Melatonin may help children with sleep problems

Similar to adults, children too suffer from sleep problems such as insomnia that causes inadequate and non-restful sleep.

Best food for getting sleep. Foods rich of tryptophene and melatonin. Image Credit: Ekaterina Markelova / Shutterstock
Best food for getting sleep. Foods rich of tryptophene and natrual melatonin. Image Credit: Ekaterina Markelova / Shutterstock

Melatonin is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone of the same name. It can help regulate sleep rhythm and is widely being used by adults to combat jet lag and lack of sleep due to shift work. Melatonin in the body is secreted by the pineal gland and it regulates the circadian rhythm of the body.

Evidence shows that melatonin can work similarly among children with sleep problems. The drug is safe in children at lower doses. The drug remains regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Association, Australia.

According to Professor Harriet Hiscock, a paediatrician at the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, there is a rise in prescription of melatonin for children with sleep difficulties. She said the drug is also being used in preschoolers.

There is scientific evidence that the drug is effective and safe she said. She warned that among children it is probably safe not to use any drug for a long duration.

Behavioural aids and strategies might be a safer option for children with sleep difficulties she added. She said sleep quality and adequacy is important for a child’s growth and development.

The drug is a short acting one and must be taken just before bed time. If an individual delays going to bed after taking it, the effect may wear off say experts.

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