It is still not clear up to now regarding melatonin supplements safe for children. Melatonin supplements are synthetic preparations of the hormone “melatonin”, which is normally produced and released by the brain after sundown. The melatonin hormone is very important in our body since it is responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm (internal body clock) that controls people sleep and wake cycle. If there is a deficiency or any abnormalities in the release and production of melatonin, it will cause various circadian rhythm sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep phase syndrome, jet lag, or even insomnia. Synthetic melatonin that comes in forms of melatonin supplements are prescribed to regulate the circadian rhythm back to normal. For best results and to ensure safety, parents should never give melatonin supplements to their child without the prescription or recommendation from the child’s pediatrician.
Side Effects of Melatonin in Children
Melatonin Supplements Side Effects in Children
As mentioned earlier, it still has not been proven that melatonin supplements or synthetic supplements are safe to be given to children. However, there are some pediatricians and other medical professionals that believe that melatonin supplements are beneficial to children who are having sleep disorders. There are some potential side effects that can happen in children when giving melatonin supplements.
Side Effect: Fatigue
This is one of the most expected side effects that will happen to children taking melatonin supplements. Melatonin supplements work by triggering or stimulating the release of hormones that can induce sleepiness, thus making the child feel tired and fatigued. Commonly, the recommended timing for melatonin supplements in children should be 30 minutes before the child’s bedtime. For children not to experience fatigue, children should be allowed to sleep for at least 9 hours to 13 hours per night.
Side Effect: Irritability
Melatonin supplements given to children can cause children to be irritable, especially during the first few weeks of administration. Irritability can be associated or connected with fatigue as a side effect of melatonin supplements. When a child is tired or fatigued, most likely, the child will be irritable. Aside from irritability associated with fatigue, irritability from melatonin supplements can also be caused by a sudden change of the child’s sleeping habit that can possibly leave the child irritable. Good thing is that irritability can subside after several weeks of melatonin supplement intake, since the child has already adjusted well to the change in sleeping patterns and also, the circadian rhythm has already started to function back to normal again.