based supplement, melatonin gummies contain melatonin extract combined with gelatine and flavourings to make them easier and more enjoyable to take. Many of these supplements use synthetic melatonin, as it has the same benefits as animal-derived melatonin, but with much lower risks of contamination and no dietary or religious restrictions to worry about.
Because gummies are kid-friendly and have all the same benefits as pill or liquid-based supplements, it’s easy to see the appeal of melatonin gummies for kids. However, while melatonin is widely considered safe for human consumption, there are limited studies of its effects on children, so it’s uncertain whether there might be long-term side effects from melatonin use in children…
Numerous studies have shown that melatonin is safe for short- and long-term use with only minor side effects, though there is limited data on the long-term effects of melatonin use in children. However, many people argue that since melatonin occurs naturally and is considered safe for adults it should be fine to give smaller doses to children and teenagers, at least in the short-term.
Because sleep deprivation may affect as much as 75% of school-aged children and has been linked to decreased mental focus and health issues like obesity, many parents give their children melatonin. Although the known risks of melatonin supplements such as melatonin gummies for kids are low, there are some side effects you should be aware of:
Although there have been many studies on melatonin, none have revealed any dependence, withdrawal symptoms or serious side effects in the short- or long-term. Admittedly, there haven’t been any conclusive studies in children, but so far only mild side effects – such as dizziness, headaches and nausea – have been reported and even those were comparable to the placebo in those studies.
Melatonin supplements are widely considered safe in the short-term (even when taken in high doses), though more research is needed on the usage of melatonin gummies for kids. Still, some medical professionals have raised concerns over the mild side effects and drug interactions which may be caused by melatonin, such as:
Parents may sometimes give melatonin supplements to children that have trouble falling asleep, but the FDA has neither approved the use of melatonin nor evaluated its safety in children. Like other supplements, officials are unwilling to recommend melatonin gummies for kids until there has been significant research into their long-term effects, though there seems to be little cause for concern…
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, more research is needed to determine whether melatonin use in children is safe, though there is little evidence to say otherwise. Notably, some studies that tracked unapproved melatonin use in Norwegian children did not find a significant amount of side effects linked to melatonin use, which may indicate its suitability for use in children.
Supplements come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important factor is always the active ingredient contents and strength. A supplement with a very low concentration of melatonin is obviously going to have less powerful effects than one that is packed full of it, so pay close attention to the ingredients list of any supplement.
So long as you’re getting a suitable dose of melatonin and are taking it at a reasonable time (i.e., shortly before you want to sleep), there’s little difference between melatonin gummies for kids and melatonin pills for adults. Regardless of how you prefer to take your supplements, melatonin has very few documented side effects and a wide range of benefits to recommend it…
Although melatonin’s effects on adults are well-documented, many parents wonder if melatonin supplements will help their children fall asleep. Fortunately, there is strong evidence that melatonin is effective for this use, especially among children with neurological conditions that affect their sleep, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism.
A variety of studies have found that melatonin supplements help children to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer across groups with insomnia and those with autism, although sleep problems may be caused by a variety of factors other than melatonin issues. If good practices like consistent bedtimes and limited screen-time don’t help with getting sleep, melatonin gummies for kids may help your family get the rest it needs.
There isn’t a widely accepted maximum dose of melatonin, though the average dose used in adult studies ranges between 1-10mg per day, so that seems to be a reasonable margin. It’s believed that doses in the 30mg range may be harmful, so we advise starting with a small dose before slowly working your way up if you see positive results.
While there is no currently recommended dosage of melatonin gummies for kids, we recommend doses that are in the lower range of the 1-10mg per day used in the adult studies. If you notice any of the known side effects of melatonin – dizziness, nausea, and headaches – make sure to decrease your children’s melatonin dosage.
Everyone absorbs medicine at different rates, so it’s hard to predict exactly how long melatonin supplements take to ‘kick in’. Melatonin typically starts working after 30 minutes, reaching peak blood level in around an hour, so try taking a melatonin supplement one hour before your normal bedtime to get the best results.
In addition, you should avoid taking melatonin at or after your ideal bedtime, as this may shift your body clock the wrong way and cause daytime drowsiness. With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to better bedtimes with melatonin gummies for kids – just don’t give them out too late.
Now that we’ve gone deep into the background of melatonin, you may be feeling a little sleepy but stay with us – here is where we recommend our favourite sleepy supplements.
Although melatonin may well be one of the safest supplements out there – with very few documented side effects even in high concentrations – you should always dose with caution. Because it’s not entirely clear how melatonin affects children in the long term, you should seek medical advice before starting on a course of melatonin gummies for kids.
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