On occasion, children have trouble falling asleep like the rest of us. Perhaps they are having a hard time adjusting when travelling to a different time zone, or they may be excited or anxious about something the next day. Maybe they are uncomfortable from an injury, and it is difficult to sleep. There are all sorts of reasons why children may find it hard to fall asleep. When this happens, if parents can provide a natural sleep aid to help their children. Knowledge is power.
What does Melatonin do?
In a response to darkness, the brain produces the hormone melatonin to help the body fall asleep. Melatonin helps regulate our 24 hour clock, or circadian rhythm. In the scenario where we are exposed to light when it is time for bed, our melatonin production can be decreased. This is one of the main concerns about looking at a bright phone screen, playing video games or watching TV before bed. These activities may cause of a lower quality sleep, or be the cause of one having trouble getting to sleep.
Recommendations from A Doctor
Pediatric sleep specialist at Meridian Health Joseph M Sanzari emphasizes teaching children healthy sleep habits. For some children, this can be not as straight forward as anticipated, but he says the rewards definitely pay off for a lifetime.
Bedtime routine, especially for younger children could consist of bedtime hygiene and a story with lights dimmed. This helps the child know that it is bedtime and a routine can be more easily established with these activities being consistent every night before bed.
Research is also starting to show that melatonin is helpful for children diagnosed with ADHD and autism when used as necessary for short times.
Symptoms of Poor Quality Sleep
Parents understand a good night’s rest. Perhaps it is because they are deprived of it when their babies are young. They want to avoid the results of a sleep deprived child, which can be any or all of the following:
- Slowed thinking.
- Reduced attention span.
- Poor or risky decision-making.
- Poor memory
- Feelings of anxiety, stress, or irritability.
- Mood changes
What do Melatonin Supplements Do?
While supplementing melatonin when there is need for it is helpful, it doesn’t produce the same results for everyone. When taken at the right time, it may make it easier to fall asleep.
Long term use is not recommended, as it may disrupt the natural production of melatonin in the brain, especially for children, and may have an impact on puberty for teens, though there are not enough studies currently to show clear data on this.
Melatonin is a dietary supplement. The production of supplements is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult your child’s doctor for advice on using melatonin for children. Write down any questions you may have and take them to the appointment. Some questions that you could ask your pediatrician about your child taking melatonin when needed could be:
- What is the best time to give my child melatonin gummies before bed? On average, doctors recommend anywhere from 30 min to 3 hours before bed
- What is the appropriate dosage of melatonin for my child? On average, the best dosage recommended by doctors is between 1mg and 5mg.
- Are there any reasons why my child should not take melatonin?
Melatonin Guidelines for Kids
As suggested above, melatonin is not designed to be a regular component to bedtime for a child. Take care to read the label on your melatonin supplement and take notice of the dosage.
If swallowing pills is difficult for your child, gummies serve to make it easier, just note that these contain a decent amount of sugar in each one. Because of their delicious nature, make sure you keep them out of sight and out of reach, because it may be tempting to your child to snack on them like candy.
Top 3 Melatonin Gummies Recommended for Children
3 Vick’s Pure Zzzs Kidz
First 5 Ingredients After the Active Ingredient: 1. Corn syrup, 2. water, 3. sugar, 4. Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, 5. Pectin
Dosage: 1mg Melatonin per gummie, recommended dosage is 2 gummies
Recommended Age: Not specified on the bottle
Pediatrician Recommended: Not indicated on the bottle
Notes: There are artificial flavors and preservatives in the ingredients
Rating on Amazon With Quantity of Reviews: Over 12,800 reviews with 4.5 star average
2 Natrol Melatonin Gummies For Kids
First 5 Ingredients after the Active Ingredient of Melatonin: 1. Organic Tapioca Syrup, 2. Organic 3. Cane Sugar, 4. Pectin, 5. Natural Flavor
Dosage: 1mg, recommended dosage is 1 gummie
Recommended Age: 4 and up
Pediatrician Recommended: Yes
Notes: No artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives
Rating on Amazon With Quantity of Reviews: Over 14,400 reviews with a 5 star rating
Price: Least expensive
1 Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep with Melatonin
First 5 Ingredients After the Active Ingredient: 1. Honey, 2. Glucose Syrup, 3. Sucrose, 4. Water, 5. Pectin
Dosage: 1mg. Recommended dosage is 1-3 gummies per serving.
Recommended Age: Not specified on bottle
Pediatrician Recommended: Yes, #1 Pediatrician Recommended Brand
Notes: Dr. Zak Zarbock, a father and pediatrician, created Zarbee’s Naturals brand because he could not find natural supplements without artificial ingredients, so he created his own.
Rating On Amazon With Quantity of Reviews: Over 59,100 ratings with a 4.5 star average
Price: Most expensive
We appreciate brands that cut out the artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, so our #1 and #2 picks are all natural.
We did appreciate the lavender and chamomile in the Vick’s brand, and Amazon customers give this choice high ratings, so it made our #3 choice.
All 3 choices work well, and have earned high reviews. We hope that your little one finds a more restful sleep after taking these gummies. If you have any comments on using any of our top Melatonin Gummies For Kids picks, please reach out and tell us about your experience and what you think.
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